Why we need Forest Guard

Photos: H. Buck
Fire raging close to Auburn, California: home of the Forest Guards...

100 plus acre fire burning near Mammoth Bar, Auburn, California!
It is 4:06 PM, Thrusday evening, and I'm listening to the fire planes whizzing past my house. There is smoke all around us, and I just rode my bike back from up on top of Coyote Mountain to take a photo of the fire plume. It is raging near Mammoth Bar, Auburn, and apparently was started by fireworks. They say it is around 100 plus acres burning...
This fire, and the sound of the flames, puts everything in such perspective: how important it is to continue our work with Forest Guard.

It is now 5:15 and the fire is now 250 plus acres. The authorities have closed Foresthill Road... and one of our own Forest Guards: Aydan, is trapped in Foreshill!Karl and I went back up the hill to film (we only have our old video camera) the planes attacking the blaze. They look so tiny as they approach the massive wall of smoke! These are the true heros: and the ones on the ground and air, fighting this thing.

6:00 pm
Karl and I drove down to Auburn to get a closer look on the action: Cal Fire station in Auburn!The crews were hard at work, we watched several helicopters and spotter planes circling the area. The helicopters worked back in forth along the ridge, dumping water, while the spotters swung way around the plume, disappearing at times right into the smoke!
The Auburn Journal now reports that the fire is up to 450 acres! As we watched, suddenly the fire seemed to shift sharply to the left and then we saw flames jump the ridge!

The sight of the flames, coming down over the ridge and approaching the road was terrifying! Several other people had stopped and joined our viewing spot: taking photos with their cell phones. One woman was reading the news from her cell phone and reported to the crowd that the Auburn Journal said the fire was up to 450 acres! When she saw the flames drop down over the ridge, she took off to go home and pack up her car!

A CDF helicopter flew right over our heads and touched down at the station to refuel. This Cal Fire station is where the Lego Guards had their first team field trip of the Climate Connection season, and where we intiially questioned  Matt Reischman about the Forest Guard idea!

Within moments, the Cal Fire helicopter was back up in the air and heading toward the American River to refill their bucket!

The next several minutes we watched as the firefighters battled the flames, working it back up toward the ridge and away from the road. The Auburn Journal reported that:
About 375 fire personnel have responded to the call, 325 of which are Cal Fire crew members. Cal Fire also reported 25 engines, 12 fire crews, five air tankers, four helicopters, three dozers and four water tenders responded. An additional two engines not from Cal Fire assisted as well as three non-Cal Fire dozers.
We could hear the dozers at work across the canyon, and saw the flashing lights of the fire trucks.
By 6:50 pm, when we had to leave, we no longer saw flames and the fire had been pushed to the back side of the ridge. An audible sigh of relief rippled through the crowd around us.
8:40 pm
We returned to the Cal Fire and saw that the helicopter we had watched earlier had landed for the evening, and that the firefighters were unloading for the night.

In the distance, the sky had turned purple with the sunset, and the smoke seemed quite diminished.

Nothing new to report from the Auburn Journal, will have to wait until the morning for updates.
July 1711:30 am
The skies are hazy this morning, but it doesn't look like any new smoke rising from the ridge. The Auburn Journal reports:
The Mammoth Bar Fire that started as a 30-acre blaze is now 650 acres and 95 percent contained as of Friday morning.

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