Thursday, June 24, 2010


This morning at the fire briefing in Portal, the new map for the Horseshoe Fire hadn't changed from the last one: the small amount of burning yesterday was in the interior of the fire.

Today a major topic at the fire briefing was the weather. Meteorologist Joe Harris boosted his estimate of our chance for rain to 60%, and indeed today the thunderheads have built and are rumbling. While we are all hoping for rain, the firefighters find our pre-monsoon weather to be dangerous too. Dry lightning is the norm, and everyone is very alert today both to new ignitions and for their own safety.

Have you ever been close to a lightning strike, when the air sizzles for an instant and the smell of ozone is suddenly strong? Several of us were birding in the Animas Valley a few years ago when that happened. Three of us immediately hit the ground. I'm not sure what had happened to the survival instincts of the other two, but that day they got lucky.

Thunderheads build over Portal Peak
(Photo by Narca)

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