Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bad news good news

About 3 this afternoon, Barb pointed out a smoke cloud coming from the highway side of the mountain behind our house. I grabbed my shovel and headed that way. Not only is there some good game habitat, a friend of mine lives there.

There were a couple of guys fighting the fire along the road but no one was on the driveway leading to Steve's ranch and there was plenty of heavy brush to burn there. Steve, the rancher, was ten miles away with his cat putting a line around an eleven thousand acre fire that had burned a couple of days ago. His house was never in danger but a lot of sage and bitter brush went up in flame. I just mopped up along the quarter mile drive way making sure the fire didn't jump across until the first fire truck showed up.

While all this was going on, Barb was home taking pictures of the fire as it came over the hill.
Luckily, there is lot's of green between our place and the dry hills, so we didn't worry about the fire getting close to our place.
Almost as bad news as the fire is how bad of shape I realized I was in. Throwing dirt on the fire as I stood on the drive way wasn't too bad but once the first fire truck showed up I thought I could go back to my BLM days and hustle up the hill pulling a fire hose and was soon sucking for oxygen. I tried to impress those young punks but readily gave up the nozzle when help arrived. All those yellow shirts were a welcomed sight.

And when the air troops showed up I ducked into my truck and weaseled towards home like a whipped kid.
They put on quite a show on both sides of the mountain and Barb and Jake took plenty of pictures.
They even used the pond to fill up the buckets.
I wonder if any of the fire fighters will find some cooked fish as they mop up.
As I said, there is bad and good news. The bad news is the country that burnt and me realizing how big of a puss I'm becoming. The good news is I saw some quail crossing the dirt drive way for the green fields. There were two different groups of 15 or so little ones with mom and dad. They were very little but I saw one of the groups take to the air as a smoke jumper landed in the field near to them. I have never seen baby quail around here until mid July in the past but am becoming aware that maybe I haven't looked hard enough. I also watched 6 or so young huns or chukars fly through the smoke as I was putting out flames. They were very young and I didn't see any adults. The heavy brush they flew into was engulfed with flames only seconds behind them. One of the fire fighters said he saw a decent size group of chukars fly out in front of the fire also.

Today the temperatures reached 110 degrees in the valley. The highest ever in June and the second highest temperature ever. So we're in for a long hot summer. The next ten days are supposed to be above 100. It is 11:30 right now and the temperature is still 92 degrees. My brief time fighting fires today showed me more young birds than I have been able to find while scouting. I came home with confidence that it looks like we have had a decent hatch. Now, if we can only keep the land from burning up.



Anonymous said...

Don't feel alone Larry. I finally worked through my denial about not being able to do what I did when I was younger. There are days that I think I can, but reality soon takes over. The good thing about Mays is he is about as old as I am so it works out good when we are hunting. Jake is still young yet so hes going to give you a work out for awhile but you can send Conner up the hill when Jake is on point about a half mile up the hill. At least you have ponds to draw from when you have a fire nearby. Keep us informed.
Alan, and Mays

Unknown said...

We have had unseasonably warm weather here in AK too. Very dry and lots of fires all around the state including about 8k acres within 15 miles of here. Last year the immediately adjacent area burned 200,000 acres. We went into the burn in May and found a nice batch of morel mushrooms. Fire isn't such a bad thing here, but I don't like to see the sagebrush burning.

Thanks for the reports Larry!