As my daughter drove me back up the mountain from the hospital yesterday I noticed something in the sky that is not a welcome sight for mountain dwellers; an air tanker dropping fire retardant and a helicopter with a water bucket. Turns out we have a forest fire blazing within two miles of the house. Although several mountain homes were evacuated late yesterday afternoon the winds are coming from the west, southwest and the fire is basically to the east, northeast of me. Although it has calmed in the last hour or so the winds were a steady 20 mph with gusts of 30 mph. That may not be a blessing since it might be more likely that embers could drift back toward the west. If you've never been near a forest fire suffice it to say that you will not save your home by standing on the roof with a garden hose and if it's within a couple of miles and the wind is blowing in your direction you may have enough time to swing open pasture gates to let the livestock fend for themselves, climb in your vehicle and get the hell out. Over the years I've been evacuated several times but the warning was always early enough to at least throw stuff on the trailers, in the motor home and in the trucks and head in the opposite direction. The worst was during the Hayman fire, it got within six miles, had burned 130,000 acres and was headed straight for us. Had several friends who lost absolutely everything. You don't stop a fire like that... even with a 10 mm. Unfortunately we had no winter around here this year, we're around 70 inches behind average snowfall and it's as dry as a case of popcorn flatulence. Last month there were 64 fires and the fire season doesn't even start until May 1st. This could be a real long summer... or a real short one, depending on how the wind blows. Now I gotta decide what to take with me if I have to evacuate, the guns, 1050's, powder and primers... or the grandkids? I'm really gettin' too old for this... or maybe it's just the excitement I need. Either way, life goes on... there'll always be someone I can piss off. Jack Wanna kill these ads? We can help!