I was watching an old Bugs Bunny cartoon late last night. It was near midnight and even Bugs couldn't keep my eyes from drooping; I needed sleep. Shutting off the TV, the only light on in my bedroom in the Wind River Canyon, I started to crawl into bed. For some reason I turned around and walked to the north windows; it was just a strange feeling; my Grandmother used to get them, too. Flinging open the curtain I saw a horrible sight....a forest fire on the eastern rim of the canyon! It's the side we live on!!
As they say, my heart went into my throat; I started to panic. Waking my wife Deb, we streaked (ran) out of our home to watch the forest fire. This isn't my first forest fire, I was here in 2000 when hundreds of thousands of acres burned. That fire was stopped by the railroad line going through the Wind River Canyon, and strangely enough, no wind. This forest fire was a gunshot from our beloved cabin!
It was another cool night in the canyon, and that was a good thing. We sat and watched the fire burn juniper and cedar trees, throwing flames and sparks seventy feet into the night! As we sat and ate our stress like a midnight snack, we made plans as to what was going to be thrown into the old truck. Times like these are when difficult decisions need to be made; do I have to leave the "dirty magazine" collection? It is fun to laugh about it all now.
Around three in the morning it became obvious that we may have been spared the worst of all home owner's fears. This forest fire was "laying down" way faster than we could have hoped....could it stay this way? Could I even get any sleep?
Early this morning, while shooting video of baby hummingbirds, I realized I could have shot video of the forest fire at night! It never even occurred to me...."the sum of all fears." "Maybe next time" seemed like a stupid thing to even think, let alone say out loud.
This morning a helicopter started dropping water from the Wind River onto the smoldering pines. I put this video together tonight, because, this is the first time anyone has ever seen a chopper dropping river water on a forest fire in the Wind River Canyon. I pray we'll never have another chance like this again. Here is the minute and a half video of today's events in the Wind River Canyon....right here in Wyoming. While living in the Wind River Canyon, I've experienced hail as large a lady's fist, floods, landslides, forest fires, mudslides, boulders splashing into the Wind River at one in the morning, an earthquake, screaming blizzards, and the only road closed for four days! It is a dynamic place to live, that's for sure! And I wouldn't have it any other way; we just love this magical Wind River Canyon....well, except for the snakes!
Wind River Canyon Blog, photography and videography by Michael John Balog; all rights are reserved. Visit www.HogbatsPhotography.com for more videos from the Wind River Canyon, and many photographs of hummingbirds and wildlife from the canyon and Wyoming.
Thank you for reading my real-life stories from the Wind River Canyon.