Pray for safety, folks. And snow. There are a lot of people in harm’s way right now, a lot of displaced individuals, and a lot of firefighters battling this blaze. Wind is something we’re used to out here. But we’ve had some abnormally high winds over the last 2 weeks and, combined with the abnormally dry conditions, the Black Hills area is basically a tinder box. Monday morning, a fire started in Custer State Park when likely a falling tree took out a power line. It originated in the Legion Lake area, but has moved south and east, getting into some rough terrain. The winds died down today, for a much-needed reprieve, but picked up again this evening with a vengeance. This afternoon, the report was that the fire has grown to 4000 acres, but within the last few hours the fire blew up and spread rapidly with the increased wind, jumped the Park boundaries, and is headed towards Hwy. 79. There is about 7% containment. Evacuations are in progress and being monitored for specified areas between Hermosa and Maverick Junction. Pray for safety for the firefighting personnel, those forced to evacuate, and favorable firefighting conditions. We took a couple of drives today to watch the fire, and this evening down towards LH Road we watched in stunned amazement as a hilltop erupted in flames, and another a few minutes later. It sure is something, seeing the reaching, grasping flames, the billowing swirls of smoke. The red glow in our sky, even from down in our hollow, is rather eerie, and knowing that evacuations are happening just a few miles away is a little unnerving. Even 15 miles is too close.
Fire is such a paradox. On the one hand, mankind never could survive without it. We need the many things it provides. It is a vital resource. And yet, on the other hand, when out of hand, it is one of the greatest threats to survival.