Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Feeling the Heat

This afternoon, after confirming that it was an allowed burn day, Lisa and I tackled burning the medium-sized pile of brush and wood debris she's been accumulating. We first had to get out the hose and make sure the water pump on that part of the property was working, of course, because it's madness to start a fire without something with which to put it out. It was a nice sunny day and there hasn't been a lot of rain, so the pile caught quickly. I stood by with a metal rake and periodically poked at the fire to maintain a good draft. Ideally, you want it burning so hot that there is not much smoke. One of the neighbors here doesn't seem to understand this. He's been burning stuff all weekend, and all he's managed to produce is large clouds of smoke that won't disperse. Also, the burn rules say you're supposed to have the fire out by 4:30, presumably because in the evening the inversion comes in and traps smoke.

We didn't quite manage 4:30, but shortly after 5 PM the remains had reached the point where we decided we could call it a day. I spread the ashes out as finely as I could and Lisa set the sprinkler on them. We left the sprinkler running for an hour or so, then came out, stirred the ashes several times, and drowned them thoroughly. (I didn't spend a fair number of years living on US Forest Service bases for nothing.) What started the day as a pile of wood and brush is now a small pile of goopy black ashes.

When we went inside and I went to wash up, I discovered that I must have been getting too close to the fire, as the area above my glasses and below the rim of my hat is all red, like a sunburn. Darn annoying, that.

Unfortunately, the neighbor's burn continues, so the whole town is blanketed with his smoke. It's so bad that I started coughing just walking the 300 m across the property, and it makes going out for a walk after dinner a very unpleasant proposition.

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