SERVING THE CREWS
So how do you handle the daunting task of feeding several hundred hungry firefighters three meals a day every day for weeks on end during a long wildfire season?
Well, since 1989 they've often called Ron Simonis of La Grande and his R&C Catering crew to handle the job for fires throughout the western states.
On Tuesday R&C finished with the Fly Fire southwest of La Grande near Ukiah, the fourth fire of this season for Simonis and his kitchen crew.
Fire seasons can be long for everyone involved, and the fire kitchen is no exception.
When it comes to feeding the numbers often involved in these fires it is a rare time of the day when there is not some work that needs to be attended to.
Cooks often turn on the grill around 3 a.m. in preparation for breakfast. Immediately after breakfast they begin the task of putting together hundreds of sack lunches for the next day, hopefully finishing in time to start preparing for dinner, after which cleanup can often take workers to midnight and beyond.
The best bet at finding a moment of calm and quiet in a fire kitchen is probably between the hours of 1 and 3 a.m. Â— and even that isn't a guarantee.
To put it succinctly, fire kitchen crews don't get much sleep.
But as far as Simonis is concerned, that's fine with him.
"You can sleep all winter,'' he's been known to tell a tired worker.
Â– Chris Baxter
UPDATE: R&C Catering is one of 13 kitchens nationally being dispatched to Louisiana to help with the hurricane disaster there.
Simonis' convoy of trucks and trailers headed east Friday expecting to arrive on the scene by Monday.