It's that time of the year gain. The time when we wake up in the morning to the air filled with the pungent smell of fire season and a sky so smoke filled we cannot even see Bennett Mountain from town.
For me this means also waking up every morning with itchy watery eyes, coughing uncontrollably with a dry itchy throat and the inevitable reaching for my inhaler multiple times a day.
As much as I hate this feeling and dread having to try to limit my extremely active child's time outside I hate the thought of the devastation that is being cause at the source of the smoke even more.
All of us are all too familiar with the yearly scenes that unfold on our television screens of ridge lines and timber engulfed in flames while our firefighters bravely try to hold the fire line.
We feel bad for people who lose property or pets in the fires and wonder why nothing could have been done to stop them from being destroyed.
Yet we get upset and offended when regulations are enacted that try to limit the number of fires we have to deal with.
This past week agencies around the state began implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions to go along with the burn bans in effect in many of the counties including Elmore.
These restrictions are not put into place to take from our civil liberties as Americans. They are put in place to help preserve the American West, because let's face it, we don't always think about the consequences our actions could have on our surroundings. No one really ever thinks that the cigarette butt they toss out the window is going to start a fire that eventually burns off all of a rancher's winter grazing grounds or a subdivision along the desert on the outskirts of a town. We don't think it is ever going to be our vehicle driving out through a dry cheat grass filled field that will create a spark on a rock and spread a fire throughout our high desert areas. But the truth is, other then fires enacted by mother nature, someone always is that person.
As humans we make mistakes and don't make sure our fire rings are dug deep enough and we don't always watch where we flick our cigarettes when smoking outside. This is why fire restrictions are enacted to help keep us from making what seems like small mistakes, but often blow up into fires that burn thousand of acres of land and cost millions of dollars to contain not to mention the loss of grazing ground and livestock.
Does it suck that for the rest of the summer people will only be able to use metal or concrete fire rings in designated locations-yes. It sucks that the government is even able to say where and when we can smoke a cigarette when we are outdoors on public lands. However these things are not done to infringe on our rights they are in place to protect our home. As Idahoans we are strong independent people who don't feel we should be bossed around. But also as Idahoans we are lovers of the land, we are outdoors people who choose to live here because of what our state offers us. It might be a bummer to miss out on a night sitting beside a fire while out camping, but watching the land we all love and call home go up in flames, like we have had to do so many times in the past, is even worse.
Our state is experiencing extremely dry conditions this year. Please be careful in your outdoor activities and please follow all the rules and regulations that authorities have set in an attempt to keep as many fires at bay as possible. Until the weather cools off and the ground begins to get a little moisture we might have to deal with letting them boss us around a bit. Sometimes they do know what is for the best.