Fire season has set in. Red flag warnings are in effect in most western states and already I’ve had more days on fire in June and July than I did all last season. My Nomex pants are covered in bar oil stains, their pockets permanently filled with pine needles and twigs. I’ve slept in the dirt in rodeo arenas, on a ridgetop overlooking the Salmon River and in high-alpine meadows. I haven’t felt my big toes since early June, and don’t expect to until October. I heard, saw and ran away from a rattlesnake for the first time, though I accept that it probably won’t be the last. Earlier this week, I ate my first MRE, and then my second, and eventually my 10th. And I’ll admit — after a 16-hour day, they’re not bad. I’d recommend the meatballs in marinara.
My crew is heading to the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana tomorrow to assist with some initial attack fires in the region. Hoping to do a bit more of an update down the road when I have a bit more time. In the meantime, here are some photos from the last two months.