July 3, 2012
Published Siskiyou Daily News
This headline could read: “Fort Jones graduate saves the day.” You see Jim Klump grew up in Scott Valley and graduated from Fort Jones High School, which was a while ago, cuz the school consolidated with Etna High School in the 1980s (I think). Apparently, Jim went to work for the U.S. Forest Service and eventually invented a firefighting water pump called the Uni-engine. And guess what? It was used last week on the wildfire that was just north of Fort Jones on the hill across the little valley about a mile from where the “old” Fort Jones High School was located.
Actually, I called a friend, Jean Mielke, to ask how she was doing knowing the fire was very close to her home at the bottom of that hill on McAdams Creek. She was singing the praises of Cal-Fire and the many local volunteer firefighting Districts for such immediate action and great tactics. The fire started on a breezy Thursday afternoon and soon rushed up the brushy hill and began racing to the north. Jean mentioned the firefighters used this long hose that went up from near or at their place to the top of the hill and down the other side to shoot out water. My thought was “wow that is quite a feat involving enough pressure to pump water over that distance.”
Then Wendy Wilson, from Yreka, and a 1960-something graduate from Etna High School, called to tell me that Jim Klump’s invention was used to fight the fire. I put two and two together, then looked up “Uni-engine.com” on the internet. Sure enough, its nickname is “Klump Pump” and it has been used on many wildfires during the past decade. The Uni-engine consists of a water tank, pump and storage area built within a self-leveling frame and can be placed using a pickup bed or a helicopter as was the case on June 28th.
So a big thank you goes out to Jim for his invention; and to the many firefighters who hustled to save homes and stop the fire.
There is a bill that passed the State Assembly several weeks ago and is working through the Senate Committees that will be onerous to farmers and ranchers. Although it is touted as a wildlife protection bill, AB 2179 will give CA. Dept. of Fish and Game an incredible increase in authority. It allows the state agency to circumvent the local sheriff, District Attorney and Superior Court. If it passes, DFG will deal with violators “in-house” acting as judge and jury and levying fines up to $10,000.
Scott Valley Protect Our Water, Tea Parties and Senator Doug LaMalfa are fighting this bill. Siskiyou Sheriff Jon Lopey said that the California Sheriffs Association along with numerous other ag, water, business and fish groups are lobbying against it. But it did pass the Natural Resources Committee and is up for immediate vote in the Appropriations Committee. This in-house setting of Permit fees and fines is a “new” way for agencies to fund themselves providing salaries. Not a good precedence to set. We have asked citizens to call Senators explaining why a “no” vote is so important.
A little bit of sunshine came when California Senate Bill 1221 failed to garner enough support to make it out of the state’s Assembly committee on June 26. “Outdoor Life.com” stated: It’s a victory for sportsmen, common sense, and scientific-based management of game animals in the Golden State … but is likely to be short-lived.
After the Humane Society spewed its touchy-feeling rhetoric, the bill may gain support again for another vote.
Last week’s cooler weather was just fine with me, but the garden isn’t growing as fast as it will as soon as the summer heat hits. The watermelon and cantaloupe are putting on their second set of leaves; the green beans sprouted really well and there will be enough cucumber plants, although I will need to transplant several to even out the row.
I pulled several winter onions and was surprised at the large size. The volunteer elephant garlic was going to seed and the russet potatoes planted in the same row are finally growing well. So I pulled out the garlic and found two of the three were huge. One was four-inches across. The real garlic needs to be pulled next week as the strawberries I planted next to them are starting to grow.
I did get the thyme harvested, dried in the oven on very low heat, sifted and it filled a pint jar. Also cut the horehound and oregano and it is drying in paper bags.
May you take a moment on July 4th to remember it is our “Independence Day” and that freedom isn’t free.
Liz Bowen writes biographies, free lances and writes blogs: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com