Where There’s Smoke

Today’s Ragtime Daily Prompt is Julienne. Julienned vegetables are often also described as being cut into matchsticks. And matches can start fires. Here in Colorado, we have 6 major forest fires burning at the moment, as you can see on this map.Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 8.12.58 AM

There’s also a fire just over the western border in Utah, and many others throughout the dry southwestern US. Its dry and hot up here where I live (northwest of Denver), we have had no rain this month, although May gave us some. Down in the southwestern part of the state where its been really hot and dry with minimal snow last winter, its a mess, and the forests are so dry that the unusual step of closing the San Juan National Forest to all users and visitors has been taken. See that cluster of fires in the lower left corner of the map–that’s the San Juan region. Its dry, and the smallest spark from an engine, a cigarette butt, or a lightning strike will set another fire off.

I really noticed the smoke this morning. There’s been haze in the sky for a few days, but with shifting winds and the development of the fires closer to me, now I smell the smoke, and it was visibly altering the view. Here are two pictures taken from the same overlook near me, one on a clear day, and the second, taken this morning with so much haze. And I’m fortunate, the nearest fire is about 50 miles away. Notice how the back range is barely visible!

snow in back
early autumn snowfall in the high country
June 14, 2018. The smoke is visibly obscuring the near view, and the back range is just a shadow.

Fires are common in this part of the world, and part of how a forest renews itself. That said, fire also can wreak massive destruction of homes, for people and all the forest creatures. In addition, following fires, the denuded land is much more prone to erosion and flooding from storms. The smoke also causes problems. There are the obvious visibility issues noted above, and then the impact of smoke on breathing. I noticed it a bit this morning and so was more conservative in my activity. For those with lung disease, it can have a massive impact, severely limiting activity and sometimes causing acute illness and respiratory failure.

Forest fires are a big deal. I don’t know the causes of the currently burning fires. Around here, its usually a mix of causes, some from lightning, others human caused, due to campfires, sparks, cigarettes and the occasional intentionally set fire. Most of the state now has a strict ban on outside fires of any sort. And as Smoky the Bear reminded us throughout my youth: Only YOU can prevent forest fires!

One of my European blogging friends was bemoaning heavy rains in her part of the world this week. We would be happy to have them here in the Southwestern US.

As I mentioned above, this is response to today’s Ragtime Daily Prompt. Come join in the fun by visiting the Ragtime community site and following.

22 thoughts on “Where There’s Smoke

  1. Wow, the smoke looks very close to where you are. We have had gorse, heather and forest fires here over the last few weeks and still people make campfires and don’t extinguish them despite the High Fire Risk warnings in place. Storm Hector has just brought some welcome rain and if I could wave a magic wand I’ll send you some too. Hope you all stay safe! xxx


    1. Glad you’ve got rain. It is amazing sometimes how careless people can be, or unwilling to change their plans despite conditions. I get it on one level, wanting to do what I want to do, and at the same time, paying attention to circumstances really serves us all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The smoke is just the immediate consequence of wildfires — then comes the rain, and the mud. I’m so sorry that Colorado is having bad fires this early in the season, and hope that you will have enough rain to douse the fires soon! Living in Southern California, I fear we will have a long, hot summer this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OH! I am sorry to hear this. I live in a part of Alaska that is very, very wet, but we have struggled with fires in the interior many times over the years. I remember driving the “Al-Can” highway at night and seeing smoldering black tree with bright embers still burning, or flames silhouetted against trees in the distance. The power of fire is so incredible and frightening. It is hard, dangerous and scary work to get them under control. I hope there will be an end to the fires in Colorado soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We live IN the woods and whenever it gets very dry, I start to worry about fire. Fortunately, pretty much no one goes into the woods so unless lightning strikes — which wouldn’t be that unusual since we’ve been hit four times in 18 years — no fires. But it wouldn’t take much and we are right in the middle.


    1. We do have a beautiful view, thanks. Some of the smaller fires are more contained. The big fire in the southern part of the state (the 416) is not anticipated to be fully contained until sometime in July!!!. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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