Baxter Burn

So this week I aided our Deputy Fire Chief in the burn of a few slash piles at Baxter Peak, in South Fork, Colorado. I always enjoy going out on small or large fire assignments, and this was no different! We did the usual–call people within proximity to notify them of prescribed burn and anybody that may be adversely affected by the smoke in the area. All relevant fire departments and law enforcement agencies were notified in case they were to receive civilian calls about the fire. Paul, our Deputy Fire Chief, has to organize these burns based solely on weather. It snowed a day or two before and he jumped on the opportunity to potentially finish off these slash piles. We headed out to the mountain and found there to be just enough snow on the ground to go ahead and proceed with the burn. We made the beautiful hike to the piles. I really enjoyed the walk in and found myself trying to soak in this Colorado mountain habitat before I changed scenery.

When we arrived, we noticed that although there was some snow, we had to be selective about which piles to ignite because they had started drying out pretty quickly. We began lighting piles, and one by one they began to disappear. When we sat down for lunch I gazed off at the forested mountains and once again became a sponge hoping not to forget this image….but just in case,  I took some pictures :). By the end of the day we managed to burn 11 more piles (we went out prior and burned 36), and it was a successful day. During our time up there, Paul and I talked a lot about whether or not we would be able to burn since the snow had begun to melt and we may not have the comfortable security blanket that we had hoped for. He jokingly mentioned the two “little guys” on his shoulders, the voice of reason and the voice of risk.  Paul and I chose not to give into the impulsive and impatient little guy, instead taking advice from the smart and patient alter ego, and therefore have a safe and successful day.  So the point of the story is to make smart decisions, not impulsive ones, and to appreciate the things you have because you will likely not have them forever.

Alexander Mullins
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