Wednesday, April 18, 2012

High Pay, Outdoor Work, and every now and then you get to blow up a few cows.

When Katie and I were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 2010, we bumped into a few guys going to a government sponsored fire school. They were busy cutting down a tree near the parking lot at Point Imperial overlook. I noticed they were young, outfitted with the latest safety gear, radios, vehicles, et. Turned out they were from New Jersey, going to an outdoor fire school to get federal certification to do this or that at high pay with wonderful benefits. Most of them were standing around with flags watching a couple of other guys look a dead pine over. They had been out West four weeks at that point.
Notice- the North Rim is a tough reservation to get. I'd reserved rooms several months early and sweated a bit that they wouldn't be available. These guys were there longer than tourists are allowed to stay, paid and fed to be there. I saw some of them in the bar later that evening.
I know we all DO work for the various governments, but we should have all been census workers or firemen. Great pay, wonderful benefits, immune to many laws, access to all kinds of great places and early retirement.
And you might get to blow up some cows.


Old NFO said...

And put your life on the line day after day...

Anonymous said...

I have to take issue with you on this one.
From my experience wildland firefighting is the civilian occupation that most closely resembles combat. All of the components are there including a remorseless enemy. The training requirements are rigorous and demanding, both for the skills needed to do the work and the physical fitness required. With each new fire fatality they increase.

If these folks were using lodging accommodations that would have otherwise gone to the citizens then the issue needs to be taken up with the agency heads that were responsible, not the fire crew. I’m sure the NPS had some bunkhouses on a back forty somewhere that were vacant.

BruceR, Vermont
AKA Lazarus Long