Milk tankers were still rumbling down the road as smoke billowed nearby.  I was driving along some side roads not far from Rock Creek and stopped to photograph the scene.  On the other side of the road is a large dairy operation.  Stacks of hay are piled high near the barn.  Dry cornstalks, soon to be silage, line the shoulder.  The road could be a natural break. 

All of this is being done knowing the wind could shift and suddenly put them in danger.

This is how close Mother Nature’s worst is to the economics of the valley.  Losing the silage would be a huge hit when it comes to feed.  The same with the hay.  Both are highly combustible.  The cattle in the barn have a value possibly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Not far away, a helicopter would come swooping in and drink from an irrigation canal.  Then it would hover back to the ridgeline and drop the load.  Then repeat.  Planes were coming in like on an assembly line.  They would circle to Murtaugh Lake and then return with even larger loads of water.  There are fewer than 300 people working the Badger Fire. An agency website I read Sunday morning called it zero percent contained and, yet.

By Sunday morning no homes had been lost.  Buildings at one ski area had been saved.  A video posted by the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office shows Hot Shots clearing an area to provide a break.  All of this is being done knowing the wind could shift and suddenly put them in danger.  Deputies are in a support role.  This is part of life as a first responder.

Strange, though.  While driving back from the South Hills I passed a home in Kimberly.  It’s adorned with Black Lives Matter signs and flags.  A few miles away there is an epic struggle against fire.  Some days you realize for some the elevator doesn’t go to the top floor.

Picture by Bill Colley.