Up close with control efforts on the Minerva Fire – California News

Up close with control efforts on the Minerva Fire – California News

Seasoned fire people Leslie Edlund and Ray Torres, both with the Plumas National Forest, check out the route they’ll be covering. The objective is to approach the high country above the Minerva Fire to one of two major locations where ground crews will be setting backfires. Edlund and Torres use the hood of Edlund’s Forest Service truck as a temporary table. The shot is taken through the windshield, which at this stage of the journey is still relatively clear.

If there are roads into hell, we were on one.

We didn’t descend, as Dante envisioned, we climbed. There below us smoke hid flames and destruction. Smoke also hid the spectacular scenery on Claremont’s side untouched by the Minerva Fire.

That was my sense of things as the miles slowly went by. The Forest Service-green four-wheel drive nosed higher and higher into that wild country atop Claremont.

Preparation

One doesn’t usually just arrive at a large, active fire. There are steps to take, permission to gain, and an escort or driver with which to connect.

Connecting with the Minerva Fire’s public information group, we established a date. The next step was a visit with Plumas National Forest Public Information Officer Lee Anne Schramel where I could trade in my old Nomex for new.

From the time I suited up last Thursday morning in my deep green Nomex pants, I was excited. I was going to the fire and to where some of the real action was taking place. Aside from aerial displays of helicopters carrying water to the fire or planes flying over to drop fire retardant, I hadn’t seen real action on the Minerva Fire.

As a photographer I wanted close-ups of fire, firefighters working, smoke, debris, engines and…

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