Lookouts, Communications, Escape Routes, Safety Zones (LCES)

Today was our S130/190 refresher, and then the S134 class.

I think many of the watch out conditions in the IRPG must have been bought with a few deaths; at least, the movie we watched seems to indicate it: "3 of the men survived by reaching the ridge, but the rest..." and "It could have been avoided, if only..."

Naturally, half the examples were old Colorado fires. Nothing like having a little pride in your state...

The most fun part of the class, of course, was where we got to do the scenario as the Feds.

"Helicopter? Suuuuure, we'll take it! Let the taxpayers pay for it! Give us a slurry, too! Oh, we've got a bulldozer coming? Send it to the north side! Wait, wait, ... what do you mean our update says we've got strong SW winds now?! How the hell did that happen?! The local department needs radios? Sure, give them some; we're USFS, by golly! Are we not merciful? Hold on, hold on, what do you mean the local department's fireline's not .... wait, wait, WHAT? Why is their tender moving over there?! The IC didn't... HEY! Who the hell came up with this scenario?!"

Add some six sided dice, a dragon, and some confiscated controlled substances, and you've got a game everyone can play!

I was sort of lost throughout most the rest of the class, though... I fell asleep somewhere around L.A.D.D.E.R... (advanced listening... teehee!) Deployment zones are safety zones, right?  And you're supposed to stay out of the black? Just kidding...

The movie we watched did have some trippy rainbow colors for the safety zone part though; the convenience of mushrooms, without the trudging.

Speaking of the trudging. If 7+ hours of rapid classroom exercises and dungeon master-esque fire games wasn't just the most fun, the pack test at the end certainly was.

As I'm overweight, out of shape, and, best of all, an ex-smoker, the last time I walked 3 miles was... well, actually, I'm not sure I ever have.  Going for an arduous rating would seem to be, ahem, "ill advised". Or, for the coarser description: batshit insane.

Granted, for CTSP, fitness is 'None Required', but where's the fun in that?

For those not familiar with the criteria for the various levels of performance, they are:
  • Arduous Pack Test - 3 mile hike with 45lb pack in 45 minutes.
  • Moderate Field Test - 2 mile hike with 25lb pack in 30 minutes.
  • Light Walk Test - 1 mile hike with no pack in 16 minutes.
My pack was 47lbs - tire chains and water jugs, plus fire shelter.  It bounced. A lot.  Interestingly enough, about halfway through, the rather brisk 35ºF day felt glorious.

My time was 43:56.

This, despite having only a passing acquaintance with exercise, way too many pounds, and a complete lack of anything resembling lung capacity.

My secret?

In Flames.

It's quite astounding, really, how one can do death metal growls with only labored exhalations.

Not in tune, of course, but in the key of "I'd hurl if I wasn't too exhausted to expel the contents of my stomach".

I told myself, "It'll all be worth it, too, the next time I flash my red card and they look at me, and back at the (A), and wonder, 'How in the hell did this guy ever pass an arduous pack test?!'"