I am currently a line animal, and I have experience in camp design and logistics from a previous incarnation…my interest in (fire) logistics at this point really caught fire the weekend I spent thirty hours sitting on an engine and the only sustenance the incident managed to get to us was a single soggy sausage McMuffin a piece…and the poor apes on the line got less than that. This was a major incident, too, so weâ€™re not really talking about a bass-ackwards local yokel forgetting we were there, either. Iâ€™ve noticed that when it goes wrong on fire, it goes really wrong.
You make me laugh because youâ€™re in almost exactly the position I was in a year ago…I didnâ€™t tell ANYONE I was on the fire department for almost three months because I wasnâ€™t sure I was going to like it, stick with it, etc. I was also worried about my level of physical fitness…Iâ€™ve always been more the brain than the brawn, if you catch my meaning. I found a workout buddy to train with me for the pack test, bought an eight pound sledge and seriously traumatized some rocks to build up upper body strength (Iâ€™ve never had the patience for the weight room thing), and started doing sit ups and pushups in my lunch hour. It took me three tries to pass my pack test, but I did it (at 9,000 feet with no altitude allowance!), and I walked over that line with my whole crew standing there yelling and screaming and pounding me on the back. Iâ€™ve never seen a picture of myself grinning as big as I was in the picture they took after that. I may not be the fastest or the strongest in my squad, but I can dig a good line, Iâ€™m very good at spinning weathers, and I think my crewmates would do very very bad things to anybody who suggested that I didnâ€™t belong.
I think youâ€™ve got a great attitude, and my advice is not to let it scare you…it may seem a long way off at first, but if I can do in a few months training, you sure can.
Nerd on the Fireline