I have a great frustration with traditional television news coverage of wildfires, because it generally leaves the impression of a chaotic, uncontrolled and unpredictable situation. Sometimes it is that way. But more often, the fire crews have a pretty clear idea of terrain, fuel load and weather. They know where the fire is now, and where it’s likely to go in the next 24 hours. They have a strategy for fighting the fire, which generally involves cutting a line behind it, flanking it with lines, and picking a safe distance in front of it to cut a line. It’s hard work, but most of the time it’s a fairly orderly process. The importance is to distinguish that orderly process from the times that the fire gets unruly rather than just treating the whole event as unruly chaos.
Avelina Maestas gives a nice flavor for that with his coverage this morning of the Skates Fire down south. Especially check out the map.