As the temperature starts to drop and the leaves start to change colour, the wildfire season comes to a close for me. I always feel mixed emotions as the fire season ends. While I am excited to see what winter will bring – to see friends and family again, and to unpack the bag I have been living out of for the past eight months – there are many things I will miss about this season. I will miss rappelling, working with helicopters, fighting wildfires and traveling, but the one thing I will miss most are the interactions with my crewmates and coworkers.
Bonds of brotherhood are formed in the eight-month season of living day in, day out with the same six people. My friend Mike on the Rocky Mountain Unit Crew explained it best. He said he couldn’t have fathomed creating the powerful, lasting relationships that he formed with his crew this year. “You just get to know people on another level,” Mike said. That other ‘level’ is the only way to describe the comradery of being on a wildland firefighting crew.
If you are wondering what wildland firefighters do after October 31, you are not alone. Many firefighters pick up work throughout the winter, travel across the world, even join a wildland firefighting crew in Australia, go back to school, or like myself start up and run a business. Over the past year, my business partner Mike and I have started up our own coffee roasting company based out of Calgary called Calgary Heritage Roasting Company. Keep an eye out for us!
In short, I have had yet another unforgettable season as a rappel member and I hope all of the readers have enjoyed my blog and the insight I have been able to provide about Alberta’s fire season and what it means to be a wildland firefighter. If you are interested in applying to become a wildland firefighter, either as a rappel member, helitack member or a unit-crew member, you can find it all online. The deadline is November 30, so don’t miss your chance at the most memorable job out there.
Thanks for following and see you next year!