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uppityperson's Journal
uppityperson's Journal
August 31, 2015

Gritty, Dirty, and Dedicated: Portraits of Wildland Firefighters

This article is a couple weeks old, happened before the fires blew up in WA, ID, MT. Thank you firefighters for the work you do. Stay strong, stay safe.


The best part of my job as a photographer for National Geographic is meeting wonderful people along they way, like the Salt Lake Unified Authority fire crew.

On paper, the crew isn’t the elite of the elite. There are several types of firefighters on wildfires. Type one crews are called hotshots. The Salt Lake team is type two, called an initial attack handcrew, but they may as well be on top. The crew is every bit as hard working and professional as the best hotshot crews I’ve worked with.

McKay DeGering, 21, a chain saw operator (sawyer) on the Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority crew at the Fork Complex fires near Hayfork, California.

“It’s not about the name, it’s about the job. We don’t claim to be hotshots, but we try to bring our caliber of work to that level,” says Mike DeGering, the crew’s foreman and a full-time structure firefighter. DeGering spends his summers helping lead the team—which includes his brother McKay (pictured above.) “I’m not out here to be a hot shot crew or a smokejumper. I’m happy to mop up behind,” he says.

The work isn’t easy at any level.........

(more writing and photos at link
August 28, 2015

Here lies Vera. God help us.

Vera after and before Katrina.

Her home.

This Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, photo, John R. Lee walks by a memorial to Vera Smith, who he helped bury in a sidewalk tomb a decade ago following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Covered with a makeshift shroud that said "Here lies Vera, God help us," the grave became a symbol of the disorder in the city following the storm. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)


Amid the chaos after Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans, Vera Smith's body decayed for four days on a sidewalk until her horrified neighbors covered her with dirt, a makeshift plastic shroud and a bleak epitaph: "Here lies Vera. God help us."


Born in Mexico, Smith grew up in Texas and moved to New Orleans as a young woman decades before Katrina. Four marriages produced two daughters, now grown. For her final 15 or so years, Smith shared a small duplex with common-law husband C.N. Keene and their dogs. Their home was on Philip Street, just a few blocks from the columned mansions of St. Charles Avenue and a rough housing project that was demolished after the hurricane.

For years, her two daughters said, Smith helped operate a restaurant and bars even as she struggled with alcohol. A true New Orleans character, she loved fancy clothes and costume jewelry and had a wig for each day of the week. "She never had the same hair color two days in a row," said daughter Cindy Briones, 57. "You always knew when she was coming."


Keene never saw Vera alive again; he was told she had been killed by a vehicle that struck her in the aftermath of the storm and sped away. Neighbors still believe she was struck by a car, but an autopsy report obtained by The Associated Press last week showed she had no injuries to indicate any sort of accident. The report doesn't list a cause of death, and the manner was undetermined. Her death remains a mystery...(more @ link)

After all these years, this is the first time I've seen her picture. I had no idea she was white.
August 26, 2015

Question about copyright vs open source info

There is a thread leading from another about copyright vs open source stuff, specifically The 14 Points of Fascism. I volunteered to ask if they fall into copyrighted stuff and need to stay within the 4 paragraph rule, or if they are open source and can be posted in full?

Here is the thread.
Which stemmed from this thread

Here is one source listed in the thread

It has been posted on DU in full in the past, but not sure if that was because it wasn't noticed breaking the copyright rule, or if it is ok to post in full as it is widely spread about the net.

Advice? Thank you.

August 26, 2015

Got smoke?

This is today's smoke map. Sorry about that, rest of N America, but we've largest fire in state history burning in WA with others scattered around the NW.

If you want to see what's happening with the fires, here's the link to that map. Red is currently burning, crosshatched yellow the fire's perimeter.

August 24, 2015

WA Fires are now largest in state history

The massive fire burning in north-central Washington is now the largest in state history.

The Okanogan Complex of wildfires has surpassed last year’s Carlton Complex blazes.

Fire spokesman Rick Isaacson said Monday the Okanogan Complex was measured overnight at just over 400 square miles, slightly more than the Carlton fires, which also burned in Okanogan County.

The latest group of fires grew by more than 26 square miles Sunday and is expected to spread even more in coming days.

Isaacson called the record unfortunate and notes it’s only Aug. 24, meaning the fire could burn for several more months. Officials are still trying to determine how many homes and other structures have been burned.

