Friday, August 7, 2009

As predicted, it rained Wednesday, for about five minutes, about 0930, just a spit, over in Scio, so said Daniel. Daniel knows a lot. He knows about the fluctuation in wheat prices the last few years. He knows how many acres of said grain his employer will plant this fall. He’s a camera buff who is especially fond of macro work. There is more and he readily shares this knowledge. He is one very nice young man.

I was out chasing grass seed field burns. Not at first. Initially, I went out in pursuit of fields already charred. Readers will recall that I had plans to hit the high country, to engage my 4WD in order to get to where I was going. Daniel would know that in actuality the most rugged terrain I might encounter would come after a road sign that read “Pavement Ends.” Washboard gravel roads.

Daniel surely knows that grass fields at higher elevations have a later growing season and would most likely be harvested, and therefore burned, at later dates than yesterday or two days ago, perhaps at about the same times the ones near our farm, also at about 1,000 feet above sea level. True, there was not much to photograph. Very few field and no fires. Shame, really, for I had brought my video camera along.

I had a grocery list, and soon a floorboard with two bags of provisions. As I drove home, clouds of smoke began to rise to the south. Surely, the yogurt would keep a bit longer.

Chasing these fires is not unlike pursuing a tornado, except the fires remain relatively stationary. Yet, if a fire is seen from a distance of more than three miles, by the time one gets near enough to see the flames, there are only smoldering embers. They go that fast, like a tornado. However, if one is lucky, as I was, one will see a road sign that reads “Controlled Burning Ahead,” and another that reads “Flagman Ahead Prepare to Stop,” with no plumes in sight.

I pulled over to speak to the flagger and asked if I could document the fire about to be set. A young lad with red hair. Sure, no problem. He wanted to know if I was for or against the burns without a hint of defensiveness to his tone. Friendly. Engaging. Daniel.

Daniel told me that meteorologists determine when burnings can take place, and that when the Department of Agriculture notifies a farmer a field can be burned, the burn must happen in a small window of time thereafter. He also told me that burns are done between 1500 and 1900 hours, no earlier or later. And, as the burn documentewd here progressed, he explained each aspect, the strategy and concerns. I could have asked many more questions, yet, after all, he had a job to do, a public to protect. I am most indebted.

The water truck sits out in the field as the fire begins. The driver is ready for action should something not go as planned.One lone fir in the grass field.
From 200 yards away. I kept my distance, more to just stay out of the burn crew's way.


Crash said...

Well, that was nice, especially since there will be no further documentation of this, at least in your area. On my screen the video captions got cut off. Also, toward the end, there were a few mystery slanted lines near the top.

kefir>yogurt. Better bugs.

bastinptc said...

Yeah, my bad on the text. Quick little video and I messed up. Samn thing took six hours to upload onto youtube, so I may not redo. Slanted lines...power lines?

Plenty of probiotics in my diet.

Memphis MOJO said...

You have 10 views already! I found if I clicked on the arrow upper right, it went to full screen which helped on the captions thing.

Do they use an accelerant? Around here they do, and you can smell it.

bastinptc said...

MM, if you mean on the whole field, the answer is no. Whatever is used on the truck is it. The dry chaff does the rest.

Crash said...

I guess they must be power lines. Right at the end. Slant downward to the right. They change from light to dark depending on the background color-sky or smoke.

DANIEL said...

hey thanks for all the good talk about me here is that link i promised you

thats his website and then you can find all his stuff off of that

Crash said...

Daniel, you must be one affable guy.