After a late night my eyes opened to greet the sun at the crack
of 10 am. I stayed up to finish a book entitled “Granite
Mountain” by Brendan NcDonough with Stephan Talty. It told the
tale of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and the Prescott fire that
took lives of 19 of its 20 members.
I was surprised to learn that these wildland firefighters are
still using the same basic tools that were used since 1911! The
pulaski is a tool that combines a cutter mattock and an axe. It
has been in use since 1911 and become the national standard tool
of the United States Forest Service in the 1930s.
The driptorch is a canister that typically contains a mixture
of 30% gasoline and 70% diesel fuel with a spout with a wick at
the end that drips fire to burn vegetation before the wildfire
gets there and makes a fire break.
A fire shelter that is made of layers of aluminum foil, woven
silica, and fiberglass big enough to cover a firefighter when
trapped and is designed to reflect radiant heat and protect
against convective heat. The first known use of a fire shelter
was in 1804 when a boy was saved from a prairie fire when his
mother covered him with a fresh bison hide.
These shelters are designed to withstand heat up to around
700 degrees yet a wildland fire can reach 3,000 degrees. There
is someone now working on a shelter that could withstand up to
1,700 degrees. Through 2013 these shelters have been used 1,200
times with only 41 deaths.
Today these firefighters do use radios to communicate but do
have any GPS device to signal their location if things go
wrong. I also learned the hotshots are not doing it for the money
and resources are slim.
The book mentioned many things but the above, which I fleshed
out a bit, were of interest to me. The survivor is suffering
from PTSD but is getting help. And you may remember of the movie
“Only the Brave” which is based on the same event as the book.
Enjoy our Monday as we only get one this week. Now I need more
Comments are always welcome.