First Wildfire

by Duncan Fuchise We left early Sunday morning, an unanticipated packout. I hadn't even showered or done laundry from the week before and here we were headed into another week. We packed, drove, and landed at the "Barclay Hilton" near Lebanon, MO. We were there on standby in case of wildfire, and there we sat, for four or five hours. Waiting...Waiting. Deciding the day was up we headed out to our project site for the week. On the way out of town we got a call, there was actually a wildfire. We drove out near Edwards, MO, and in about an hour’s time we got to the site: it was 8pm, pitch black outside except for the line of fire creeping its way across this Ozark landscape. I got put on torch and the next four hours I spent behind my crew or behind a dozer back burning from their line. After we protected the last house the IC okayed us to leave, and I got to ride alone in the bed of one of our pickups. Traveling through the dark all I could make out was the lines of fire that we lit traveling over the hills, smoldering snags slowly burning, and the stars through the leafless trees. I don't think I’ve seen stars that good since I've came to Missouri.