Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where there's smoke . . .

Yup, it's here alright. Fire season exploded around us yesterday. Every coupla years, there is a fire that is too close to Missoula for comfort. This year, it's the West Riverside Fire. Driving home from Hamilton yesterday evening, I watched the smoke column grow. I could tell by the smoke that there was extreme fire behavior. In my rear view mirror, I watched the smoke from the Saddle Creek Complex.

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes firefighters either nervous or excited. You can tell that the weather is shifting. The winds were erratic. It was Hot. And it was Dry! The kind of hot and dry that sucks the moisture right our of you when you step into it. Hot and dry like fine dust that burrows it's way under your skin without you quite noticing it until you all of the sudden feel like your face is on fire. Yesterday was like that.

Today, also hot and dry but not quite as extreme as yesterday, Larkin and I went to a spot where we could see the West Riverside Fire. It's burning near her house and she can see the flames from it at night out her bedroom window. We watched the fire planes drop slurry along the west flank of the fire. Great huge heavy planes that you think might just fall out of the air they move so slow. We saw single tree torching and several hot spots on the interior of the fire. A single helicopter was working with a bucket on a long line on a spot up by the ridge along the western flank. He made his circles: filling at the river, flying up and east, rising then heading west and up to the hot spot on the ridge, hover still to get the water to drop in exactly the right spot then a white splash and back down around to the fill site - over and over, around and around. We got hot standing in the dust along the road so although it would have been fun to stay and watch the air show, we left.

Tonight, the sky boasts several smoke streaks and smudges. Red and brown against the fading bright blue of dusk. The wind will decide if the smoke sinks in, smothering the vallies or if it disperses and lets us breathe.

This hot dry weather is supposed to continue until Saturday when there is a chance of thunder storms. We'll see.

For info on the afore mentioned fires, you can check here for the West Riverside Fire and here for the Saddle Complex Fire


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