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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Saturday, August 18, 2007




The fire fighters that are staying with us (Clementz’s Northcountry Campground & Cabins) had an uneventful day yesterday due to the extreme wind conditions. We were concerned there would be lots of “events” that would keep everyone on their toes. I guess what WAS keeping everyone on their toes was the trees that were falling down along CR 407.

The crew gets around early in the a.m. and leave here on their bus right around 6 a.m. From here they go into Newberry to have breakfast with other fire fighters. The fire fighters start heading back to Newberry around 8 p.m. There they are fed supper and then go to their various motels, etc. Our crew gets back here around 8:30. Besides having a bus, they also have a pick up in which they carry their tools, etc. I think by the time they unwind and get their showers, it has to be close to 10:30 before they call it a day…then it begins all over again around 5 a.m. I can’t imagine that life, can you? It takes a special kind of person to do this. One of the crew leaders is taking a class on line so when HE gets back here, he brings his computer to the lobby or sits on the deck (we have WI-FI) and tries to get a little work done.

I found out that the “kids” that we have staying with us are part of the Missouri Job Corp. From the sounds of it, when you are involved with the Job Corp you have a choice of a field you’d like to pursue and this is the route these “kids” took. Dan and I haven’t talked with them very much because we don’t want to intrude on what little time they have to call their own. I talked with one of the leaders last night and it sounded like the “kids” were a bit disappointed that they didn’t get to do much yesterday (again, high winds prevented a lot of things from getting done). Today the wind is only supposed to be 3-7 mph, so hopefully they will get to use the skills and knowledge they have acquired so far.

I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get into town today for the Black Hawk fly over. I hope to but it depends on what is going on here. Who knows? Maybe they will fly out this far. I am making sure my camera batteries are charged though!

Until you’ve experienced what we have in the past couple of weeks, you just do NOT realize what it is “all about”. And I KNOW there are a lot of things that we still don’t know or I should say we don't understand about how all of this has been coordinated. For example, there is a person who can tell HOW the flames and fire are going to react depending on the weather! This is the example that was given to me.

This is primarily a duff fire which means most of the fire is underground. However, if it surfaces and catches on unburned fuel, there's flame.

Flame length: We get a fire behavior report every morning (very interesting). They will predict (with a high degree of accuracy) what will happen to different types of fuels if they come in contact with fire. For today's forecast here's a couple:

Fuel model O1A (grass/marsh): rate of spread (ch/hr) 32/5/5
flame length (ft) 8/3/3 (head/flank/back)
Probability of ignition: 97 percent

Fuel model C5 (mature red/white pine): rate of spread (ch/hr) 5/1/0
(head/flank/back) flame length (ft) 8/4/1
Probability of ignition: 98 percent

1 chain = 66 feet. FYI, flame "length" can be in any direction (not just up)...it can be sideways, at a 45 degree angle, etc.

I do know that the ground job is NOT something I would want. You notice I did not rule out any air jobs! But we all know that HOURS and HOURS of training have gone into making these men and women capable of handling these conditions and doing their jobs safely. They are a dedicated group and each and everyone is a special person.

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