Smoky Morning After

Smoky Morning After, originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.

Wildfires are burning up the land here in the Rocky Mountain West. The places we love, so dry from eight years of drought, are like tinders and kindling laid carefully -- ready for a match. Lightning, an engine spark, an ember flying up from a holiday barbecue, a carelessly tossed cigarette butt ... these are enough to set off a 100,000 acre blaze. Our August and September breezes can pick up and breathe power into even the tiniest smoldering coals. Then as the forest and prairies burn ... the air swirls with acrid layers of smoke. The smoke settles down into valleys and coulees: blankets of yellow-gold haze. Dawn, the sun glows a red ball hanging sluggish in the thick sky. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to be outdoors with your eyes open.

The morning news blared that the Derby Creek Fire, burning 180,000+ acres east of us near Big Timber, was the top priority wildfire in the nation. I am staying inside today ...


paris parfait said...

I used to live in Santa Fe and know how awful those wildfires can be. Hope they stay away from your area!

RavenGrrl said...

Ah, Tara, thanks for the well wishes. Whether we have fires in our area ... that depends on how I define "our area." ;-)

Whenlocal schoolkids aren't allowed to play outside, soccer practice is called off and football games are cancelled, then I think the wildfires are most definitely in our area, although we can't see the flames or feel the heat. The smoke is so thick here.

Tammy said...

I live on a canyon and we hold our breath every August and September. Stay in and stay vigilant :)

Like what you said at Tara's on voting.

Douglas said...

I came across your blogs while following NewWest.net photo archive for Sept 2006.
I appreciate your words about nature, love the photos you post, and thank you for sharing so much of your self with us. I live in Missoula.

Jean said...

4.9.06 Smoky Morning After

Quelle belle lumière !
Toute l'intimité féminine !

maureen said...

Douglas, I am sorry I didn't notice your comment before today. I don't do a very good job of keeping track of people's comments on my blog. Thank you for writing and introducing youself. I am glad to share my viewpoint with others -- and it's always great to connect with another Montanan! :-)

Jean, you are having fun looking at my photos - I can tell. Thankyou for your kind compliment today about the light and feeling of this image. I agree with you 100%