Since last weekend, we have been watching a plume of smoke from a wildfire ascending up into the sky from behind the mountains we see right out our back yard. The smoke cloud has gotten bigger the last couple of days and today a part of the wildfire "broke off" from the main blaze and started heading south towards a little town about thirty minutes drive south of us. So now we see a big smoke column that blankets most of the sky above us, and a smaller plume separated from that.
The last couple of days we've noticed little bits of ash falling down outside. It's not enough to even give the illusion that it's snowing, it's just something you notice every minute or two. The ash is just teeny, sometimes just the size of the period at the end of this sentence. You notice it more on asphalt parking lots - like a bunch of fireworks had gone off recently. I dusted off my shoulders yesterday before going to bed and the ash kind of smeared in streaks on my t-shirt.
My neighbor, who lived downwind of the Mt. St. Helen's blast back in the early 80's, scoffs at others who complain about the ash we're seeing. "This isn't ash" she growls.
There are several fires around our state. This particular fire is low on the priority list. The small town that's south of us was evacuated two days ago - the fire got within two miles. It's the kind of small town that's on a backcountry highway - you blink, you miss it. There's a score of firefighters trying to protect the town and one helicopter that drops the special slurry on it when it can.
I'm sure more populated areas get more attention, but I can't help think about the folks that live in that little town. They probably care just as much about their homes as folks in more urban counties.
The fire isn't threatening our home yet. We keep watching the mountain wondering if the fire will crest the ridges and start coming down nearby canyons. The weather is getting hotter and windier this weekend although there may be a trace of rain coming. We'll see how it goes.
School starts Tuesday. I'm hoping there will be clear skies by then.