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  • 07/25/2002
  • WildlandFire.com Team
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Welcome aboard, Tracy and Dawn,

Tracy, I think the Warm Springs Hotshots are working the Canyons Complex,
more specifically the North Hammond part of that fire. Check the Eastern
Great Basin Coordinating Center Web site: http://www.blm.gov/utah/egbcc/

I know what Sammi means about the pacing business. I imagine that FFs at
home tend to feel like caged tigers until they mellow into at-home routines.
My son either sleeps for the first few days, or does the grump, growl, pacing
thing.

I’ve worked on natural disasters myself, so I know what it’s like to be away
from home for months and in an environment where everything is so rushed and
has so much importance. I know what it’s like to make instantaneous decisions
with incomplete data, and hope to hell you’ve not hurt the people on your
team or those affected by the flood, typhoon or whatever.

It’s hard to slow down when I come home, to see that everything still goes
about its snail paces with no adrenaline rush. I am always struck by the fact
that while I’ve been out there — in pretty awful conditions — saving the
world, everyone at home has been going about their business as if the most
important thing in the life is whether the newspaper has been delivered on
time.

Actually, once I mellow in, newspaper delivery becomes very important. The
point is: transitions take a few days. From my own experience, I know that I
need to talk about my deployments, and talk…and talk. So, I encourage my
son to talk about the season, and boy does he. I collect newspaper clippings
and such and learn as much as I can about the fires so that we can talk about
them. There is nothing better than to have a few key questions, like…”I
read about the so and so canyon, how did they get the retardant to the xyz?”
He loves it. I’m winging it. But hey, it makes us both feel better and eases
the transition. Another thing, learn some ff terminology (check out the
links) and sprinkle a word or two into your conversation–or just ask him
about the meanings. It will do wonders.

I listen to his stories, and they’re wonderful tales. I hold off listing all
the tasks that I want him to do for me. I have a 3×5 card posted in the
kitchen with a list of jobs, like trim the tree, fix the back fence, etc.
Eventually, he gets to those jobs–and if he doesn’t, I’m so glad to have him
home, it really doesn’t matter at all.

As to the children, Dawn, ritual is a great coping mechanism. For you and for
them. Maybe you will set a plate for daddy every night with his picture and
let the girls tell him about their day. Maybe you will write their letters to
him or have the girls send him their drawings.

I have a feeling that you’re a pro at this, so whatever you do or come up
with share it with the rest of us. We all learn from each other.

Be safe at home, too,
Shot’s Mom

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