This time of year is fire season. The snow is barely melted and before anything can grow, the winds kick up and start dirt storms so bad that trucks on the I-40 carrying food and merchandise across the country, have to pull over to the side of the road and wait for the air to clear. Cars sway, trees bend, windows wobble, garbage cans get blown over, and worst of all, sparks fly.
Later on, in the summer, when there are thunderstorms, fires can be started by lightening. But, invariably, this time of year, there is some "human caused" reason for fire. I am not talking kids in a field playing with matches (although that does happen). I am talking about poor planning on the part of professionals. The Forest Service does "controlled burns" that are supposed to prevent wildfires. They burn piles of brush and dead wood, but they do it even when it is dry, hot, and windy! There is a fire southeast of town right now burning over 500 acres and it is the result of welding being done in the forest by the Fish and Game department. Seriously, hot, flying sparks with 20 -30 mph winds. This is the second time in the last couple of years that a major fire has been started by this exact behavior.
I parked my car in the driveway last night and today it is covered with dirt and ash. I was on my back porch for about 15 minutes and my sinuses were burning so badly that I had to take Advil and nose spray.
Over the years, since we have lived here, the trees, fields, and forests have burned and been thinned out. It seems to be a better situation for the eco-system and for the safety of the humans. But there is always more to burn and more careless people.
The photo at the top is from SOS Wildfire Support.