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The Marvel cartoon sums up our feelings nicely. Several weekends ago, a friend’s property was caught in the wake of this mad man in Lake County, CA. The mad man not only attempted to burn down his residence, but then let his fire spread out over 30 acres across the highway from his place.
I raced over to my friend’s place, to find California’s finest already there. Not only fire truck operators and guys in tractors creating fire breaks, but pilots for the helicopters and air tankers. For several hours my girlfriend, her sister, father, and I stood entranced beneath the aircraft.
We watched spellbound below a careful choreography between the sky acrobats zooming their copters and planes in a dance that would eventually spell the end of the fire. Part of the high-risk job of piloting calls for multitasking: you need to know what part of the fire needs to be hit hardest with what: water or fire retardant. At the same time, you have to make sure that as you dump water on the fire, you don’t slam your aircraft into a tree, or hillside, or another aircraft.
I got the cartoon off Facebook, and it captures how we felt that day.
P.S. My friend’s home and that of her neighbor survived without anything worse than a minor amount of smoke damage. A few hillsides with tall grasses were charred, but the beautiful California live oaks withstood the flames.