I had planned on posting this earlier, but my blog host had a system problem. Not too much to report tonight except that the hot spots in the canyons on the eastern slope south of Red Grade road seem to have either been put out, or have burned themselves out. Now all the work is on top, outside of my view. I’m looking at Google Earth tonight and seeing if there is a vantage point I can reach off of highway 14 on top to see what things look like.
The photo was taken from my yard after my run up past the town of Big Horn tonight. I call it Walking on Fire because of the silhouette formed by the break in the clouds.
[Edit: I’ve changed the name of the image to Firewalker.]
This shot was from my yard about 7 PM and it is of the sun, not the moon. I used spot metering rather than matrix. Matrix metering looks at the overall image in the viewfinder and then “averages” the exposure for the entire image. In this case the area surrounding the sun was just a featureless gray.
On to the Little Goose Fire. This morning the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) website reports the fire is now at 4827 acres 45% contained (up from 4807 acres and 40% yesterday). Progress might seem slow to those of us with no fire fighting experience, but we have to remember they are working with limited resources and manpower due to the other fires in the west.
Speaking of the west, the fire in Yellowstone has jumped the eastern park boundary and evacuations of some of the lodges and campgrounds are underway according to the Sheridan Media website (more on the Little Goose fire there as well). I just talked with my cousin who owns the Elephant Head Lodge, 10 miles from the east entrance to Yellowstone, and the Forest Service says at the moment they appear to be OK, but as we all know, that can change quickly. This fire may still be burning when the first snows fall. For those of you who haven’t been over there in some time, the Bark Beetles have been working overtime east of the Park, and if the fire gets into those areas where 50 to 70% – or more – of the trees are dead…. well, I can’t even imagine.
The eastern slope had cleared quite a bit by about 8:00 pm. This is a shot of the still smoldering area south of Red Grade road. It reminds me somewhat of the Scottish Moors although it’s not mist, it’s smoke. The good news is that the next few days are supposed to be calm with temperatures in the high 80’s and low 90’s here in Sheridan, which should equate to even milder temperatures on top of the Big Horns, and make it somewhat easier on the firefighters.
With all the smoke in the air from the Little Goose Canyon fire, the sunset on Monday evening was spectacular, and seemed as if it was going to last forever. These were snapped with my point-and-shoot digital. I would have loved to have had my large format film camera with me, but then again, where I would actually like to set up in on private property, and I need to get permission before doing so.
A few days ago, I believe, there was at least two fires started by lightning in the Big Horn Mountains – my back yard so to speak. As I understand it, the Forest Service was watching them, but allowing them to burn since they were burning slowly and not threatening any dwellings. Mid morning, Sunday, the wind picked up and the fires began to spread quickly. The wind has subsided, but the fires are now large enough, and burning hot enough to create their own wind.
It’s been decades since there was a fire of any consequence on the eastern slope of the Big Horns so there is a lot of fuel. Add to that the rugged, steep terrain, and it’s very difficult to fight. There are a lot of homes in the foothills, and I don’t suppose we will know for a while how many of them were destroyed.
One of the areas involved was the Little Goose Canyon, which I had blogged about earlier in the year, and it’s one of my favorite spots to just hang with nature. The thing is though, fire is a natural part of things and renews the forests and grasslands.