Mario Villalobos

Pistol Creek Fire (Day 1)

My hands hurt. They hurt all day for some reason. I used the same tools that I’ve been using to fight fires for the past few years, and yet my hands still hurt. It hurts to grip anything. I blame Montana’s treacherous terrain. The mountainside today was hard, and the fire was smokey and hot. One thing I hate about digging line is when the path we’re creating around the perimeter of the fire is predominantly rocky. Why can’t the fire burn near soft dirt? And we were given crappy lunches again today: two tiny cans of apple juice, two peanut butter and jelly “jamwhiches”, an orange, a salted nut roll candy bar, a bag of Cheetos, a pizza pocket, and two more sandwiches, this time ham, bologna, and cheese. I gave away everything but the orange, cans of juice, and pizza pocket. And I performed great, I think. I was not hungry all day. I don’t need as many calories as they think we should be consuming.

Now that my bitching is out of the way: I had so much fun today. It’s always great coming back out into mother nature and helping do my part in taking care of her. Fires need to burn, regardless if we think they’re dangerous and thus need to take them out quickly. Fire burns away the old to make way for the new, and this has been happening for millennia. It’s the way of life. The fire was located near Pistol Creek in the Arlee area. It was about 20 acres or so, and it might’ve grown bigger as the day went on. Not too sure on that. A bunch of my friends that I’ve fought fires with all summer — many of them I’ve fought all seven of my fires this summer with — were on this fire, so it seemed like the last two and a half weeks since our last fire was really only yesterday. We go back out there again tomorrow. It looks like we’ll be mopping up for maybe two or three more days, then I’m pretty sure we’ll be calling it done. I’m not a boss (but I’ll be a squad boss trainee next year!), so they’ll tell us what’s going on sooner or later.

For some reason, I haven’t been taking too many pictures while I’ve been out firefighting this summer. I took a few today. I’ll try to take more tomorrow. We don’t really get a chance to whip out our phones and take pictures of what’s exciting around us. If there were big flames roaring near us, the last thing I want to do is take a picture. I’ll be running for my life, possibly searching for a good deployment site, most likely heading into the black.

Tomorrow I should be finding out if I got the IT job or not. If I don’t get it, then I’m going to have to seriously evaluate my life and decide on what direction I want to take it in. That’s always fun.