That’s the word that comes to mind to describe how quickly local and out-of-the-area firefighting agencies responded to Pistol River fire this week.
With the wind gusting up to 35 mph and nothing but a wide open plain of dry grass, brush and trees, things could have turned out much worse.
Listening to the police scanners in the newsroom, we had a front row seat as agencies launched into action.
Local firefighters arriving at the scene sized up the fire quickly and issued a call for help from agencies in three other counties. As water-dropping helicopters made the long trek from Coos Bay and Medford, more firefighters from Curry County began the daunting task of corralling the raging blaze.
They left the fire on the ocean side of Highway 101 alone for awhile, focusing instead on the east side, where numerous rural homesteads stood in the path of the wind-whipped flames.
The fact that only one structure – an abandoned metal garage – was destroyed is a testament to the quick actions of everyone involved.
If conditions had been different – higher temperatures and stronger winds – the damage could have been worse. Far worse.
The Curry Coastal Pilot witnessed first-hand the hard work and dedication exhibited by firefighters. They trudged up steep sand dunes, through thick underbrush, wearing thick, fire-resistant clothing and carrying heavy, cumbersome water hoses into the smoke and heat produced by the burning vegetation.
The pilots of several helicopters scooped up water from the nearby Pistol River and made precision water drops that dampened the fire and provided coverage for the fire crews below.
Fire season is just beginning. Should another significant fire break out soon, we’re confident our local firefighting resources and those from other counties will be on it immediately.