FALL IS FIRE season. And while some of us run in the other direction when we spot flames — two hills Eagle Scouts did just the opposite on a recent outing in the Sierra. They stopped to put out a blaze that could have turned into a major wildfire.
John Callon and Dan Langmaid were backpacking in the Hoover Wilderness just north of Yosemite when they happened upon a small forest fire. It was windy that morning and the flames were spreading quickly. The youths did what they could to shut off the fuel supply, isolating the burning logs and throwing dirt on the fire.
Soon, reinforcements came — three other members of the hiking party who found water about 300 yards away and ferried it back to the fire in bottles, pots and even their backpack rain covers. When the smoke got too thick, they covered their mouths with bandannas and kept working.
Meanwhile, Callon took off running seven miles to the nearest U.S. Forest Service station to report the blaze. By nightfall, the fire was out and the surrounding forest and dwellings were safe.
It takes a big commitment to be an Eagle Scout — with years of meetings and training and service projects. Not many boys are willing to put in the work. Thank God, Callon and Langmaid did, and knew what to do when they spotted trouble. It’s a testimony to the Boy Scouts and to a generation of youth who take their responsibility to the community seriously.
Like most scout groups, Troop 206 needs more members. If you know a boy between the ages of 11 and 16 who would like to join, contact Scoutmaster Tim Bever at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Troop meets Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Joaquin Miller Park building on Joaquin Miller Road.
FOREIGN TONGUES: If you’re planning a trip to Moscow or St. Petersburg anytime soon, you may want to bone up on your Russian. The Oakland Rotary Club is offering free Russian lessons on Tuesday nights, at their Franklin Street location. Why Russian? Two reasons, really — member Don McClure speaks it fluently and the club is also bringing over 12 lawyers from Russia so they can learn about the American legal system. “If we could teach people Russian,” says past president Tom Schmitz, “then maybe we could seduce them into being home hosts.”The Russians are coming Oct. 13 (and staying until Nov. 4) and you can learn more about the program, and the Russian lessons, by calling Jo Pegrum at 510-547-4473.
WANING SUMMER: September weather is perfect for soaking up those last rays of summer.
Reader Sue Piper suggests rounding up your friends and having a picnic this Sunday, Sept. 17 at the Woodminster Amphitheater. Michael Morgan will be conducting the East Bay Oakland Symphony in a free concert at 3 p.m. It’s part of four consecutive Sundays of music at Woodminster, put on by Oakland Parks and Rec. For more information call Karis Griffin at 510-238-3052.
EMBRACING DANCE: Thanks to reader Nelly Truong (Nelly’s Java) for inviting readers to the grand opening of her husband’s new ballroom dance hall. “It’s one of the largest in the Bay Area,” says Truong, who says the brand new 10,000-square-foot building has three separate halls to host different types of dance, like salsa, tango, twist and cha cha — and of course, the waltz. Her husband, San Manh, is opening the hall with partner Paul Yee, and both men have been teaching dance for years. The party at Just Dance (2500 Embarcadero) begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, and showcases the best competitive dancers in the area. Log on to www.justdanceballroom.com to get your free invitation.