From my desk window, I watch the fire
where the far ridge drops into the next
watershed, Rio de los Santos Reyes,

to follow mushrooming thunder cells
billow white as backfires collide:
cedar, fir, pine and redwood up in smoke

late afternoons and imagine the heat
and trees exploding, smudged yellow
Nomex—men, and women too, on the fire line,

exhausted and bleary-eyed as the red tails
of air tankers sail back and forth over me.
Sixty thousand acres plus of back country

charred by a living, breathing monster
twenty-five percent contained. The wind
has changed and cleared our canyon

as thunder cells push eastward up the Kings.
From the ridge and from the air they watched
a lightning strike run in the rocks

for over a week, thought it would never
jump both the river and the road—
could have put it out anytime.


3 responses to “STEAMING

  1. Always prayers for those people.



  2. This is not an apology for the USFS, but why Smokey the Bear hesitated is because he/she did not like what they saw and tried to look at the fire from different perspectives. I think it was partially for safety reasons they did not put crews on a small fire at mid-slope with a 60% slope. I also think they underestimated their foe and treated it too long as a “resource” fire. Because it is so difficult to do prescribed fire they often take the opportunity to use a natural fire to remake the landscape into their idea of pre – European landscape. Smokey the Bear is confused and sad about what has happened with the Rough Fire, but he/she will not opologize insisting that drought and disease explain it all.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.