Poems of ERT

Wren Wells

February - Packout: A Couplet Series

The 0700 meeting in the morning is neigh

Let's do this thing, we reply.

Who has the second year keys?

Would you open the radio room, please?

Don't forget your chaps, chains, and wedges.

And just in case would you grab a few sledges?

I packed half of box of oatmeal, and two cans of beans,

Some expired hot chocolate, and three saltines.

Brake light: check! Left blinker: good!

Now just gotta check under the hood.


Heather McSherry

'Twas the night before a prescribed burn

'Twas the night before a burn, when all through our housing

Not a teammate was stirring, nor any were rousing.

The workpacks were put in the truck with care,

In hopes that the weather would be "burn" fair.


When from my bunk bed there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

"My alarm!" I said and I flew like a flash,

Tore open my sleeping bag, felt the cold, and gasped.


I threw on my Nomex, laced up my fire boots,

They will help me from tripping over any roots.

Into my bag went my PPE,

They will protect me from any flaming trees.


We drove to the unit and discussed the burn plan.

1000 acres? Hell yeah, man!

I grabbed a rake and a drip torch,

Gazed at the land that was about to be scorched.


We dropped the fire and flung the flames,

Into the leaves and the cedars we aimed.

The fire moved well, it was only creeping,

None of it spotted or went leaping.


We helped with ignition and line holding,

Later on, with mop up, we checked for smoldering.

When everything was done and the earth scorched black,

The crew held an AAR and then headed back.


In the bathroom I washed the soot off my face,

Thought about our fantastic "work" place,

Where we get to learn and serve and grow,

Grow like the wildflowers we have come to know.


I was tired and beat, so I climbed into bed,

With thoughts of more prescribed burns in my head.

I dreamed of Smokey, what a strange site,

And he said "Safe burning to all, and to all fires we fight!"