Firehouse Fun

Our family was treated to a personal tour of a Mesa Fire Department Firehouse this weekend – and it was amazing! Mike, a friend and college of Peter’s, invited us over when he heard that Auggie was having a firefighter themed birthday. I think Auggie was equal parts excited and nervous.

Mike rolled out the red carpet showing us all around the firehouse, introducing us to the other firefighters and giving us the inside scoop on how it all functions. We then got to go check out the truck, including a quick ride around to the back of the station (headsets and all!) where the kids took turns with the fire hose.

Mike also showed us how much gear he has to put on – and in under 2 minutes. Holy moly, it’s a lot. I can’t imagine walking around with 45 pounds of hot, heavy gear on…let alone fight a fire!

Look at those smiles

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Here’s the thing, we were only one of two tours going on. If you think your kiddo would love to visit the fire house, give your local station a call. They will let you know the best days and times – they seem to really enjoy educating people – and kids- on how the fire station works and fire safety. In fact, when Mike was in his full gear, mask and all, he made a point of talking to each person in each of the tours. It was a good lesson for all the kids that that is what firefighters look like in an emergency and not to be afraid of them. It was a fun an educational way to spend a Sunday morning!

Fire on the Mountain

Tuesday afternoon I got a call from my mom telling me that there was a fire at the ranch. Her voice was all I needed to hear to know that it wasn’t good and that they had no idea if their homes, business and escape route were about to go up in flames.

Montana is experiencing the same drought most of the west is having and everything was crispy dry when we were there in July when the norm is lush and green. It was dry to the point that the annual 4th of July fireworks that my step brother puts on (and that rivals most municipal fireworks show) had to be canceled. And now hearing how quickly a small fire in a tree went to structure and life threatening in under 10 minutes, it was a good decision.

Because of the rural location, fire support is hard to come by – or is unconventional to say the least. A neighbor has a water truck, but if the neighbor doesn’t answer the phone, there’s no water truck. The closest fire department is a half hour away and the forest service has to scramble helicopters to come to the rescue. Thankfully the ranch boarders Yellowstone National Park and sits on an 80 acre lake so once help arrived, they were able to gain control of the situation.

This is a picture from last summer of the Paradise Valley

And this is a picture of from the height of the fire yesterday – you can see how yellow the grass is.

Thankful for the forest service and the three available slurry bombers – this picture is about 50 yards from the parent’s deck

The aftermath. The estimate was about 100 acres burned. The sad part is that it will take close to a decade for this to become lush and green again.

I think it’s safe to say that the family is feeling blessed that this wasn’t worse, but sad that it happened at all.