08 Jan November Fires
Out rolled November and with it, came the fires! I was called go on my first fire assignment as a PIO. A PIO is responsible for the formulation and release of information about the incident to the news media, local communities, incident personnel, the incident management team, other agencies and organizations. I drove to Andrews, North Carolina and met with the rest of the Collette Ridge Fire Team. The fall foliage was stunning, but unfortunately very dry and flammable. We worked rolling out messaging, alerts, and news releases for the fire. I was even able to join them on a reconnaissance flight to visit the fire and take photos and videos of it from a helicopter. They use drones and helicopters to create heat maps of the fire and gain a more accurate picture of its progress.
The next week, I joined TREX as a type 2 firefighter, a prescribed fire training program. There were so many fires during the training that we ended up helping with those instead of a prescribed fire. We trailed along the perimeter of the fire, spraying out any heat spots, digging holes, and reinforcing lines. It was a great opportunity to see what mop up looks like on the ground. I’m excited to continue and grow in my fire career as a full time USFS employee.