Check out this pic from Greg, taken this week while Pisgah burned:
This was the Mills River fire, which ended up being contained pretty quickly -- though the fact that it was started by an untended camp fire is pretty disturbing. In a funny coincidence, we were on a lunch ride out that way just the day before, and noticed a new billboard from the USFS ... if you haven't seen Smokey in a while, check this out: http://www.smokeybear.com/
It's like they took a cue from the James Bond franchise -- I think Smokey and Daniel Craig have the same trainer!
It was eerie heading into the Hatchery last night, driving past the remnants of this week's other fire, the prescribed burn on Bearpen Mountain. The north side of US-276 from FS477 all the way to Coontree was burned, and it always amazes me how the Forest Service is able to control the fire lines so well. The edges all look so uniform; it's just a strange sight to behold. I'm looking forward to heading up to Bennett between now and the 15th, when it closes for the season, to see the results up close.
Ever since the Summit, I've been ruminating on a few things that I'll be writing about. The Forest Service approach to using fire is one example of an agency that has experienced change relatively recently, and I posit that we will see more -- and accelerated -- change from the USFS and others as we see a wave of retirements take place in the next few years. But more on that later.
In the meantime, it's weird living in a place where fire season is in the early spring. I was out on a ride the other day in my short sleeves and shorts -- no warmers -- and already have well-defined tan lines. Spring just hit last week, and with the nonwinter, it feels like we're already in June ... and I realized we have 7 months until November 1, which usually signals the end of the picture-perfect riding weather around here. There's going to be a lot of guys going down in flames in July this year ... I just hope I'm not one of them!
15 hours ago