Words of wisdom on water and wildfire
Well, the Sierra Sun’s Paul Raymore beat me to it with the excellent article on the water running strong in the Truckee River and people’s personal safety.
But, never lacking in words I want to follow up anyhow. The water is running pretty good, and the article mentioned that the power of the water can override your ability to pull yourself off an obstruction in the water like a tree or rock. To make the point, water running fast much more than a foot deep will sweep you off your feet and you’ll not have much luck getting up.
When you go in three things are going to happen. One, the water temperature will chill you and render your physical ability useless in about five minutes.
After that, you will bounce down the river and start breaking bones in your wrists and lower legs because you are physically drained.
Last but not least, as a free floating object you will wash up against a “strainer” and be held there in an iron grip until you succumb to the environment, which is only healthy for fish.
Kind of an ugly scenario but I am directing this to the folks who stop at the gas station with Dino the Dinosaur and blow it up to float the river, or to those who like to take the whole family down to the rivers edge, play next to the current and turn their back on the three-year-old.
Please, if you must use the river use it wisely and be prepared. The fire department is prepared but I just as soon not use the training and the gear.
On a more positive note, the fire department has a couple of programs starting that you might want to know about. One, Bob Belden is working for the summer doing inspections for defensible space and he might be visiting you.
We are really interested in teaching you why you should be prepared for wildfire, and Bob has a wealth of information about that subject and fire safety in general. I know it is raining but it will stop soon and dry out. I guarantee it.
If you see him don’t run, he is actually nice, has dressed well ” for Bob ” and we just want to help. Secondly, we have a nice young man hired to drag the chipper around with a new hybrid pickup truck we received on a grant from the air pollution district. The real message is we will chip brush and tree limbs for free in this district if you call us at 582-7850 and get the deal set up. This is the third year of the program and we have chipped many tons of debris so far and we are looking for more.
Finally, we have an occasional inspector to support our engine companies helping with commercial inspections and he will be visiting businesses throughout the summer to help prevent the fire from ever happening. As much as firefighters like to go to fires, fire chiefs like to prevent them, so help us out, make the adjustments and we can have a nice, lazy, safe summer.
By the way, come get a smoke detector and get your addresses up where we can see it. Be safe.
Michael S. Terwilliger is the
fire chief of the Truckee Fire