Sunday September 16 2012
What you see above is not the magical golden light of autumn. What you see below is not flat land in the Owyhee desert. There are 4000 feet worth of mountains straight ahead.
Smoke moved in this morning, quickly, thickly, obscuring the Owyhee mountains, covering the area like a heavy blanket. Eye-burning, lung-singeing, cough-generating, panic-inducing smoke.
A flurry of phone calls: neighbors, 911; check the fire websites, ride the ATV up onto the flats to see if there's anything to see. Nothing to see but more smoke; nothing new to report.
The closest fire is the Trinity Ridge fire in the Boise National forest, about 50 miles as the Raven flies from here, 146,000 acres. It started on August 3rd (human caused), is 64% contained, estimated containment date October 1st.
Incredible how smoke can travel so far in such a dense pack, up and down mountains, through canyons and draws, with wind twisting it up and down and sideways, and it still arrives all of a sudden in a mob on your doorstep 50 miles away, thick enough to scare you into thinking it's just over the next hill.
Not a good day to go on a 20-mile ride, or to hike trails to start putting out ribbons for the Owyhee Canyonlands.
(This is home, 1/2 mile away)