Friday, August 12, 2011

The fire revisited

Fire 093
Signs and flagging direct crews to the fire

After fighting fire for three days last week, Nathan decided that the assorted neighbors, BLM and Forest Service guys had enough of a grasp on containing the fire that we could in good conscience take off for our California road trip. We were both immensely relieved to not have to make the decision between protecting our home and property from the threat of fire and attending the much anticipated wedding of our friends.

Fire panorama
Burned area panorama from the top of the grade

The fire started off pretty small but gained steam quite quickly in the second day and covered a lot of acres. It jumped to our side of the highway in a few spots but mostly burned north of the road.

Fire 029
Our gravel turnoff

There were a few homes where the fire got terrifyingly close but the BLM dumped water and flame retardant around them. Nathan was working on a section where the fire jumped the highway and was racing toward a dozer line when they got hit by the flame retardant spray. It clobbered the neighbor's water spray rig and Nathan came home pretty speckly as well. His hat is still sprinkled in red flame retardant.

Fire 067
A chopper fills at Antelope Creek

In the photo below one of the neighbor's hay sheds stands unscathed in a sea of green. A green buffer is always the first line of defense in protecting structures - fire lines, water brigades and flame retardant can only do so much.

Fire 011
Juniper trees go up in smoke. Spared hay shed at center. Click image to zoom.

It has been over a week now since the fire was contained. It is still surprising to me to drive through the burned area, how dramatically the landscape has changed. Overall though, fire is good for the ecosystem and the range will regenerate with lush grass next year. Nobody lost their homes, only a few outbuildings didn't make it, and hopefully the neighbor's livestock are OK. Nathan has some pretty crazy stories about cattle frantically sprinting down the highway, fleeing the flames that chased them out of the high country.

Fire 047
Nathan points out an area where the fire jumped the highway 

I know I have had my share of excitement for this fire fighting season (and you can bet Lloyd and Nathan's backs and shoulders have had enough) but you never know when the call will go out again. We're ready this time though with all our fire supplies in order. Hopefully we won't need to use them.

No comments:

Post a Comment