Jeanne Pincha-Tulley has been a Type 1 Incident Commander for nine years. Almost long enough for the novelty of having a female Type 1 IC wear off among other firefighters.
While her team was managing the Mountain Fire in southern California last month between Idyllwild and Palm Springs, National Public Radio did a profile on her. You can listen to it or read the article at the NPR site.
Below is an excerpt from the article:
…Pincha-Tulley listens and texts other members of the team while Lane continues with his update. Being in the incident commander’s trailer is like being in a hive. There’s a near-constant buzz.
People come in and out; phones ring; radios squawk; lunches go uneaten.
In the time it takes [Operations Section Chief John] Lane to give an update, the area fire chief for Cal Fire walks in, as well as a liaison for the sheriff’s office, a member from communications and a guy from finance. Pincha-Tulley scribbles her signature on a form as a radio update comes in.
“And secondly, the retardant line with the helicopter across that ridge there heading towards the wilderness is progressing really well,” according to the update.
Lane then explains that the fire has crossed over their containment line in one section. They’re calling in the largest air tankers, DC-10s — or VLATs for Very Large Air Tankers, as firefighters call them — to try to box in the new threat before it spreads. Pincha-Tulley asks how that’s progressing when the radio squawks again: “So far we’ve been pretty successful with that.”
“There’s your answer,” Lane tells her. “It’s being dealt with.”