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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seeing red

I was sitting on my deck on this glorious summer day, enjoying the buzzing of hummingbirds, chirping of Flycatchers, and the sound of wind through the pine trees.
Then, I caught a waft of smoke. Yes, smoke.

It dissipated so fast that I thought that it was an apparition. So, I returned to enjoying the day. A few minutes later, another waft hit me. That's odd, I thought.

I went inside to get a drink, and when I returned to the deck, there was absolutely no doubt that I smelled smoke. It smelled fresh and close. I remember that horrendous day last September when a huge wildfire broke out nearby much too well to ignore the smell of smoke. Here's what I spotted during my bike ride that day.
So, I stopped lazing around on the deck. K and I went for an upwind walk, searching for the smoke source. I was headed toward a spot where a non-resident neighbor likes to have camping parties, where I knew that that a fire ring sat surrounded by the carnage of dead trees, felled for the building of a house that never materialized. Someone camped there two nights ago so I thought that maybe the fire had been smoldering for that long and today's wind had whipped it up.

As we approached, the smoky stench seemed to disappear so I thought that my hunch was wrong. However, for my peace of mind, I wanted to see the fire ring with my own eyes. K and I wandered around the vacant property, finally finding the ring of stones.

And, yes, flames and smoke were flickering up from it, despite the fact that there was no one in the vicinity. The light wind was pushing the fire and smoke toward our house. I turned and hurried, as fast as my body would go, back to home to call the firefighters. I had visions of the view from near our house during last year's fire that fueled me to move fast.
The sheriff and firefighters responded quickly and put out the fire. Thank goodness.

Imagine what would happen if another fire like last year's erupted. Our Mabel and her cubs would be dead.
The precious bear trees, marked every summer for decades, would be charred sticks.
The beautiful spotted saxifrage would vanish.
The delicate fawns would flee for their lives and maybe outrun the flames.
And, it would be decades before Columbines would bloom again.
The Prince's Pine would take years to regenerate.
I cannot bear the thought of what a wildfire would do. Most of all, I cannot bear that other people don't cherish and protect our little paradise. It makes me see red.


  1. I'd be livid, too! I'm glad you found it and it was put out before any damage was done!

    That spotted flower is so pretty, it almost looks fake! I've never seen one like that or the last one, either. They're beautiful!

  2. I think everything 2 and four legged owes you a big thank-you for following through and finding where the smell of smoke was coming from! THANK GOODNESS you were home, it's heartbreaking to think what could have happened!!

  3. Oh, My Vickie and I were sick to our stomachs as we read your post.

    We are so so glad you followed your heart and checked it out.

    Still our hearts are beating fast.

    Nature is blessing you this day as are me and My Vickie


  4. Thank goodness it was caught in time, scary
    Benny & Lily

  5. I'm so glad that you followed your hunch and found that fire before it did any major damage. I have no patience with those who don't love and protect the earth.

  6. Thank goodness you saw it and called for help. Fire is so scary and spreads fast taking out everything in the way. That is very upsetting that people just walk away not even checking to see if it's out. Thank you for finding it and having it put out!!! I am seeing red too. Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  7. Oh, how very devastating that could have been! So glad you found it and were able to summon help quickly enough. Idiots!!!

    Aside from all that turmoil, your photos are awesome.

  8. You are a hero for tracking down that smell and calling the firefighters-thank goodness all is well!

    Great post!

  9. I would be seeing red too, KB! You deserve a huge thank you from your neighbors and wildlife for what you did today.

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  10. Presumably the fire departmnt will have som strong words for them !

  11. Wow - good thing you went to check. Will they get fined?


  12. Good for you to check out the smoke smell!!



  13. How fortunate we are to have you and your keen sense of smell and determination. I am glad you tracked down the source and alerted the authorities.

    Mango Momma

  14. Good to hear you caught the fire before it got out of control.

  15. Irresponsible and stupid people are the bane of so many lives. We're very glad you caught it in time!

  16. We are so with you on this post. From the campfire not tested as a "cold out" to the carelessly flicked cigarette to the piles of brush burned without a permit, we shudder to think of the damage to our area when that gets out of control. Glad that you "followed your nose" and discovered it before it got too big.

  17. Hi Y'all,

    Oh so lucky you located the source of the smoke.

    They say forest fires, the natural kind, are renewing...??? I don't think the animals and people effected find it so.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  18. It makes me see red, too! Thank goodness you went to investigate. I saw Pine Drops today when we took the Grands for a walk in the woods - I thought of your photo.

  19. You had me there with you all the way...I would have crowned the jerks for sure. I even get upset when smoke comes out of chimneys. Inhale>>>>>exhale....that feels better now!

  20. You are spot on with this post. We also fear idiots who come into the woods and behave carelessly. And it seems that as the economy worsens, more and more people are going to the national forests with their beer, TVs, and complete lack of respect for the forest.

  21. I think everyone in Colorado looks up when they smell smoke. I'm in the Springs and had ash falling at my house during the Hayman fire. Scary times. Good for you to put forth the extra effor to find the source. Colorado needs all the pines we have left after the beetles. Smiles!

  22. What a blessing that you were able to find the source of the smoke and have it tended to before something worse happened!!

    Boondocks & The Love Shack Pack

  23. I would be seeing red, too. I'm so thankful you saw it in time to alert the firefighters, and I'm glad they were able to get it out.

    If only more people could see what you've just described, what our world would look like when we stop being careful...

  24. So glad you saw the smoke and the fire was put out before it spread.

  25. OMD! What a nightmare for you! I'd be spittin' mad. what idiots!

    i'm so glad you're ok.

  26. ps. re: walking / jogging juno uphill... yes i could do that. i'd rather do the treadmill tho or bike a few times/week with her. right now it's too hard for me to climb much either by bike or foot due to my own health issues. but we bike when i can and right now we're not biking much but i'm keeping her light and she goes on plenty of long off-leash walks (at least 1 90-minute off-leash per day or 2 shorter ones...depending on my schedule...) but yes, i do hope to have her trott uphill some time, when i can too...

  27. I completely understand your anger. How irresponsible!! I makes me furious too! I'm glad you were there to react and call for help.

  28. Dear KB
    This post brought tears to my eyes as I read your words. I know how much your world means to you, and to all the wild life.
    I cannot stand the thought of it either to think of animals running for thier life, and the destruction of Mother Earths forest,,.just because of carelessness,
    Thank goodness you were there, and that you ran fast...
    All the forest thanks you,,
    now i need to dry my eyes, cause all is okay because of you
    we love you

  29. They have just this past week finally put out the fires raging around Los Alamos and Bandelier National Forest here. It is the largest fire ever in our state's history. Bandelier is full of sacred sites and antiquities. This fire, too, was caused by a careless campfire. My heart aches at the loss that will never be recovered and for the damage that won't heal during my lifetime. I so understand.

  30. That makes me so crabby too. I'm glad you figured it out and got the help needed so quickly.


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