May 13, 2009

Firefighting and Local History

I was editing a journal article on the veranda when Fisher (the new dog) cocked his head at the sound of the answering machine picking up. It was a fire call, the first in weeks.

Just a mile down the road, a patch of deep, fluffy pine duff had caught fire near a home—I never learned how exactly—maybe no one wanted to cop to it—and scorched a couple of ponderosa pines and some Gambel oak.

After an experience last March, we are being more careful with mop-up: raking and spraying water back and forth down to mineral soil, me down on my knees barehanded feeling for hot spots. You think you have it out, but oh look, here is a little pine cone core glowing like a cigarette.

And then T. and I refilled the brush truck from the creek (with the floating pump) at the exact same spot where Fisher revealed on Monday that he has a water-freaking issue.

I am picking up local history on this job: I discovered a barn that I did not know existed, got some background on a coal-mining company that built it and the house it sits near, found an old irrigation ditch, learned where another dirt road goes—all not a mile away from where I have lived for 17 years.

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