“There’s Nothing Romantic about Fighting Fires”-Jim Kidd

In our interview with Mr. Jim Kidd, he emphasized his years spent working, controlling, and managing fires in the Forest Service. He discussed the necessity for working with fire when he first entered the forest service when he stated,”back when I came to work, if you didn’t work in fire, you were done, it was a key element to working in the forest service.” He described how in the east, most fires that occur in forests are ground fires that can kill trees and cause damage, but are not the flame engulfing fires that you would see out west. A particularly interesting story that he told us about from his time working with fire was about the Talulah Forest in Rabun County, Georgia, which is right on the border of North Carolina. He described certain citizens who were angered by the fact that the Forest Service passed national trails legislation that made the river a wild and scenic region, therefore preventing them from any longer driving vehicles through the paths. Mr. Kidd said that this enraged people to the point of committing arson and described how, “they just about burnt that county up for years and years and years…we were on fire call every night.” He went on to describe how “that generation has moved on” and that there is no longer an issue of arson in this area. I found this story to be interesting because it shows the conflicts between community members and the forest service in regards to priorities. The forest service found the area to be valuable and in need of preservation while certain people seemed to feel otherwise. It should also be noted that Mr. Kidd was not talking about the members of this community as a whole, but rather just certain individuals.