Sunday, May 27, 2012

Camp Gilla... again

Even though covering news is my passion, I do like to stop and take a break every now and then. Saturday had been a long day covering stories about the big forest fire near Timmins and so when evening rolled around, I was ready to sit back and enjoy a nice dinner. I dropped by Pick of the Crop and grabbed a very nice strip loin and then as I was getting it ready, with a Spanish onion, some mushrooms and a green pepper, I opened a bottle of Beaujolais. Woohoo, this was gonna be good. The phone rang.
It was the communications lady from the forest fire command post. The new fire teams are coming in from BC and I’ve got a seat on the chopper for you, she said. Can you be at the helipad in ten minutes?
Yeahhh, I said. So drop everything, grab the cams and head out.

I got to the helicopter without 30 seconds to spare! I had no idea where we were going, except I could meet some of the fire teams and get photos. Good enough for me.

So up we went over the fire zone. There was a crew from Global National with us, and so our little chopper was packed with people and cameras. The TV guys got the best shots, as expected. I had no problem with that since I wanted a good newspaper story. So we were flying for about 30 minutes when the pilot starts asking if anyone knows precisely where Camp Gilla is? What? I was there two weeks ago. So point out the window at Highway 144, there’s Highway 560 and there’s Camp Gilla. I sure didn’t expect to be back, but once we landed there were about 80 fire crew members from BC there. So that was interesting.
On the way home, the TV guys wanted some close ups of the fire. Our pilot was accommodating. We flew at about 200 feet through the smoke and right above the flames. I’ve never seen anything like that before. We were close to trees, but I wasn’t worried because I was in the back seat. If we hit a tree, it would hit the pilot first! Ha ha ha. Anyway, it was a fun evening and when I got back home at about 10:20, I cooked up a very, very nice steak!


Anonymous said...

thanks for all the pics and reports. i think some firefighters from here have also been sent down there. crazy stuff. last year we had people coming here to help with the fires, this year has been rain rain rain.

Tracy said...

You are a reverse prospector... you "claimed your steak!"