Our little fire got bigger yesterday. It started the day around thirty acres, and finished at over 600. It’s a fascinating process to watch, as weather and topography and fuels come into alignment. As fires grow, they become more complex. Events cascade, with one thing leading to three things, and on and on. Mere humans cannot perceive the changes as they happen so rapidly and almost imperceptibly. But we stand back and watch flames bloom across the slope, hear the roar, look up at the slowly rotating smoke column. Ash and blackened fir needles drift down like snow.
Billie and I set up our tents at Pete Lake as darkness fell. We had patrolled the trail to make sure people were out of the way. Smoke billowed over Island Mountain and glowed orange most of the night. A mile away, orange constellations of burning stumps and logs mirrored the stars overhead. Loud thumps and bangs of old-growth trees falling disturbed our sleep. After breakfast I headed back up the trail to scout, make weather observations, talk to hikers.
No rain in the forecast, at least for several days.