Thursday, June 13, 2013

Praying for rain.... (wildfires)

Yesterday was a strange, unsettled day.

The air was filled with a smoky haze that only got worse as the afternoon wore on… There is a large wildfire burning south of us (the Black Forest Fire) and the hot south wind brought the smell of smoke and more haze with each gust. For most of the day the sun was hidden by a curtain of thick smoke.

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Even though we are far enough away from the fire to not be in any danger, I always feel unsettled on days when there is smoke on the wind. Each time the wind picks up and starts the cottonwood leaves dancing crazily and the tops of the big pines swaying,  the smoke smell becomes stronger and I wonder about the people who live in the wildfire area…. am I smelling the last remains of their homes and barns, gardens and lives, carried on the wind?





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And I know each gust of wind makes the fire harder to fight, giving it strength, pushing it through the treetops... helping it to swallow up everything in it's path.

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The smoke makes my throat scratchy, my eyes burn and my nose tingles... I can't imagine intensity of the smoke closer to the flames, and how terrible it is for the firefighters battling the blaze.

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We are not in a heavily wooded area, like the area that is burning… but I still mentally make plans whenever I smell smoke. I’d set sprinklers around the house before we left, grab the dogs of course, but leave Murphy and Tucker in the small pasture because I don't have a trailer (very little grass to burn, it’s mostly dirt) … wondering if I should buy a horse trailer and try to train them to load... and I make a mental note to cut the long grass growing on the north side of the barn.

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Long dry prairie grass starts looking more like fuel for a hungry fire and less like horse feed to me.

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I say a prayer for those affected by the Black Forest Fire and the other fires burning in Colorado right now. (The one at Royal Gorge is so sad… it's such a landmark… I hope the fire doesn't burn the bridge!)

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This is one of the few things I don't like about living in the country, and something I never anticipated... the summer wildfire season. Living in a place where it's "normal" for neighbors to make sure you have their new cell phone number in case a fire blows up while they are at work... a place where I mentally plan for what I'd do if fire threatened... even while telling myself we're in an area that's very unlikely to burn.

But still... when there is smoke on the wind and covering the horizon it's hard not to think that way.



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Anyway, it was kind of a sad, unsettled day.

The sun is visible again this morning, and the winds have calmed... there is still a thick layer of smoke hanging on the horizon but I have hopes that, without the wind, the firefighters will be able to make some progress on the fire.

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And I'll say a few prayers for rain too...

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