Thursday, October 1, 2020

Good Old Fashioned Fire Fighting

As I've been evacuated (due to the Oregon wildfires) the last three weeks, the only thing I can think to blog about this month is, of course,  firefighting. I touched on this in another blog I am a part of. I now know what it's like to have to haul buckets of water from the creek to your house to save it from a fire. Don't get me wrong, the house wasn't on fire, but we were setting up a defensive perimeter to keep it from getting to that point. I have a healthy respect for all of those who had to fight fires this way in the old West and throughout history. Over the last three weeks, I've learned a lot about fighting wildfires from speaking with some of the hotshots and brush crews working on our property and the neighbors' doing what they do.

 The first horse-drawn steam engine for firefighting came along in England in 1829. People didn't accept it for structural firefighting until about 1860. In fact, they ignored it for another two years. Then came the self-propelled steam-powered fire engines in 1903. After them, it was the internal combustion engine fire apparatus. The first of these came along around 1905. This led to the disappearance of horse-drawn, hand pumps, and steam-powered fire engines by the mid-1920s. After going through what I have the last few weeks I'm glad we have what we have today. 

If your neighbor's house was on fire and you happen to be close by, you were called upon to help fight it. Bucket brigades were formed, prayers sent up, and everybody hoped for the best. Now we have employed firemen, volunteers galore, and, of course, a few things they had back in the old days. Human compassion, generosity, and kindness.

 Did you know that Benjamin Franklin established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia back in 1736? Our country didn't have government-run fire departments until around the Civil War. It was up to private fire brigades to respond to a fire and they often competed to see who could get there first. This is because insurance companies paid brigades to save buildings. There were underwriters who had their own salvage corps in some cities. 

 The first horse-drawn fire engines came along about 1829 and were used up until 1920, having been

replaced by internal combustion engine fire apparatuses which were produced as early as 1905. Just prior to that there were self-propelled steam-powered fire engines. I'm much happier with what we have today. Especially after what I've been through the last three weeks.

 It was very gratifying to drive through areas where evacuation orders were lifted and see ice chests in people's driveways full of goodies for the firefighters, brush crews, and volunteers. The outpouring of thanks and love for these people hasn't stopped yet and they're still out there working very hard. So hats off to all those and those who have come before them who fight these fires to save lives, property, and so much more. Thank you.


 My newest release ironically has a fire in it. I uploaded the book to Amazon for publishing the day I was evacuated. In fact, I was so busy working I didn't notice the huge plume of smoke hovering menacingly over the canyon I live in. But that's a blog for another time. Needless to say, I got out in time.

 Until next time,


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