Sunday, October 24, 2010

September 12, 1943


Dear folks,

Now I have something new to write. Last Wed. we went to a fire. We left here about 5:00 P. M. rode 115 miles south. The fire was close to a town and we ate supper about 8:30 there and went out to see if there was anything to do that night. There was a forest service man with us that sort of guided us and we went out in the brush to see if we could do anything that night. They passed out keen little head lights, a little flash light that fastened on your head and the batteries went in your pocket or on your belt. I was an axman. I was used to that kind of work so it didn’t seem much different than surveying. We didn’t do anything that night except climb up on the hillside and then come back, it took us an hour and a half I guess. Then we went to bed on the ground. We took our blankets from here. Our boss woke us at 6 the next day and we went out before breakfast and stood around a while till the forestry man figured out where we were going to work. We worked for about a half hour before breakfast making firetrail. The ax men go first and cut a path about 3 ft. wide through the brush. Then the rest come along with what they call hazel-hoss and dig a path about a foot or so wide. They dig deep enough so that they get through the leaves and trash, also on a steep hillside they dig the trail out sort of like a hog trough so that anything that might roll down would stop in it.

After breakfast, which we got in town, we made trail around a fire that was about 40 acres in size. We got that done about 1:00 and went back and ate lunch that was sent out from the restrant, just sandwitches. Six of us stayed and patrolled the trail we had made while the rest of us went over to another place that was burning. There were 4 separate fires altogether. I was in the bunch that patrolled. The next day we all went over to the big fire and made trail till about 2:00 then we patrolled till about 4 and our guide came along and told us the fire had jumped the trail and for us to come and maybe we could get around it. There were only about 10 of us on this job and we worked like everything and got around it. There was two bunches of 25 men from here and about 20 highschool kids on the fire. The kids had been out all summer fighting fire and building trail and cutting wood for the ranger stations. They get over a hundred a month. Well that was Fri. and it rained that night. Where we were camping was an old deserted town, Shacks. We slept in them that night so we didn’t get wet. I had a great time, good food and we didn’t work any harder than we did surveying. Fire fighting is done very safely and sanely and there didn’t seem to and danger at all.

That pretty well covers the fire. I sure missed the caulked boots I had been wearing surveying. I think I’ll get caulks put in my heavy shoes. They will have to have a half sole too if I do and it will take a couple of bucks but it will be worth it. I suspect that I’ll spend some more timeout here unless the quit the war soon. They are going to insist on a lot of western men going east on detached service after the fire season is over, but I’m not in the mood. I like the western camp pretty well.

It’s time to go to bed now.

With love,

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