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The Truth Hurts

Sunday September 29, 2021

I haven't written a blog in over a week. Why?... because the truth hurts!

What I have to say is not what I should say...but it's the truth, and only the truth so help me God!

Last Friday and Saturday, 10 SCR fire fighters walked down to Morgan Ranch in the morning to cover for the fire fighters that were at Morgan Ranch (hang in there because this is the story). The fire fighters at Morgan Ranch were then hiking to Boundary Creek to help with handline mitigation on the Boundary Fire when the Boundary Fire was threatening the complex.

The shift of fire fighters continued on Saturday. The fire was about 525 acres on Saturday.

I spend the day trying to keep busy enough so I was waylaid from my observation stance on the front lawn (wringing my hands together while I watched something I had no control over yet it had complete control over me). Little did I know what was coming on Sunday.

I knew something had happened Saturday the 28th by the look on the faces of our fire fighters Saturday night when they arrived back from the Morgan Ranch for a late dinner.

You know... when someone has just put down their dog? That was what these brave young men and women looked like.

My assessment was formulated through my tutorials with Kyle before he left and my first hand experience with fire behavior while managing Sulphur Creek for the past 12 seasons. I mistakenly thought that when the fire chunked down the southern ridge and hit the fuel in the valley, or the toe of the hill where the fire first began, that the USFS Fire would jump on it with air defense and hand crews. The reasoning, in my mind, was that once that fire got into the dry fuel on the flats, it would be directly aligned with the west blowing wind and take off like a freight train destroying all in it's wake. Well folks, it did just that!

My false hope started when I was outside on Saturday, I heard the someone on the fire radio indicate that they were very concerned about what they were seeing on the front line. Similar to what my thoughts were and they asked for air defense to avoid a impending disaster...then nothing. No helicopters, no more hand crews, no more effort because there are so many fires burning! Heath has communicated with me that he cannot get the hand crews necessary to support an air defense.

The fire blew up and you could see the plume from Montana.

Taken by our guests, the Hitchcock's , on their way from McCall to Twin Sunday afternoon 9-29.

Taken by Preston Zeigler from Hailey.

The Boundary Fire ran over our beloved friends and neighbors, Allen and Mary Dee Dodge, owners of Morgan Ranch. The 10 members of the fire crew stationed at Morgan Ranch managed to stove off the fire as it was running at them like a freight train. They back burned the Dodge's back yard.

Allen Dodge texted me: "this is hell"! Have you ever had a forest fire burn over you, I haven't yet! Helpless to help!

Our half of the fire crew could only listen to what their counterparts were transmitting over the radio and felt helpless stranded here on the other side of the raging fire.

It was a dismal day...I didn't want to know what happened at Morgan Ranch because I love that place as I love this ranch and knew we were next.

Monday and Tuesday we were on high alert from both our Northern and Southern hillsides.

The wind stayed steady blowing east from the west so the fire grew but didn't come at us as we were expecting from the forecast for swirling winds.

Pictured above was the second run of the Boundary Fire yesterday. It ran 6 miles and is now heading east after devastating Little Soldier and Lincoln Lake areas. It's heading towards Seafoam with no stopping this sea of destruction.

We're smoked out until mid afternoon. No one can fly.

Mid afternoon when the smoke blows out, our fires are still burning on the ridges to the north and to the south, The southern exposure is dense with timber. The fire is slowly working it's way down the slope. And we watch

The northern portion, behind Cabin 10, was burning fairly close to our SCR trail last night.

As I understand, the fire has now made a run to the north of us up the ridge towards Morehead Lookout. Once it's burnt all of the fuel to the top, it could start rolling back down the hill and consume the available fuel sources on it's way. We are on the receiving end of the rolling out activity.

If I am painting a dismal picture, that's what it is. The fire is now more than 12,000 acres and growing exponentially with each passing hour.

The truth hurts...

My opinions are strictly my own and based off of my own first hand experience with both the Honeymoon Fire, the Prospect Fire and the hours of learning about fires from all of the many folks that have come into Sulphur Creek Ranch over the last 11 years.

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