Imagine if your car was big, white and nice, had electrical outlets, cell phone signal boosters, WIFI, high seats, tons of buttons and switches, MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat), and was just all-around awesome. Imagine if your car was a fire engine.

On Tuesday, August 3rd, the Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development (WILD) youth program hiked up the Heybrook Lookout trail, located just east of the town of Index in Snohomish County, and saw a presentation by the U.S. Forest Service wildland firefighters about fighting wildfires. They drove in their big white wildland fire engine, parked it against the green forest backdrop, and we all sat around it. They told us what they did, showed us the tools they used, and even demonstrated the fire torch and water hose. We toured around the engine, and five of us youth got to climb inside. In the fire engine, Ted Hargraves, the Engine Supervisor Captain, showed us all the cool gadgets inside.

The wildland fire engine has everything a car has and more. Not only can it drive you around, but it can use its big water hose, with a water reservoir connected, to put out fires. It also has tools, such as the axe or “Pulaskipulaski”, that are also used to create fire lines that eventually stop the fire. The fire engine is equipped to fight fires, but your car isn‘t.

The fire engine’s ability to keep you connected is astounding. You’ll never lose connection with the little cell phone signal-booster stand, WIFI, or walkie-talkies. You can plug in your laptop (the fire engine has electrical outlets) and use the WIFI connection or get information through your cell phone, which will hardly be denied signal. If all-else fails (which is unlikely), you’ll still have your handy-dandy walkie-talkie. With a fire engine, you‘ll never lose communication.

Fire engines are entertaining. Firefighters are often sent out on two-week-long assignments to fight fires. Not that they have to sleep in the fire engine, but they’ll always stay comfy for the time that they occupy it with the high, cushioned seats of the engine. Firefighters won’t go bored with all the buttons and switches they can push, which operate the lights and sirens, which are just as entertaining. And, of course, the radio. You can’t go wrong with tunes. The fire engine not only has stuff to do, it has food to eat. The engine is stocked with high-calorie MREs — Meal, Ready-to-Eat — the same kind of packaged food soldiers eat. Clearly, life with a fire engine is more comfy than life in any ordinary car.

The fire engine is pretty awesome with its gadgets and comfort. But remember, fire engines are here to fight fires. The hose, the tools; it’s all to stop fires. Communication is needed to get information from the station or contact someone in case of an emergency. The lights and sirens are standard, to see and to alert. Having MREs is essential in case firefighters can’t get food. There’s good reason for everything that a fire engine has. Now, don’t you wish you had one? But unless you‘re a firefighter, you can‘t. So for now, just imagine that your vehicle … is a fire engine.

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