“It’s going to take forever to get there in this snow.”
That was the first remark I heard about the event, aside from the basics: place, fire type, and potential casualty estimate.
For those interested, the answers were “Silver Stream Forest off RR7, unknown, and unknown.”
We were in the middle of a once-in-a-century snowstorm. Those once-in-a-century storms that seem to come every five years nowadays. Doesn’t mean much to some, but for those of us who have to work and drive in them to save lives, it matters.
That night, it mattered.
Our station is the only one in the area. Under ideal conditions, the rural route seven connection to the forest would be a 35 minute drive. We’d be lucky to get there in 90.
An hour into the drive, we saw the aurorae, despite the howling wind blowing heaps of snow through the air. I’d guess the visibility was less than ten feet. But the aurorae were clear.
“Electrical?” John posited.
“Not sure how that’d work,” someone answered — sounded like Lloyd.
“No.” John agreed. “Me neither.”
I looked out the side window toward the direction of the lightshow. It wasn’t like the kind I’d seen when I spent time in Iceland after college. Nothing like that. These ribbons of light were thin and fast moving. And red, too. All shades of red, from deep crimson to something that neared orange.
“Definitely not the borealis,” I said, mostly to myself.Continue reading “The First First Responders”