The most recent fire I was called to was the Pinyon Fire. It was located in Eagle Mountain as well as Camp Williams. We started off as structure defense, and it just so happened to be the first time I took a hose on an actual call! I made a progressive hose lay with 2″ hose line, then separated it into two 1.5″ hose lays using a wye gate. We were staged in someone’s backyard, as the neighborhood was being evacuated. These homes were in serious danger of being destroyed! I have a few interesting pictures taken en route to the incident, as well as in the back of aforementioned yard.
Me and my partner were assigned with our brush truck, to another location from the rest of our crew. Our objective was to wait for a wheat field to catch (which would be engulfed in a matter of seconds), and hold the line at the road, so as to prevent the fire from jumping across the highway. This would have amounted to a difficult, possibly terrifying task. We were fortunate enough to have the winds shift slightly, so the wheat field wasn’t catching fire…yet.
We observed that we had the possibility of a good anchor point to hold the fire where it was staying fairly localized out further in the field. Our supervisor told my partner and I to drive up on the fire and keep it contained. I, of course was excited to get to interact with the fire! I was driving, so I drove up the dirt road to where the majority of the flames were burning. We both jumped out of the brush truck, excited to get to work. We got the water pump started and began spraying some water on the flames, which were at a standstill at a small ditch. We wanted to do a sort of controlled burn, so we wanted to put the fire out only when it neared the dirt road. This allows the dry fuels to burn and will hopefully prevent a re-burn. We also wanted to keep it back far enough so it didn’t cross over and start a spot fire in that same wheat field.
My partner had the hose going for maybe a total of two minutes when the pump seized. We didn’t know what was wrong at first, but when we figured out that we weren’t going to be putting anymore water on the flames, we radioed command to inform them of the situation. Command replied by telling us that he was sending over another brush truck to help. To be honest, there was a moment of panic as we looked at each other, looked at the flames coming up on us. We had a decision to make, although it isn’t the most terrifying fire situation I have been in. We could either give up and get away as fast as we could, or….we could dig.
Equipped with combi tools, we proceeded to try to suppress the fire by smothering it with dirt. It was a sort of “hail Mary” if I may say so. With the relieving brush taking longer than we had anticipated, we continued our strong work and managed to hold the fire at the ditch until help arrived. Now, every time I drive by the location of that fire, I smile and remember why we never give up.
To view the entire Pinyon Fire photo album, Click Here!