About 1,250 people are battling the fires. Last week, three firefighters were killed and four injured near Twisp, Washington.

This story included the above but has a bit more, get a few free readings a month so am including it as a secondary link.


Donate money to http://www.occac.com/ please (given to me by people in the Okanogan). Red Cross is doing its usual helping as they can, but not accepting anyone to help in any way that hasn't gone through their official training. There are other places to donate, will post more when I track down reputable sources. For right now, money to OCCAC is good though.
August 23, 2015

Are there any WA Duers in Okanogan, Chelan, Stevens counties, or other fire areas?

Let us know how you are doing and what we can do to help as things progress.

I have been told to donate to the Okanogan Community Action Council, that they are helping and will use monies donated properly.

Best wishes to you, may the winds stay calm for a bit more.

August 22, 2015

Current wildland fires, map. Lots of fires, scary

It is centered on the Okanogan Complex in WA but is national if you pan out or around. Crosshatched is what has been burnt, fire perimeter, red dots are currently burning hot.

The big blobs in the middle, Okanogan Complex, is near where the 3 firefighters were killed last week. (They were outside Twisp.) Between the 2 big unnamed blobs are the towns of Okanogan and Omak, which looks like were mostly saved from the fire.

This complex blew up this week, being not only very dry but winds of 30 with gusts to 60. The winds settled down last night and hopefully that'll really help. Pres Obama has declared various emergencies, the National Guard has been called out, but the biggest problem has been the winds.


ETA a facebook map also.

To help with the confusion people are having about which fire is causing smoke where, and which parts of the state are on fire and which are not, I have created an updated fire map that will make things a bit easier for everyone to understand and something you can share with people from other states/countries wondering what it's like here right now.

Feel free to share if you are trying to explain the situation to others.

For reference, Mordor is in the lower right corner.
August 20, 2015

U.S. Forest Service identifies injured, dead firemen

Source: Omak Chronicle

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest officials have released the names of the firemen killed and injured yesterday afternoon.

#The three fallen U.S. Forest Service firemen who perished are:

Tom Zbyszewski, 20
Andrew Zajac, 26
Richard Wheeler, 31
#Daniel Lyon, 25, of Puyallup, was critically injured and is being treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle....(a bit more at link)

Read more: http://www.omakchronicle.com/news/2015/aug/20/us-forest-service-identifies-injured-dead-firemen/

Zbyszewski was from the small town of Carlton, in Okanogan County. His Facebook page indicates he was active in drama classes and had been a lifeguard at Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp.


Zajac lived in Winthrop and was a wildland firefighter with the Forest Service. Originally from Illinois, he received a degree in biology from Case Western Research University in 2010 and a master’s of science degree from the University of South Dakota in 2014, according to his LinkedIn page. He had previously worked as firefighter in New Mexico.


Details of the deaths were not immediately available, but officials have said the firefighters had been involved in a vehicle accident and that the crew was apparently overtaken by the fire they had been fighting. Four other firefighters were injured in the Twisp fire, including another Forest Service firefighter, two firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and one DNR contractor.



August 13, 2015

Yellowstone grizzly euthanized, cubs sent to facility


Park officials: Death of Billings man confirmed, Yellowstone grizzly euthanized
Results from genetic (DNA) analysis of bear hair samples collected next to Crosby’s body confirmed the adult female grizzly bear that was captured at the scene on the night the body was discovered was the bear involved in the fatal attack.

Additional support beyond the DNA evidence that this female was the bear involved in the attack include: The bear and cubs were at the attack site when Crosby’s body was found by park rangers; bear tracks of a female with cubs were found at Crosby’s body; this bear was captured at the fatality site within 24 hours of the body being found; and canine puncture wounds inflicted on the victim are consistent with the bite size of the female captured at the site.

An important fact in the decision to euthanize the bear was that a significant portion of the body was consumed and cached with the intent to return for further feeding. Normal defensive attacks by female bears defending their young do not involve consumption of the victim’s body.

Arrangements have been made to transfer the bear’s two cubs to a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA sets strict standards for facilities with regard to animal handling and care. Details of this placement are still being finalized. The facility is expected to make an announcement on Friday.
August 7, 2015

NARAL vid about birth control, right on

Sorry for it being a facebook link, will see if I can find on youtube.

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