Monday, September 20, 2010

Fire Singes Snowbird Headquarters - Camp Williams, Herriman Blaze

[For the second time in a row the excellent post explaining the Great Basin is preempted by late breaking issues. It'll be back and get its full allotment of headline time – I promise]

Even though Snowbird Headquarters escaped the actual flames, it's a bit difficult to breath around here lately. And I'm just not talking about the "normal" brown gunk that passes for mountain valley air during inversions.

All The Kings Horses and All the Kings Men …

It'll take a lot more than the "Kings Men" to make right the Pandora's Box they unleashed with their machine gun practice. The inferno began when the army was playing with their machine guns in the bone dry hills – go figure.

So far, they claim that their maneuvers were "meeting the protocol"; but, it'll be interesting to see how THAT one shakes out, 'cause I'll tell you there's a whole lot of pissed people around here who aren't about to let this one ride. I mean, it's pretty hard to exhibit the "righteous inner peace" everyone seems to expect of the valley's residents, when it's you who is sleeping on a cot in a high-school gym!

Truly, "accidents happen" but at least us Navy guys have the sense enough to have plenty of water around when we play with guns. We're told that the "oops, that can't be good" moment came almost immediately after pulling the trigger; but, quickly overwhelmed the resources they took to fight it.

Probably a lot will be made about all the wind which multiplied and spread the flames. I hope no one is naive enough to offer that as an excuse cause – this is the point of the mountain! Perhaps the ONLY ONE place in the entire state of Utah where wind turbine power generation is profitable! There are even turbines out at the base! Wind should have long, long ago made it in to "protocol's" and "city ordinances!"

Absolutely anyone with their eyes open and their brain engaged around here can tell you in a second that none of us can grow gardens in this place because of the gales which whip back and forth through our back yards on their way through the narrow gap between the mountains depending upon which direction the JET-STREAM is currently favoring!

More Than A News Story

TV hosts think they're so funny all the time by "wishing there was 'smell-a-vision.'" Actually, I can't think of any reason to have it. I can tell you first hand that it's much easier on the psyche to be able to "compartmentalize" news into "somebody elses problem" when it's not coming in your nose!

As it unfolded, way over a thousand homes were evacuated and people had to go live in the high school – still well within the cloud of smoke from the fire. No one could even tell how big the thing was because of all the smoke – which more than greatly out-weighed the advantage of your neighbor not being able to see that you didn't mow your lawn Saturday.

No one else in the city could even get a dial tone because of all the people at the High School trying to find somewhere else to be, so they didn't have to sleep on a cot. Deer, which we had expelled to the hillside by all our construction, fled from one danger to another by escaping back down into the roads.

And, even though developers wish it weren't so, this is still a rural area with annoying, "pesky people" who still want to keep their animals on the back lot. None of them were at all happy either – a little secret, animals fear fire, probably more than humans do. Ever got up at night to stoke the campfire to keep the bears away?

People fleeing themselves couldn't find their pets who were off hiding under the porch somewhere. Those who were lucky enough to be found, put up a ruckus with their feet planted, their ears back and their tails down to – where you could tell they really, really weren't happy at all.

Many people found that horses refuse to be loaded into a confined space when they fear danger – no matter even if it's just a horse-trailer ride to safety. We saw people walking and leading their animals down the street to the city's rodeo grounds where they could be stabled for awhile. I haven't figured out yet how they knew they could do that, unless it's happened another time before we moved here.

You Can't Hide From Your Neighbors

One of the major problems for politicians who are unfortunate enough to live in the same place where a disaster is happening, is that your neighbors know where you live!

Even though most of us couldn't see beyond our driveway, people clear across the valley could tell that "those people over by the railroad tracks" were up to something, again. And, being the consummate 'looky-loo's' that we are around here, the area was immediately blocked in by traffic jams of nosey-bodies who were bored with their Oprah and CSIs!

Then the police had to add "spectator control" to their growing list of duties. A friend up the interstate as far as Wyoming called me to find out what was sending all the "stink" their way.

In addition to all the "presiding" that Herriman's new mayor was doing; someone went and rousted the State Governor out of bed! He, of course, had to pay us his first visit in, well, I can't remember any others. Sort of like your mother-in-law arriving when the kids have chicken pox. Even though they will, hopefully, eventually turn out to be more of a help than a hindrance – it still takes some swallowing hard and getting used to.

And perhaps the inevitable press conferences actually have some usefulness (beyond the campaign I mean); but, the afterglow of the "epinephrine storm," rampaging through veins which have all these years chosen to avoid stimulants, makes all the palaver seem suspiciously like sheer nonsense.

Today, every school in the area was closed, most likely for the best at the high school with all the cots all over the place; but, I can think of at least a few people who would have welcomed their children having something productive to do today.

And perhaps by tonight the cots at the high school will be put away because people have gone away; except I know at least five who are NOT going back to the same address!


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