“Well, that was curious.” Philip Quan said looking up from his USFS issued radio.
Sarah, the most Masters level student from Quan’s team glanced towards him and then returned her eye to the spotting scope she was using to watch marmots two hundred meters away.
“What did you happen to overhear? A weather report perhaps?” Sarah was used to rain and the monsoon season, but the other students were still unfamiliar with such conditions, being from Vanderbilt, and not familiar with the late summer storms and was already tired of their whining about having gotten wet the night before.
“No, I could only hear half the conversation, and I suppose only part of that, but it sounded like there might be a helicopter coming. I’m not really sure why.”
“Coming where? Here? You can’t land a helicopter here, it’s Wilderness, there’s not meant to be any motor vehicles used here, let alone a helicopter! “
“I get that. And how do you propose to stop a helicopter from landing once it arrives? If it even lands. It can hover and strictly speaking not have entered the Wilderness.”
“Hey, Philip, Sarah, look over there away to the west, there’s smoke rising.”
“Hmmm, looks like it’s between Inmann Pond and the trailhead. We’ll keep an eye on it and see if it increases any, meanwhile, back to the marmots.”
Philip made a note in the occurrence log that fire had been sighted, and thought to himself that perhaps that was what the helicopter was about. Not coming to the mountain, but to drop water on the fire if it had to. He knew that many fires would be starting in the next few weeks, and of those many would be allowed to take their natural course of action. But with his team cut off from the trailhead he did worry about this one. Yet duty called, and that meant observing this marmot colony on Scruggs Peak. In an hour or so he’d radio in and find out more about the fire, but the marmots would soon go into their dens and work needed doing until then.