Time passed really quickly here in Iceland and the end of my training period came so fast it almost caught me by surprise. My last 2,5 weeks here were mostly spent by thinning, building a new firewood shelter and cleaning up rubble after a tragic fire in one of the weekend houses (trailers). We began week 7 by putting in the foundations for the firewood shelter. First you have to dig deep holes and then put the foundations in the ground. Doing this is very hard work; we did it mostly by hand with the assistance of a tractor. After the foundations were put in and settled, we continued work on the shelter roof. The roof was mostly done by Johannes (our boss) and Bergur, who is a trained carpenter.
Forest service workers in Iceland are good all-around workers and have various different skills different things. Where “expert help” would have been called in most of other places I’ve been to, they usually do the work by themselves.In addition to working at the shelter we have also been thinning spruce and larch almost every day. I work much quicker now than in the beginning and am pretty comfortable felling trees lower than 20 m. It’s a fun, but hard job; depending on the situation forest workers use from 6000 to 10000 kilo calories per day.
There was also the unfortunate accident at one of the weekend trailers; a woman has died when it caught on fire at night. Because the tragedy had happened on Forest Service land, we had to clean up the rubble. It is not a very fun job. In addition to the bad smell and all the ash we had to pick up personal objects (for example broken garden elves, burnt toothbrushes, toys,..). Doing it made me feel uneasy and sorry for the victims.