Here’s a re-posting of Fire Culture to get you into gear for the upcoming fire season.
First of all, don’t be that guy.
Don’t be last to lineout in the morning; get back to the rigs from a store stop, water up, suit up in your jump gear, get up the hill, or be last in a run.
Don’t leave your buggy window open, slam the door to the blue room at 5am, flip the ATV, pour drip torch fuel on your pants and set yourself on fire, break your tool handle… again, throw rocks off a hillside out of boredom and hit an adjacent crew’s sawyer, open up your spitter after it’s been sitting in the rigs for 2 weeks while we were spiked out, back the rig into the side of the building while using a spotter, seize the mark III pump, put gas in the diesel Supt ride, taunt a rattlesnake, or fall asleep on a hot spot inadvertently melting your pack.
You may hear:
Close the gap
Pick it up
Two more chains
Waiting on one
You look like a soup sandwich
What a C.F.
F’in new guy
This whole thing is a shit show
So and So is super dialed
Did you line his ass out?
Hurry up and wait
—–What we do—–Who we are—–What we are about—–
We dedicate a significant portion of our time and energy to maintaining physical fitness year round in order to fulfill our duties on the fireline.
We use direct communication, i.e. lack of sugar coating things because we don’t have time for beating around the bush about what we need; time is a factor.
Early is on time, on time is late.
Dress-down, Water-up, Gear-up, Tool-up, Line-out, Lunch-up, Circle-up, Wheels-up
We power through things that are uncomfortable, painful, and/or difficult in order to get the job done on a regular basis.
We break our bodies and work until we drop and then we joke about it. “Don’t worry that shit’ll buff out”, “Uh-Oh, Looks like Mike’s going T.U.!”
To us, Tango Uniform is a technical term.
We communicate through sarcasm, jest, and innuendos in order to speak our peace to all levels in the chain of command without getting in trouble for it.
Being aware of our surroundings is important because if you aren’t it’s a good way to get dead.
The camaraderie is unparalleled because we train, sweat, work, sleep, drive, and laugh together for months on end in a dynamic and harsh environment. We also experience traumatic situations together, whether or not we talk about it.
When a hike sucks, at least it sucks for all of us.
We pack 100lbs on our back in unforgiving terrain for miles on end because sling-loading gear off a fire is frowned upon.
We significantly hurt ourselves but don’t tell our supervisors because we don’t want to get pulled off the line.
We leap out of crew buggies before they’ve fully stopped to beat our crewmember to washing the windows because we show integrity and lead by example.
Duty, Respect, and Integrity are not just a kitschy string of words, they have profound meaning; you either get that or you don’t. If you don’t get it, you’re that guy.
If you aren’t willing to do for the crew before you do for you? We don’t want you here.
We donate our time on a regular basis because getting to work 20 minutes early is common practice.
Eating fast is an unspoken job requirement.
Digging a flat spot into a steep hillside is either to make a bed or a platform to receive cargo.
Hiking a cubee of water or a jerry can of fuel is a prideful thing to do.
Food and sleep are always more important than a shower. Always.
If you have energy at the end of the day you weren’t working hard enough.
If there’s time for leaning, there’s time for cleaning.
“Too many rookies” is the phrase you hear when you f*ck something up in front of other crewmembers.
Hearing “Don’t f*ck it up” is a sarcastic yet serious show of support for whatever small task you have taken on.
You work hard, take more in a line dig, and put extra in your pack-out bag to lighten someone else’s load because; why wouldn’t you?
Prove you want to be here.
There were 150 applicants for your job; you are replaceable.
Respect isn’t a gift; you’ve got to earn it.