Thursday, June 30, 2011
Fire Season is Getting Old...
It's almost getting to the point where 10,000+ acres burning is not news any more. In this case the White Hat fire in Maryneal, a tiny blip on the map in Nolan county about 50 miles west of Abilene, burned 36,000 acres. Sadly, 12 structures burned down, however, of the 12 I think only a few of them were currently occupied. Still, it was a pretty big deal so again I got sent up in a helicopter to fly over the fire to get some photos. Now, while hearing about fires constantly starts to get old, the chance to fly never does, I guess it goes back to me wanting to be a pilot when I was a kid. And I have to say, shooting fires from a helicopter is a helluva lot easier than shooting it from a plane, thank god we have a helicopter service in town that accessible and for the most part available. Plus, I think it helps with dealing with the forest service in them giving us access since a helicopter can maneuver around a lot easier, and with a bunch of planes flying around and all the windmills in the way as well, it helps and keeps us low enough to shoot some decent photos rather than the 4,000+ feet.
I was happy with the photos I got from shooting the fire, however, compared to the last big fire I shot they didn't quite stand up. I think a lot of it had to do with being a day late. When we got there we saw a lot of scorched earth and not a whole lot of fire. The tankers were dropping a lot of retardant and the bulldozers had fire lines dug out. It was a huge change from when you could see the smoke plume from 40 miles away. That was good and a testament to how good the forestry service and local fire departments are at containing these fires. I just wish I could have gotten there a day earlier. It may sound pretty crass with all the destruction going on, I never hope for any of this to happen. But talking to a firefighter one time pretty much summed up the way I feel, He said, "You never hope for this to happen, but dammit, when it does, I sure as hell hope it happens on my shift."