Philmont Wildfires: Natural Phenomena

Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 14:41:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: [Philmont]: Naturally occuring phenomena
Wildfires are naturally occuring phenomena just like rain, hail, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Any of these can be a tragedy if we let them. None need be.

The fires at Philmont have been referred to by various sources as a "tragedy" and a "disaster". I disagree with this. Neither of this terms fits. The fires are a natural phenomena. To make them a tragedy or disaster would require a much greater loss in terms of life and/or property.

Nobody wanted them, but they were expected to occur given the conditions present.

Loosing family in the World Trade building was a tragedy, the collapse of the building was a disaster, changing the trek you are on at Philmont is simply more of the adventure you signed up for in the first place.

Although a few buildings have been lost and other items I am sure, it still is a long ways from being a disaster.

If the fire burned like most all fires burn in that part of the country, it burned in fingers, leaving strips of green in it's midst. I'd be really surprised if it burned everything in it's path.

The fact that the Philmont administration has assessed the situation and have announced they can handle all crews scheduled should tell us it is an inconvenience at worst, not a tragedy or disaster.

The fact that the North country is closed indefinately does not mean it will not open this summer. Similar closures have occurred. Monsoonal air flows will start in late June or early July and with them we hope more moisture.

The fact that fire did rage over many campgrounds is simply a rubber stamp of approval that closing an area because of hazardous dry conditions was the prudent and wise thing to do. Philmont administrative personnel are very wise and very professional people. In short Philmont don't use junk administrators. They know what they are doing and aren't afraid to do it 24 X 7. All of this adds to the enjoyment of the experience to the youth and adults attending. For that we should all be thankful.

With that having been said, as Mr. Berra so rightfully once stated "it ain't over 'til it's over" we all need to keep in mind that the season is just starting, not finishing. Today is day one of a whole summer.

So how can we help.

First, asking guidance from the Almighty.

Second, trust the PhilAdministration to do what is right.

Third, be patient and flexable.

Fourth, wait until arrival to see what you got.

Fifth, take it like a true Scout and enjoy it.

Sixth, don't call them, it just overloads the already weak local phone system and some Scout might need emergency assistance that depends on that phone line working. Remember that when the first call in reservation was held, the incoming calls shut down the entire Cimarron phone system for hours.

To do our part, simply have faith in the system and the trust that you teach every Scout to have. In short, follow the Scout oath and law.

Now is the time to spend some extra time with your crew in adapting to changes. Take them on a hike using a trail that you know a bridge has been washed out on and let them sift through the posibilities of options they have. Give them guidance when needed, but let them lead. They will surprise you.


John LeBlanc
Eagle Class of 1959
Phirst Phil Ptrek 1959
PhilTrek 2002 630H2 Trek 16
My latest adventure was yesterday,
Today is not over yet!

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