Living the mountain state of Colorado means that wild fires are a part of living here, but it doesn’t mean that “Burning Years” are hoped for, just expected to happen eventually. I’m from a state (Washington) with lots of trees but also lots of water, I’m used to fires just fizzling out or being slow to spread (and often being left the spread because the Olympics have no/low populations of people). Fire is an important part of a forest’s health and life cycle. It’s hard to remember that some times.
But all that knowledge doesn’t make the smell of wild fires and the sight of flames over the ridge okay. So far only a few neighborhoods are on evacuation notice, and only one house burned (the one that’s the point of origin). Still it is stressful.
Yesterday I spent 45 minutes working with strangers to get a herd of horses off the highway, they’d been spooked by either the small fire (relatively speaking small) or the helicopter that was fighting the fire. Lots of running up and down the road trying to herd them towards a ranch with an open corral where they could be safe until their owners could come and fix the fence before putting them back. I’m sure the sight of the horses and a bunch of people whooping and hollering was a memorable one for people coming down from Silverton.
My tolerance for stupid actions goes down very quickly when I have to run, and even faster when its hot out. I had little tolerance for the people driving by taking photos and asking if the horses were wild ones. So, odds are I’m in a least a few people’s vacation photos looking less than impressed.