Last year we were on high alert, constantly, for fires. It seemed we were surrounded by fire all summer but we lucked out and though we breathed in a lot smoke we never got burned. This year we’d kind of let our guard down. It’s plenty dry again this year, it’s just that there haven’t been the fires like there were last year.
So when a neighbor called and said “there’s a fire on the mountain, looks like just north of your cow camp and looks like it’s going to get big fast” there was a moment of shock. And then people started flying. Dad and Jim flew up the mountain, Casey flew over to the farm to get the water truck, Mom, Joe, the kids and I threw every shovel we could find in the back of Mom’s pickup and tried to catch Dad and Jim, Chad hooked up the horse trailer so we could start hauling horses out of there and Jamie, Kim and Jason were on stand by waiting for word on what kind of equipment to send next and to where.
The fire turned out to be farther from our cabin than we thought. Thank goodness. It was on the border of the Medicine Bow National Forrest and our Soldier Creek pasture, which is where we had just moved the cows to.
By the time we got there it was way beyond anything we could slow down. The county fire department as well as the Forrest Service and BLM were also arriving. There was already a helicopter dropping water on it when we got there and they would add a slurry bomber soon after.
So we basically stood around for awhile taking pictures and discussing whether or not to bring the horses home. Dad and Jim’s votes were – lets not overreact, it will probably go the other direction unless the winds change, they will be fine. Casey, Anne and I voted for – why risk it, lets just bring them home so we don’t have to worry. Max voted for – bring home everyone’s horse but Pa’s and Jim’s since they wanted to by risky they could risk their own horses. Mom abstained – she’s very politically savvy. And Joe just walked away from the whole debate, he’s been around this bunch long enough to know when to hold em and when to fold em. It got heated…..get it….heated….fire….never mind.
They named it the Sensebaugh Fire because they think it started in the Sensebaugh Canyon. No word yet on what started it. We’re guessing lightening a day or two before that smoldered and then the winds whipped it up. Last report was that it had burned between 200 and 300 acres but seems to be contained. It hasn’t moved into our pasture and the horses – who stayed in the mountain – are fine, as are the cattle.
I can not confirm nor deny reports that Dad may or may not have passed a Sheriff at some point during the whole fire emergency episode. Nor can I confirm nor deny reports that he may or may not have just kept driving when said Sheriff turned on his lights. The Sheriff may have or may not have just given up when Dad just kept driving. I do know that a man will do crazy things when he thinks his mountain is burning down. I can confirm, however, that you do not want to be in the back seat of Mom’s pickup when she thinks her cabin and her favorite horse, Knobby, might be in danger. You will get car sick, very car sick.