Whether we call them "wildfires" or the outdated term "forest fires," the annual summer time "burn season" has arrived out West.
Here in western Montana we have smoke in the air and a nasty wildfire up in the mountains about 20 miles from me. Authorities have been letting it burn for the past week because it was small and nearly inaccessible, way up high in the Bitterroot Mountains, due west of the town of Stevensville, and physically, between the Bass Creek and Kootenai Creek drainages.
Yesterday afternoon the wind picked up and again last night, so that the fire has quadrupled in size and is moving in more than one direction. We will have to wait to see if authorities decide that it is time to work some suppression methods on the lower portion of the fire, nearest to the mouth of the Kootenai drainage. The hiking trails have been closed for over a week.
Overall, Fire Danger in our area is currently listed at "Very High," which is just one step below the highest rating of "Extreme."
Right now, the wind has settled down and we even received just a sprinkling of rain, which is what is needed most.
We have all learned to keep our eyes open during the summer months and exercise extreme care with campfires. It has become a way of life for those of us who have chosen to live here.
Here is a link to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which maintains a complete list and status of wildfires.