It is early morning in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the sun has yet to awaken the wind that has been blowing the sick smell of a nearby forest fire our way. We will see what happens as the day progresses.
The fire is southwest of town in the Sheridan Lake area and is a threat to many private structures in and around the national forest. The fire was discovered two days ago — possibly caused by human carelessness — and quickly flared to 300 acres. The Forest Service, local volunteer fire departments and firefighting crews from throughout the Great Plains were on it like chickens on a June bug and now have fire lines around much of the problem area. We wait to see what the wind will do.
There are many forest fires in the Black Hills, but we are particularly interested in this one because we have a cabin not far from it.
We went out there yesterday to pack up a few personal items, primarily photographs and a handmade chair much admired by a friend of ours.
We tied the chair to the top of the car to save it for him if worse comes to worst.
The cabin is the centerpiece for our family. We stay there whenever we can; just recently, we sat on the porch and watched fireflies flickering among the pines. And the daughters and their families and all our dogs are using it more and more. It would be a terrible loss if flames take it away.
We are optimistic, though, trusting the firefighters to defeat the blaze, and trusting our insurance company to stand up if Nature has its way.
We have friends just down the road from our cabin who operate a gem of a bed & breakfast deep in the forest. They, too, are moving out some personal items. If the fire were to sweep their property, they would lose not only their business but their home.
It could be so much worse. Firefighting crews are at work throughout the Great Plains from New Mexico on north. Joanne Brand of Colorado, a contributor to this website, is scrambling to help her children and their children who are in the path of horrendous Colorado fires. Just this morning, we hear that 30,000 people have been evacuated in the Colorado Springs area, and that parts of the U.S. Air Force Academy there are threatened. Good luck to all.