time to celebrate - 100% contained...

Backburns can be our friends...
or our enemy, 
but yesterday it was our best buddy...

A backburn is when you set a control line around the main fire (by scraping off the topsoil with a large dirt moving machine, like a  road grader) and then you ignite it from different set points to burn back into the fire, reducing the original fire's fuel load. This has to be done with the upmost caution, as you must depend on wind consistency, the type of fire (hotter and faster means wider control lines!) and the ability to keep up with the fire itself. When we timber cruise, we carry a lighter just for this purpose in case we are caught in a wildfire on the ground; people have been saved by burning an area of grass and stepping into the black. 
the black is good.

Driving into the black that night of July 3 saved us.

Here you can see the line in front - although this creeping fire may get hot, if there is no or a even low wind,
it shouldnt blow hot sparks across the line into the unburned portion...its a risk. a big one.

But this is what stopped the Dutch Fire in Powder River county yesterday.

This fire was all over the place, including the Custer National Forest, and private land.
Unfortunately it burned over 19,000 acres (thousands) of grazing land and timber within 36 hours.  

However, since we have little to no fuel on the ground due to the Taylor Creek fire on our place
(we lost 95 percent of our trees on approx. 153 acres)
we were in no immediate danger from losing anything.  

We already lost it.  

But this one came awfully close.

The best news is that no one lost any buildings or homes this time.

this time.


Here if you look closely you can see the flame where the trees are "topping out" in the crowns.

This sidehill portion is crowning.
this is what happened the night of July 3rd on many ridges in our woods.

we are lucky to be alive. 

Heres where I must admit I was shaking while i took these close up crown fire photos,
even though i knew this time I was safe. 

The Forest Service and BLM really were on top of things.

but it will still take some time.

Baby is also still affected ; he was crying out over and over until i went and talked to him in his paddock, and gave him some things to do to take his mind off 
of the smoke and pink haze in the glowing sky the night before.

it will take some time.

it will take time.


  1. i am glad that fire is out. but still hope your coal seam will be extinguished, too.

  2. Hope you get some rain and relief soon. It's been a long summer, firefighters here in California have been busy this year too. Can't wait for this hot weather to be over.

  3. This is too much for anyone .
    Praying for some kind of relief for all of you.
    The photos are amazing. Just amazing.

  4. Thank God this one is contained! Amazing photos!

  5. Glad that they could stop the fire...looking terrible.
    Hope you will be ok now. Hugs from Sweden

  6. Always good to hear the words "100% contained". Yes, it will take time for all of you to heal from the emotional & physical wounds the fire left, but healing will come.

  7. I'm so glad they got this fire contained! Give your horse an extra hug from me, poor Baby...

  8. Well Feral you were not kidding when you told me you had dramatic photos. They are indeed spectacular. I am so glad I talked to you today before I seen these photos or I would have been worried about you. It was truly nice to here you laugh.
    It will take time but you are doing fine my friend. HUGS B

  9. You sure got some incredible photos. When is this fire sh*! going to stop and give you a break from worry? I'm so sorry you still have this stuff going on.

  10. What a scary control method. It sounds like it works a lot like the controlled burns we do in the Pine Barrens out here.

  11. Glad to hear it is finally contained.

  12. Those are terrifying, spectacular, incredible and fearsome photos. I'd be shaking in my boots. These photos should do along with Mozart's Deis Irae (Day of Wrath, a powerful piece of music)
    Hope Baby is going to be ok!

  13. Terrifying photos . . . I am happy you say the fire is out . . . I just want it to be OUT, GONE, DONE, OVER, PERIOD!

    Be safe my dear feral . . .

  14. So glad you are out of danger. Your photos are fantastic, and show the power of fire.

  15. These are amazing photos. There is something strange and beautiful about fire. It has amazing power over us, but makes new seeds grow in the burnt ground.
    I'm glad the fire is under control... now watch for something to come through the ashes and bring life back to your place.
    Take a deep breath... smile.

  16. So glad it is contained! What a scary season it has been

  17. So glad to read everything is OK our heart skipped a beat when we saw the 1st pic. Have a terrific Thursday and we are still wishing you snow.
    Best wishes Molly

  18. Oh my gosh....gooosebumps all over...there are just no words....
    Thinking of you and sooo glad you are safe.

    Cindy Bee

  19. thank goodness. I have been fretting over you and yours...I am so glad you guys are OK....and everyone else too.

  20. Glad that this latest terror is at an end.

  21. Thanking God once again for your safety. Glad fire is out but sad coal seam burns on. Continue to be safe.


  22. Truly chilling. Horrifyingly beautiful photos. The last one, with the flowers in the forefront and the smoke and barren mountains in the back really is a grabber.

  23. Yeesh. Gorgeous photos though. Like that's any consolation. Sigh.

  24. Yes, it will take time and even when you think you are over it, the feelings will come back. Yes dear one, it will take time.

  25. Here's a funny(ish) story. So I'm looking at your gorgeous pictures and I start smelling the slightest hint of smoke. I sniffed the air again and didn't smell it so thought your pictures were just so vivid that I'd imagined it. Then I walked outside about 20 minutes later and one of the neighbors is burning a brush pile :-D. Your pictures ARE scarily that vivid. You do a nice job.

  26. Fire 101: The Things You Wish You Didn't Have to Know.
    Incredible pictures.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  27. With fires, I always think of the wildlife. People forget that so many animals die a horrible death in fires.

  28. SO glad you were safe this time... and yes, it does take us time to get over trauma... be kind to yourself!

  29. Poor Baby! He didn't forget. Glad you weren't affected this time. I love the pic in your header. It shows how close you came to losing your house and how luck you were. It's a stark reality to what could have been.

  30. How amazing and horrifying all at once. The power and destruction of fire is pretty terrifying and you managed to get some amazing photos. So glad it's out and no one was killed.

  31. I hope this is the last one for a long time. Scary and magnificent photos at the same time. Samson's sending licks to Dexter dog and I'm sending hugs from us here in the canyon.


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