Sunday, June 29, 2008

So, You think that you have lightning...


Taken from Ketchikan, looking South.

My cousin sent me this photo of lightning in Alaska. Big deal, cousin. I'll bet that you can't get snow to burn!

4 comments:

Kym said...

That is incredible. I tried to take pics of last week's storm but they were a bust. I hope Kim got some of his amazing shots of it. I'm looking forward to his photo essay.

Eel River Ernie said...

Can’t get snow to burn? Well, let me tell ya’ pilgrim… I had the good fortune to spend two years in central Alaska as a fireman, compliments of the U.S. Army. Since I was the only one at the station who had much experience in wildland firefighting the civilian chief put me in charge of developing a plan to fight wildland fires on the base. Having never dealt with tundra, which is thick matted vegetation, and stunted trees as thick as hair on a dog’s back, I devised a plan to surround a fire by cutting two parallel lines in the tundra down to permafrost (usually 6 to 10 inches under the tundra) and cut a diagonal line every 6 to 10 feet. Using one or two Pulaskis (axe/hoe combination) you simply rolled up the tundra and pushed it into the unburned side. Trees could simply be felled by cutting a circle around them and pushing them over.

Well, really proud of myself, I visited the local BLM station to get further advice on how to fight fires in tundra and stunted trees only to find out that they had training films on how to construct handline just as I described. They further advised me that that method was too slow, the best way was to knock the ground fire down by swatting it with cut limbs or tree tops and follow up with a hose line from portable pumps using water from the myriad of lakes and streams which we ended up doing on several occasions.

Back to the subject, if you want to see fire burn in snow go visit the Bishop/Lone Pine area in mid-winter to see what happens when a fire runs through that freeze dried grass and brush in front of a north wind.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks Eel River Ernie.
Well, it just goes to show you the value of a little experience. I'm just not likely to be found anywhere that it gets so cold the grass freeze dries. I run up and down ladders all day in the hundred degree weather, fixing air-conditioner units for office people that "just can't take the heat" when their offices get over 78 degrees. So I get used to the heat, but I can't handle the cold.

Eel River Ernie said...

After retuning from Alaska I swore I would never go futher north than Mt. Shasta again. One experience with -55 degree weather was enough for a lifetime - ERE