I’m not sure what it’s like to have a summer without wildfires, for as long as I can remember in my time in Montana, there has always been “fire season”, It has always created the hallmark amber evenings of August, kissing the golden grass with a deeper honey colored stain. Every now and again, The season comes early, the land becomes dry , the late days of Spring feel like those of a hot summer and it is on the wind. You can feel it, smell it even. The people will chatter about their predictions and then a silence falls upon the land, the earth takes a shuttering breath and everyone waits. It’s the first big one breaks out and there are camps of volunteers and firefighters along back country roads, each camp bustling with activity. Nearby ranchers move their herds and the helicopters fly low for a water pick up. It’s not unfamiliar in our Montana.
What is frustrating is the lack of respect, from humans. Believing that they are exempt from the laws mother nature has imposed, They are careless with flame and sparks, fireworks and cigarettes, In our town alone on the 4th of July we had 24 fires. That is in an area of a 10 mile circumference. It’s worrisome to say the least.
But still when it comes to the nature cause fires, one must think, this is about renewal not destruction, that after the earth takes a breath, she looks about and sees cluttering underbrush and dead trees, she uses fire to renew them.
As I blogged from Townsend last week, the afternoon sky turned the color of sunset and in the distance I began to heat the tell tale thuds of choppers. I walked to the end of the block and there not 2 miles at most away was a wild fire. The indian creek fire only surmounted to 500 acres before mother nature sighed and opened up a rare heavy thunderstorm (for the area) and left the air heavy with the smell of damp smoke and yet, the whole place felt refreshed.
The image with the helicopter is a story of it’s own, but in brief it of a rancher moving his herd to a safer location while the helicopter dips water for the fire from a nearby river.
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