The lookouts who are still up call in their morning weather. Their temperatures are in the 30s and most of them have 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground. I imagine them curled up by their woodstoves, looking out their windows at a white world.
Down here it all falls as rain. Lots of rain, almost an inch in two days, more in some places. We put the pilots on a two hour callback; there's no need to have them sit here. We aren't going anywhere, not in a steady downpour with clouds clinging to the hills.
This is it, the season ender, and it didn't creep up on us like it sometimes does, like the autumn colors slowly climb the hillsides until all of a sudden you realize it's fall. This happened dramatically, all at once. One day we were fighting fire, and the next we weren't.
There's still fire out there. A 70,000 acre fire still grumbles around south of here; it'll smolder until we get snow. It's supposed to warm up back to the 80s by the end of the week. There might be a hunter fire or two in the next few weeks. But fire season here is over, and everyone knows it.
It's only September though, and if the mountains here are getting ready for winter there are other places that will still burn. We pack our bags with warm clothes and fly cleanup missions. We get the prescribed burn equipment ready. We wait for the next call, to a place that is warmer and to fires that are just getting started. It's not over yet.
|Image from nps.gov. It doesn't quite look like this yet, but a few more weeks and it will.|