Saturday, May 15, 2010

Silly Saturday

It was one of those mornings... the kind when you just can't predict what will happen next because everything that happened was out of the ordinary.  I was expecting a crazy weekend though because this weekend is my normal rotation.  I am figuring out that I get the rough weekends and my co-worker gets the run-of-the-mill weekends.  I know this because I worked his weekend last week and it was just fine.  My weekends, before and after his weekend, were not fun.  So, I knew it would be weird, but I didn't know what direction it was coming from.
I usually spend most of my time on the weekends in the ranger station, helping out, until I have to turn traffic when the park fills up.  This morning, I had to run an errand out of the park, I had to go to the office to pick up signs for a special event tomorrow, I had some burn zones from Thursday and Friday to check, and I had to head back to the office later to sign some paperwork for one of the Rangers.   The burn zones looked great.  On Thursday, they burned the zone across from the parcel that we burned on the 7th.  Its neat to compare the two right next to each other.  The burn from the 7th is on the left side of the road.  You can see lots of green grass filling in the black areas.  Thursday's burn is on the right side of the road with no new growth yet.

They burned on Friday as well.  That burn was in our youth camp area which was vacant at the time.  It must have been a fun one to watch because there is a deep bowl, or a dip in the ground.  I'm sure that standing at the top of it provided a great view of the fire.  It looks like they kept the fire nice and low, the trees are not very charred at all and most of the pine needles are still green and not brown.

As I checked over the burn zones, I found that the only things still smoldering were on the ground and well inside the zone.  They will be no threat to catch anything else on fire.  At the edge of one zone, I found a Gopher Tortoise near its burrow.  This will be one happy Tortoise in a week or two when the fresh, new shoots of grass start to emerge.  It will have a clear path to any food source in its sight.  The Tortoise burrows are a big help to other animals during a fire.  If they aren't able to find their way out of the burn zone before the fire moves through, there is always plenty of room in a Gopher Tortoise burrow.  Hundreds of species of animals, lizards, snakes, insects, etc. know to dive for these burrows if they need to.  Gopher Tortoises are crucial to the fire communities because of that function.

Between all of my random tasks this morning, I was helping out in the ranger station.  The calls that came in were just silly.  Everyone took their crazy pills this morning.  At least a dozen people called for directions after they were already on their way to the park.  A few more called for the park address to enter it into their GPS.  Then they called back when the GPS couldn't find which of the dozens of streets in the area labeled Wekiwa or Wekiva was the right, Wekiwa Circle.  They still didn't want directions at that point, they just wanted me to make their GPS work... that's hard for me to do over the phone.  I had quite a few callers that couldn't understand why we didn't have room in the 60 site campground for them, even though it was a busy summer weekend and they didn't make reservations.  In the midst of the phone calls to the ranger station, my Manager called from our shop area to tell me that our burn pile was ablaze.  We have a large pit where we pile wooden debris that can be burned and it was pretty full.  Some coals had been dumped there and even though they seemed cool, they managed to re-ignite and start a fire.  We were really lucky that our Manager just happened to come by.  I had to call in my co-worker and have one of the Rangers come in early to keep an eye on the fire until it went out.  They wetted down the trees around the pile to make sure that the fire was not able to spread and kept sprinklers running around it.  With that problem under control, I headed back to the ranger station to hear about a person who slipped and fell and hurt their ankle on the spring steps.  I was beginning to worry that this Saturday was going to eat me alive!
I survived though, fortunately the day calmed down after that.  The park filled up around noon and we had to close, but people began leaving then as well.  We were able to open again several times and stayed open for 15-20 cars each time as people slowly trickled out of the park.  Shortly after 3:30, we were able to stay open for the rest of the day.  The afternoon flew by and I was even able to duck out to walk down to the spring for a few minutes.  This is the first time that I have been able to see the spring area when we were at full capacity.  It was busy, but people still had some room to move around.  I definitely wouldn't want to see it anymore full.
Thought of the Day #40
GPS devices are wonderful things.  They can make navigating much easier... sometimes.  No gadget is completely fail safe though.  It is wise to still look at a map and know your general route before relying on your GPS.  It worries me how often people ignore common sense because their GPS device told them to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just had to answer an e-mail from Tallahassee on this very subject...GPS