With the month of April just barely more than 24 hours old, the firefighters of our Department were already facing an enormous challenge in the form of a raging 400 acre woods fire on the city's northside. A prescribed burn in the Pumpkin Hill Preserve conducted by the State Park Services on Tuesday, 2 April, spiralled out of control and rapidly transformed a 70-odd acre controlled fire into the proverbial runaway train engulfing more than five times of the original acreage size. As responders gathered along Cedar Point road around noon that day, the enormity of the task became immediately apparant as an ineffably large mushroom cloud of smoke blanketed the sky, an awe inspiring and terrifying visual that could be seen from miles away. Joined by the Division of Forestry, crews quickly identified multiple objectives beginning with the immediate measures needed to protect exposures, secure traffic and tackle the distinct and two separate fire heads that were threatening to spread in opposite directions along the natural fire break of Cedar Point Road. Energized by low humidity, swirling winds (precisely the components that had unpredictably sprung up during the morning) and plenty of fuel (in size, continuity and volume), the fire would prove to be a formidable opponent for the combined forces of Forestry and JFRD who assembled to the tune of over 70 responders. As the afternoon hours stretched along, the upper hand slowly but surely belonged to the firefighters on scene as crews would routinely await the arrival of the fire in select areas, sometimes for a duration as long as 20 to 30 minutes. By early in the evening a 70% containment had officially been announced, with crews returning to the scene early the next morning and achieving a 90% rate by the noon time lunch hour. With roads fully re-opened and no reports of injuries or damage to residential property, the final analysis of the operation was that of a resounding success. The only bitter aftertaste was the realization that the 2013 Woods Fire Season hasn't even really begun yet and already the Department had been forced to deal with a sizeable challenge.