10 August 2014

Fire in the drought forest.

In the evening, we walked up the hill and smelled smoke. It's an out of the way place to walk up the hill, that's why I like it there. Up in a little seep zone, by the really long log, there was a burn, all raw and smoky. Burn went up some redwoods, and across the hill. This is in a drought forest, drier than a bone right now, no water anywhere.

There was a fire containment dug in the shape of a flower, looping around everything now black. Logs sawed and somebody had worked hard and fast to get that fire out. Had to have happened earlier in the day. Smelled like smoke. Still looked like smoke. We walked round the dig line and found a burning spot with smoke still going. Didn't look right. Smoke is one thing but stuff still burning, glowing embers cracking through the mulch. That shouldn't be, not in a drought forest just before the sun goes down.

So we all ran down the hill, as fast as we could. Puppy snapped back on a leash and not sure what was going on. I think the other dogs all know already, fire is bad. Grown up dogs get stuff like this. Puppy is just all, Holy Shit of Down the Hill Running Back on Leash Goddamn! We ran all the way down to the car, I threw all the dogs inside, and grabbed all the water I had, and ran back up the hill, tried to drown the fire out with water and some dirt.

It hissed some and I saw some orange go black but it still didn't look right.

So back down the hill, had to find a phone the old fashioned way because our fancy smart phones too dumb to work up there. Smart enough to talk to space, just not smart enough to do it through all the trees. Most of the time this makes me very happy, I like to be where the phone can't find me. Just today I didn't. This may have been a zone of no dogs allowed, so I may have had to hide the dogs under blankets in the car while I waited for the officers and fire guys to come.

Somebody had to be there to show them in. A funny spot in the forest where you have to know which tree to turn at, and follow the smell of smoke to get there. The forest hostess of the fire, the one that knew where the paths were. It's easy to explain this to the dogs, a whistle and a glance does the trick every time. There were cops and fire guys with a big truck and a tank of water and all of them had to find the way in. So by the end of the story, I ran up and down the hill, and over and across the hill quite a few times.

I stayed a while with the guys to learn about the fire and watch them dig and hack it out. I like to learn about stuff like this, how is it going to burn in our forest? One of the guys showed me where he thinks it started, poking around in there, forest detective. Somebody dug a campfire, probably. Dug it into a pit the size of a shoebox, didn't put it out right. Didn't run down to find some water and it smoldered in it's pit and burned up into the trees and across the seep, up a row of ferns and burned right up to a big patch of tinder. Not a big fire but big enough. Being there near the seep saved it from being a disaster. Showed me where it would have headed next, not good.

Living with a drought forest, going to be scary for a while. Scary til we get some rain.

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