Wildfires have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My grandpa was a private wild land firefighter, both my parents fought fire before I was born and many of my cousins have worked on crews as well.
“Ahhh…the smell of money!” Was what my grandpa Frank said every time the smell of smoke would drift in. We would be prepared for any approaching fire. We knew what we would take, property was regularly back burned, trees thinned, limbed up and cut down around building. Talking about fire behavior was regular dinner time conversation.
But all the preparation, the planning, the talk; was never tested. Fires were fought away from property and people became comfortable, grew lax in their back burns, didn’t limb up quite as high as they once had. Trees were left standing closer to buildings; shade is nice you know, especially in the hot summers.