This is my final week on the Starker 2020 intern team and I am at a loss for words for how amazing this summer has been!
I have learned more than I could have imagined and am extremely grateful to Starker Forests for adding me to the team. Working at Starker this summer has affirmed that I want to work in the woods and am eager to continue my career as a forester.
There has been a growing number of large forest fires on the West Coast so Starker has been assisting ODF and other forestry companies with the fires in the surrounding area. Some of the other intern teams got sent out earlier in the week but we all got the opportunity to go out on Thursday and Friday to help mop up a smaller 5-acre fire in the Mill Creek area.
The fire was out by the time we got there and it was our job to locate any hotspots left in the ground, stumps and foliage that remained and put them out.
Although the fire was out, it was very surprising to feel the amount of heat that remains in the ground days after the fire is put out.
We used our hand tools to dig into the ground and chop at wood that was still hot, and water to reduce the heat, and put out any sparks or embers that were left. This is an important part of the job as the hotspots may grow if left and any embers can spark up in the wind and start another fire nearby.
It was a lot of work and very long days but knowing that we were able to help made it all worth it.
I really enjoyed getting the fire experience, even if it was just a few days. I am excited to learn more and possibly continue working in wildfire!