Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Where There's Smoke

State Your Emergency
A Roadside Fire
No, I Don't See an RV
Electrician to the Rescue!
Hub & ID Civil Servant Stamping Out Fires
The More Exciting Fire Was Down the Road
Another Traffic Jam in Elmira
Heroes in Neon
Charred Grass Across From Our Driveway
Molten Missile--What's Left of a Wheel Bearing
Emergency 9-1-1 call goes something like this:

Dispatch: What's your emergency?

Me: A fire, along the road, mile marker 490, highway 95.

Dispatch: Yes, we have responded to a report of an RV fire.

Me: Uh, no...just RV.

Dispatch: We have an RV on fire at that location.

Me: Just grass. My husband is out there with a shovel. Wait. I see the sheriff.

(At this point in the conversation several vehicles with flashing lights zip past my husband, battling smoky grass with a shovel. None stop.)

Dispatch: They're on the scene now.

Me: Actually, they just drove past the scene.

It's a ridiculous conversation, trying to convince a dispatcher that there are indeed two fires, not one at the same mile marker. Maybe I should have reminded her that mile markers cover a mile in territory, thus space enough for more than one fire.

Where there's smoke, there's fire, but our fire wasn't smoky enough to catch the attention of first responders. It wasn't like we had flames--or an RV in flames--but the west is a dry tinderbox and smoke a dangerous spark.

Not 20 miles from here, firefighters died in a blaze back in 1967. In 1910, fires swept across Idaho in two days killing 86 people and burning over three million acres. The scars of both fires are in our wilderness back yard.

I don't take smoke lightly.

Another man joins the Hub in battling our grass fire. At first I see just a portion of a white vehicle, thinking a sheriff's deputy did turn around. Turns out it is an Idaho civil servant, but of the electrician sector. He helps with a small red fire extinguisher.

From our driveway I can see another traffic jam building. A truck, whose driver apparently missed that traffic was stopped ahead, slams on his breaks so hard his tires smoke and he leaves a trail of black rubber on the pavement.

And yes, there is an RV on fire just down the road.

The men put out the fire, only to have it smolder again. So Hub treks across the road once more and shovels. The returning fire trucks and deputy vehicles pass by. None stop. But the electrician returns.

We chat about the previous Idaho traffic jam last week. He tells me he saw the cattle truck in town that took the hit of logs from he other truck. Kind of scary when logs fly loose and cows have to duck. The cattle truck had a gaping hole.

This time a tourist is the culprit for our Elmira roadside excitement. Within the charred grass my husband retrieves the melted remains of a bearing that evidently caused our grass fire and eventually stopped the RV. How long the driver had been going with flames licking at his tires, we don't know but at our place the fire was hot enough to create a molten missile.

That's one way to make a vacation memorable.


  1. Sure glad emergency responders take every call seriously. Not. Glad your fire didn't get out of control. I shudder every time I see or smell smoke knowing how fast things can turn deadly.

    1. I'm still baffled by the emergency responders. Even that little bit of smoke blew up fast and it took two attempts to get it all out. Although with the happy outcome, I can laugh. I'm like you--on high alert with smoke!