Sheepherder Fire Grows Twenty-Fold in Ten Hours

Update on the Sheepherder Hill Fire on Casper Mountain, Wyoming.

(Click on a photo to view slide show)

Extreme.  Erratic. Unpredictable.

That’s what they call the kind of fire behavior seen in these photos.

Definitely life threatening. Firefighters can’t be sent into this kind of scenario. The fire is literally making its own weather. Just look at those clouds of water vapor and ash. They must be a mile high. Mushrooming, boiling clouds that just keep coming.

The morning news estimated the fire at 500 acres, by 3:30 it is estimated at 10,000 acres. A twenty-fold increase in less than ten hours.

Awe. Astonishment. Fear. Heartbreak.

I feel all these emotions as I watch Casper Mountain burn. Wildland fires have a strange beauty all their own. The sheer overwhelming power demands respect. The understanding that many people are losing homes inspires compassion.

I know. I know. The vegetation will regenerate. The march of succession will begin on the heels of the fire, but this is my back yard, one of the places I go to feel the quiet of stately trees and enjoy the manifold textures and colors of nature.

And it’s going to be a long, long time until it’s forest again.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amazing photos. I can only imagine the mix of emotions a fire of that magnitude elicits. I suppose the only consolation is knowing that nature will regenerate, though it will still have a huge impact on people’s lives.

    1. wyominglife says:

      It’s funny, the range of emotions I experience when I see these fires. They are, as I said, strangely beautiful. One can’t help but have a sense of awe and fascination. For some reason I like to be reminded there are forces we cannot control, a little lesson in humility. At the same time, I feel a sense of loss. A sense of loss that, undoubtedly, is magnified a hundred-fold in those losing their homes.

      On a different note, with 9/11 here, I think about the people in places and times past who saw devastation happen by the hand of man. Talk about overwhelming emotions, at least in the case of wild fires there is no anger to contend with.

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