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What's next?

Every morning starts out just about the same or at least "the same" as "same" can be under these circumstances.

The fire fighters are both in the lodge in various states of awakens or out by the fire pit warming their hands and their hearts.

The fire pit doesn't sport the view it used to...just flickers flames like a beacon from a shoreline lighthouse piercing the fog.

Wake up to my alarm at 5:30 and by 5:33 I remember...

nothing will ever be the I'd best be thinking more about the silver lining...

I can actually see smoke in my bedroom when I get up. I can smell the smoke when I leave the bathroom. It must be somewhat impervious to the smoke because of it's proximity...who knows.

After 30 minutes of coughing and eyes watering, I get about my morning routine "the same" as I always do mentally planning the meal plan for 22 folks.

The aerial photos are courtesy of Mike Grommet who relentlessly took watch over the ranch! Flying over us many times during the worst of conditions, he always managed to get some aerial shots of the fire. In the thick fog-like conditions on the ground, our district managers really appreciated the first hand feedback from a plane. They could now make educated decisions based on real time data.

Thanks Mike!

These pictures were taken before the timber west of the runway ignited and nuked the forest.

The timber pocket bottom left of the lower aerial picture lined along Sulphur Creek burnt 2 days ago...all that old growth timber of mighty stature is gone! Makes my stomach hurt!

The entire north slope burnt. It burnt hot just to the west. Spotting from north caused meadow fires.

At the same time, we backburned the timber pockets to the east as the fire was coming at us.

There is a good possibility that the west burning fire will move into a timber patch close to Sulphur Creek and make a jump over the creek to the south. If that happens or the wind pattern changes, it will ignite a ferocious fire that will race up the southern hillside through thick forested terrain. The abundance of available fuel will promote the upward excursion of flames which will burn high and hot. This will make us extremely vulnerable from embers spotting out of the inferno and starting new fires in our meadows, barn, and timber patch.

Burnt Aspen leaves.

Southern hillside will be about 60% mortality if the fire doesn't jump the creek.

It's not over yet...

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