The Truth About Knives debuted in March of 2013. In that time we have accumulated a considerable archive of material. In fact, 90% of our daily page views come from archived posts. Sometimes something that has been previously written becomes topical once again. That is the case today, though the post in question is not a TTAK original, but came to us when TTAK writer Jake Middleton wound down his personal blog, Rugged American Gear. That post is “Knives of the Wildland Firefighter”, and originally appeared there.
It is relevant today because the fires that have been burning in Great Smoky Mountains National Park exploded yesterday due to the 40-50mph winds that marked the leading edge of a front that was coming through. With gusts topping 70mph, the fires spread rapidly, engulfing Gatlinburg, TN, burning hundreds of acres, scores of structures, and forcing the evacuation of thousands.
The front did bring about an inch of rain last night, the first significant rainfall since July 5th, but it was not enough. It will help with preventing new spot-fires from popping up as flying embers will not be landing on bone-dry leaves and tinder, but the fires themselves still burn. We are hoping for more rain tonight, but the winds will still be a confounding factor today.
It is frustrating to watch a place I love transformed into a scene from the works of Dante. This is a shot of the Chimney Tops last night.
Here is the same mountain top at a much happier point in time.
The “Chimney’s 2 Fire” is the one that ran down the mountain from Newfound Gap yesterday. It has engulfed what is one of my favorite sections of river to guide and fish – The Gorge on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. It is my sanctuary, off the beaten path, and a place I only take the most select of clients. It is actually written into my Will that someday I want my ashes scattered in the stream about 50 yards upstream from where the bottom picture was taken. It is a very special place to me.
While my family and I are safe (there is a significant but smaller fire about 20 minutes from here, the one about which I am writing is about 50 minutes from me), it is frustrating to be unable to do anything to help. I was a firefighter in college, and even earned my Wildland 1 certification, but that was the better part of 2 decades ago. I wish there were a volunteer department closer to my home, because I would join up in a heartbeat.
Instead I can only sit back and watch, and write in an attempt to channel my angst. In an effort to keep this relevant to the blog, I am highlighting this extremely relevant post from the vault.
The wildland firefighter is usually out in the forest, regardless of whether said firefighter is working a fire or staging for the next conflagration. It behooves that person to have a knife, always.
My Case Large Stockman is my “go to” tool for any cutting task because of its three well-chosen blades. The clip blade is the most used piece of equipment other than my hand tool on a fire, from cutting open zip ties for undoing “toy hose” which is a ¾ inch cotton garden hose sized pipe used for mop up after we get the main blaze held up.
Sometimes when the State of Washington is nice enough to purchase us new hose we are overindulged with brand new zip-tied sticks of the workhorse of wildland fire suppression. And since we work around a lot of inmate crews, it isn’t always the best to whip out your brand new Chris Reeves Sabenza or Buck CSAR folder.
Read the whole thing, if you are so inclined.
Since I have this bully pulpit, I can’t pass up the opportunity to share something else related to this situation. While the outpouring of concern that has been tremendous, it is unfortunately not universal. I don’t know who Tobias Beecher is, other than he is someone who deserves a healthy measure of scorn and public ridicule.
Karma is a bitch dude. I almost pity you that you are so warped and twisted that you feel the need to celebrate people losing homes and livelihoods. So far, there is no known loss of life, though I imagine your pathetic little being would rejoice in that too you sick f@ck.