Caption this Hathaway Fire photo

(Originally published at 8:12 p.m. PT, June 10, 2013)

This photo of the Hathaway fire 80 miles east of Los Angeles was taken about two hours after the fire started on June 9. Unfortunately, there is no caption. Do you have any suggestions for a caption?

Hathaway Fire(UPDATE at 7:50 a.m. PT, June 11, 2013) 

Now, thanks to John Hawkins, Fire Chief of the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit & Riverside County Fire Department, we have an actual caption, but don’t let that inhibit you from suggesting one of your own. Here’s what Chief Hawkins told us about the photo:

The picture was taken about 1pm to 2pm [June 9] looking north from the ICP. The FF standing next to the pickup is Morongo Tribal Fire Department Fire Chief Tim Beadle. The pickup was the ICP for CAL FIRE Riverside Unit and Riverside County Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Stowells who, at that moment, was functioning as the sole IC.

Thanks Chief.

Winner of photo caption contest announced

Wildfire Today is pleased to announce that Judy Van Aswegen  has won the photo caption contest. Judy’s caption was:

When the cooler box and refreshments failed to materialize, Dave began to suspect he had misread the memo.

The photo WITH the winning caption is below.

firefighters in canoes
When the cooler box and refreshments failed to materialize, Dave began to suspect he had misread the memo. Caption: Judy. Photo: Peter Willis, State of Minnesota

Judy is a software developer in the Vancouver area and has marketed Firebreak Equipment’s Blackline Burner in North America. She has been a reader of Wildfire Today since we started in January, 2008.

The response to the contest was overwhelming. We received 57 comments with captions, and some of them had multiple entries. Many of them were great, and it was very difficult choose a winner. Thanks to everyone who participated, we really appreciate it.

Here are some Honorable Mention entries:

Todd says:
Boy Scout troop attempts to fulfill their wildland firefighting and canoe skills merit badges in a single day.

moenkopi says:
Portage to Portage? I thought it was Portal to Portal.

Leann Briggle says:
So boss, really, how are we going to identify where to put that wet line?

sage says:
I must have missed the day they taught this in 130, 190.

Brian says:
Nomex shirt $95, aluminum canoe, $699, commuting to a fire in the BWCAW, priceless.

Dick Mangan says:
Taking the WCT in Minnesota: paddle/portage a 45 pound canoe for 3 nautical miles in under 45 minutes.

Jeff says:
With the recent rise in Forest Service health benefit costs, American firefighters flee to Canada by any means possible.

Tim Walton says:
“There were a hell of a lot things they didn’t tell me when I signed on with this outfit”

Jeff says:
Joe always made fun of firefighters who wore goggles on their hardhats until he realized that if he just had a set of goggles and a snorkel he would have one hell of a story when he got home.

The story of the photo:

We heard from Peter Willis, the photographer, and I asked him about the story behind the photo:

The fire was the Cavity Lake fire [July 14, 2006]- one of the big fires that happened in the blowdown area in the BWCAW [Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness]. Yes the firefighters were heading to the smoke across the lake. They were then to cut line across to another lake to contain the north end of the fire.

If I remember right there were around 200 canoes leased to get fire fighters in to the fire. Some canoes were flown deeper in to the fire by tying them to the floats of the beavers the FS has. This crew was spiked on some islands across the short portage I was standing on. They then canoed to work every day. On this fire as on many of the fires I have been on in the BWCAW in addition to the standard ground support unit they also have a boat support unit.

I was the COML [Communications Unit Leader] on a Type 2 team for this fire (It was right about the time a Type 1 team took over so I left shortly afterwards). I had just done a reclone for this crew before they headed across the water.