Thursday, August 16, 2012


Some excitement around the place last week. The first picture, above, is what I saw from the dinner table that evening. The second is what it looked like on the mountain to the west about an hour later. As most of them do, this one started from lightning about twenty miles south and then ran right up to within two-hundred yards of me in a jig-jag mostly northerly run before the wind shifted and sent it west across the mountain.

I had planned ahead and several days before had mounted a 25-gallon spray tank on my UTV. That may seem a little silly but you'll be surprised what a well-placed 25-gallons can do to a grass fire. By the time the wind shifted we (me and a spray truck arriving nick--of-time from a town 40 miles north) had knocked it down on the arm that was heading for the house. Ironically, the really poor grass from the drought was a positive factor for us.

The way the fire system works out here is that each ranch has a piece of equipment (usually forest service cast-offs) and when the alarm goes out they gather and fight the fire. I never saw any of my immediate locals as they were involved with the fire to the south (there were five or six different fires that night). All told, there were 80 pieces of equipment fighting this one. I had neighbors show up from 30 miles away to help.  Range fires are terrible things, but out here they bring out the "neighbor" in everybody.