Plowing New Ground

When a truck transport carrying a big John Deere crawler dozer with a shiny disk harrow attached arrives, you know that trees will fall, earth will move. Even snakes will flee the vibration to their burrow's safe harbor, and wait to see what happens next.


Victor Cisneros had been working out in the woods for about an hour when I heard the big crawler dozer's low rumble. Buck and I were working at our desks.  "Where is Victor working?" I asked idly.

Buck could see my head cocked to one side, and knew I was listening. "Do you hear something?" he said, already on his feet. I nodded.

 Buck can see like an eagle, but wears behind-the-ear digital hearing aids. He is my eyes. I am his ears.

"Come to the door." Buck motioned for me to follow him to the back sliding glass door. He opened the door. "Where's Victor?"

I listened to the rumble. "There." Like a cold-nosed dog, I pointed.

"How far?"

"Close. I'm surprised I don't see the dozer."

Buck took off running.

Victor had gotten turned around out in the woods and was plowing new ground. The lines had not been worked on since before Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and that storm remodeled the woods in such a way that Victor's maps weren't much use to him anymore.

Later, he noted wryly that the next time would be a lot easier, especially if we have the lines touched up more often.Truth to tell, Victor did a great job under difficult circumstances, and we appreciate his efforts.


Buck and Victor Cisneros, Senior Forest Ranger, Florida Division of Forestry, Blackwater Forestry Center


Fire lines are also known as "fuel breaks." They are critical tools in fire suppression when wild fires erupt and can save lives, homes, wildlife and property. They also make a great internal trail system for people and critters.



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