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Museum Fire

A stump smolders Thursday morning inside the Museum Fire boundary just beside Mount Elden Lookout road.

Eventually, each of us, in our unique way, learns the hard truth: regardless of the enterprise undertaken, there are any number of things that can go wrong. Always in play is human nature, the physical laws of the universe, and Murphy’s Law — anything that can go wrong will go wrong and at the worst possible time.

Best laid plans; for the want of a nail, etc., etc.

Living, as we do, in this beautiful forest, there’s nothing quite like watching a puff of white smoke rise above the trees, only to watch it grow and darken. You can almost hear the communal choir singing, “Oh, ****.”

Thus it is a special delight when we see a spontaneous, complex enterprise succeed; fighting a forest fire at the edge of town, for example. Before I wax overly enthusiastic about the outcome, I must note that at the time of this writing the Museum Fire is not fully contained (See Murphy’s Law, above).

My ageist pessimism aside, I’ll continue by saying that my closest experience with the fire was limited to watching the airborne fire suppression assets operating from Pulliam Airport, a mile south from my home.

A man of my, well, let’s put it this way: seasoned gentleman that I am, I perambulate daily in my ongoing effort to stem the ravages of time. Thus I often take walks to the edge of the airport near the fuel depot of Wiseman Aviation, at the end of Shamrell Boulevard. There’s always something interesting to see and it is a good stretch of the legs to reach the gate. I always pause to allow my dragging keester to return to its proper position upon my person before I turn around and head for home.

I arrived at the “Red Gate” Tuesday morning just as the fire-suppression air operations were revving up for the day. You’ve seen them flying overhead, so I won’t betray my limited knowledge of aircraft types. That corner of the airport bustled with aircraft, personnel, fuel trucks and a crash truck. Everyone was moving about smoothly.

There was no disorder, no evidence of confusion, no amateurs going through the motions and taking selfies. What I saw was a bunch of professionals getting down to business; serious business, at that. This was not a drill.

That’s what I’m trying to get at. We’ve been lucky with this fire, so far, in a thousand ways. We had ample resources to attack the fire. The weather cooperated. Evacuations were unfortunate, yet thankfully short-lived. And there was that squall that blew in and dumped right on the fire like it had been ordered by Incident Command.

The wonderful thing about gratitude is that is drawn from a bottomless well. No matter how much gratitude is given, the well remains full. So, to everyone involved, from the firefighters on the line, to the office clerk who worked the keyboard and and the phone to keep the AV gas flowing: Well done, and thank you.

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