In the rural US, we have a "fire season" every summer and fall. Some are minor, but in recent years, fighting wildlands fires has become very big business. Much of the loss in standing timber can be blamed on poor management of state and federal forests, where thinning the trees and removing the "fuel" buildup under the trees has been fought by environmentalists. This year, the fires are burning all kinds of lands, not just timber. The drought, brought on by the lack of mountain snowpack during the winter and scant rainfall during the summer, has turned the West into a powder keg, susceptible to fire. The photo I've chosen for Kent Weakley's P52 this week is not very good quality, but it represents a frightening chapter in the existence of our rural area: an out-of-control wildfire.
The fire began Saturday, cause yet unknown, and was 35 acres when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. This morning (Monday), the fire had burned 1200 acres of timber and grass, and it increased by another 200 acres today. Now there are 228 firefighters, 2 helicopters, and 13 "engines" (bulldozers, etc.).
In the evenings, the heavy smoke turns the sun blood-red, making it an evil eye in the sky.