The Burning Season

The Burning Season

The Burning Season

Sometime in the night I realized the wind must have changed, because through the gurgling of the swamp cooler I could smell smoke. It’s disconcerting to smell smoke in your sleep, and I might have been more worried but that even asleep I knew there are two large forest fires in the area, and the smoke just means the winds have shifted.

And this morning, it’s true. The air is a hazy apricot and the usually-clear outlines of Livington Peak are a soft grey. There’s a big fire behind the peak — 300 acres by last afternoon’s paper, and another one north up in the Crazies — that one’s 800 acres. There are a number of smaller fires scattered all over the area, and several really large ones — Glacier’s still aflame. That’s what happens when it doesn’t rain for 51 days and we get lightning storms.

The fairgrounds are full of tents and guys from all over the west who are smokejumping for the summer. It’s been 100 degrees every day and I’ll be spending this smoky hot weekend painting my office … it’s a small room, but there’s a lot of trim in there. But I shouldn’t whine, at least I’m not parachuting into a fire …

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