I live in one of the most geologically stable areas of the world, the Colorado Plateau. We rarely have tornadoes, floods, major earthquakes, pestilence, or plague. Ok, we do have the plague but it is usually segregated into the prairie dog community and few humans contract it. Scatterings of dormant and extinct volcanoes litter the land. Fossils from ancient seas can be found on highway shoulders. The Grand Canyon.

We lead a relatively quiet existence here. Except for the occasional tornado (the last one was over 5 years ago and ripped through Sunset Crater National Monument leaving a really cool trail) or heavy snow runoff, we haven’t much to complain about in this area.

The sun shines over 300 days a year so that even our often heavy snowfalls don’t last long. The weather, for living at 7000 feet, is amazing. It’s not the Arizona that so many think of or picture. It’s perfect.

It is perfect – except when lightening strikes in the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world. Or, when some careless person forgets the rules of campfires and leaves one smoldering.

We’ve been in the national news lately. The smoke descended down to the highway this morning as I drove to work. It fluctuates between brown/black when burning through runoff beds and white when it stalls in the water-saturated aspen groves. The winds have been gusting to 50 mph. It is heading towards our town’s water supply (high in the mountains). It could, potentially, head towards several communities that seem far from the fire but are in this one’s path.

It has been a year since the Los Alamos fire and it is weighing heavily in our minds.

I don’t write this to complain. Fires are a way of life in the mountains. We know the risks.

I write this to ask that you be safe out there with campfires. One careless mistake could cost lives.

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