Sunday, September 16, 2012

Smoke Alarm

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)


  1. Another scare. Glad you are OK and the fire is far away.

  2. Not nice! That brings back memories from a few years ago where we had three fires in varying directions within an hour or so's travel from my town.. agreed - smoke is not nice!

  3. Fires and smoke like that scare the **** out of me. We had the Oakland Firestorm about 20 years ago, and there are still places that have not recovered. Scary business! Stay safe, Honey.

  4. Fire is such a scary thing to deal with. It doesn't matter how far away it is if the smoke is choking you.

    I remember many years ago when Mt.St.Helens erupted we were treated to some ash and we're on the east coast. So the atmosphere does travel. Glad you're not in any danger.

  5. but it keeps the bugs down ;)

    (half full. glass always half full!!)

  6. Amazing how far the smoke travels. We've been socked in most days--visibility down to a mile or less, hiking out of the hills after dark I can see the ash like fine snow in my headlamp beam.

  7. We spent all day in Boise today and the smoke is worse there! It's incredibly toxic!