‘Red Flag Warning’

For the last month, Forest Service crews have been cutting fire line and otherwise preparing to set a prescribed burn quite near my home. The first burn in what was supposed to be a series of them to reduce the wildfire risk and improve elk winter habitat was set four years ago. I was there and wrote about it.

Since 2000, there has been a problem every spring: too wet, too dry, too windy–especially in 2002, which was the big forest-fire year in Colorado. This year started wet–February, in particular, brought plenty of snow hereabouts, but March has been scarily warm, windy, and dry. M. and I are taking three days off for cross-country skiing up in Lake County, if the snow has not turned to slush.

In theory, I think prescribed burns are good, necessary, overdue. When the fire is within sight of my home, however, it is still plenty scary, even with a fire truck pre-positioned in the driveway! Tonight’s television news said that we are already under a “red-flag warning” for wildfires, so I do not think that the FS will be setting any deliberately, not this weekend.