Smoky Mornings

When you live at the edge of a national forest you get used to a lot of things.  Iffy cell service, internet conundrums, having to drive forever to get to a real grocery store and everything closing at 8pm.  If you run out of gas, milk or chocolate after that well, you are just completely out of luck.  There’s also the natural things like thunderstorms that fell trees in your back yard and flash flooding and such.  And then there is the biggie threat: a forest fire.

Now when I say I live on the edge of a forest I’m not being facetious.  This is the view out my kitchen window:

That little wall there? That’s the forest boundary line.  This morning, long before the alarm was set to go off, I heard my two boys coughing and hacking in their bedrooms.  I rolled over and Gracie pup was sitting on my pillow staring at me waiting for me to fix this. Whatever “this” was.  I grabbed my robe, opened my bedroom door and was faced with a wall of smoke.  Of course, the first thought was the house was on fire from last night’s baking.  But, it was as cold as a snow day in the house… having had no coffee, I was more than confused.  I made my way to the kitchen and glanced out the back door to see this:

No, that’s not sun or dirty windows. That’s smoke.  I wish I could’ve taken a better picture because this smoke was everywhere, seeping in every little crack of the house.  Having no idea where it was or how long it had been going, I promptly got the boys up and dressed.  About the time they were grumpily coming down the hall a knock on the door sounded.  A forest service guy (ugliest green uniforms, by the way) was there to inform us that they were doing a prescribed burn in the area.  Turns out someone slept late (or something…) and didn’t put the notices on residents’ doors like they were supposed to.  So now they were driving around assuring everyone this was planned.

Everything safe and sound, we headed to school.  Since today is my day off, I intended to just come back home and work on my NaNo novel.  But on the drive back I spotted this:

which, of course, got the attention of my adventurous side right away.  Dressed in my yoga pants and a Sons of Anarchy tshirt (I did at least have on hiking shoes because, well, that’s all I hardly ever wear) I decided to go find this prescribed burn.  Please note: don’t follow my example.  Technically, the public isn’t allowed in the area for safety reasons because of fear of you burning yourself alive and your family suing the socks off them (or something like that).

But, yeah. I’m a rebel.

Seriously, I wouldn’t recommend chasing down forest fires. It was hard to breathe, you couldn’t predict which way the wind was going to go and I smell like a fireplace now. But it was interesting to watch and when the forest service caught up with me, they were quite kind and “escorted” me to an area so I could take some photos.   I owe them coffee at a local café now.  Which I dutifully dropped by and paid in advance before running home to try and get cleaned up.

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