NEWSTROM – Some thoughts while on the way to fight the Sparks Lake fire

(Image: BC Wildfire Service)

NO BETTA TIME for a letta to my edita. Mel and I went to the same high school down in the South Okanagan. Maybe that’s why he recognizes my writing style. He had better teachers who jolted classes through dictionary drills. I hear David Amor won most of the time.

God bless you Don Irving, the teacher, whichever heaven you are in. God bless you for giving those dictionary drills to your students. As a teenager I heard about this cruel practice and made sure I put myself though the same hoops.

I vicariously ventured to give myself benefit of such drills. It greased my way into sliding into the diverse nuances of “Big Thesaurus Effervescence”. But hell, I’m just a kid. Still working on my alphabet. Hope I will own it someday. But it’s true, I still think it’s a soup.

I write no better time to update my Dear Editor because I just got excommunicated…oh no I mean evicted…but it must be evacuated. Evacuated from my sacred mountain retreat because of the Sparks Lake fire. I spend a lot of time in that venerable valley near Red Lake helping my girlfriend develop her property.

These amazing words that start with “ex” or “ev” have interesting historical roots. To be excommunicated is to be cursed. The Sparks Lake Fire has cursed me, I am severed from the communion of daily awe in my mountain retreat. Damnation!

Evicted, yes, but at least I can go back after the inferno is under control.

The concept of control is both basic and leading.

In the early sixties I became a man, delighted to have summer jobs with B.C. Forest Service Fire Suppression Crews. We lived in tent camps and were on duty 24/7. The urgency of emergency and duty pulsed through our bodies and young minds. We knew B.C. needed more lerts and we were, day and night, every one of us a lert.

Not even once did we let a fire get away from us. We snuffed them all out, dead out, not even a hotspot left. We were quick too. There were no ridiculous little bladders of water hanging under helicopters. We were in the helicopters. Ready to jump out and keep our heads down so the rotor wouldn’t chop it off. Then douse that lightning strike. Don’t radio for that chopper to take you home (or to the next fire) until your fire is dead out.

That was our philosophy of fighting forest fires. It was part of us. We owned it. Some readers may think philosophy is erudite, something taught at high falutin’ universities. It isn’t. Butternut wisdom is very important. It pervades everything we do and think. There is a philosophy of raising children well, of voting, of democracy, of appropriate and logical authority. The whole universal aggregate!

There is even a philosophy of menial chores like sweeping a floor. How do you do it well. Or even adequately, so you can get back to your children. That’s still a thinking process, a philosophy.

Now because of the error-udite philosophy of our venerated UBC Forestry wise old men, charlatans, they let the forest fires rage. It’s good for the forest they say, makes all the little seed cones pop and grow into more trees. Now it seems like they just play with the fires. “Oh, my God, it jumped the guard. We didn’t think that would happen.”

Yeah, well how about our lungs? My psychiatrist agrees. He says we are now all four-pack-a-day cigarette smokers.

I’m going to shut up now. I hope I have pissed some of you off. I’m submerging from submitting to the media for now. I’m on my way to fight the Sparks Lake fire. I sure hope they give me a big D9 Dozer with a deep set shear blade, because I’m really going to wreck that fire.

Hatches closed. I’m submerging.

Elon Newstrom is a Kamloops resident who surfaces every once in awhile to share his observations on life.

About Mel Rothenburger (9125 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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