Not a drop in January.
No more brush pits in operation.
No more money to pick up brush in Pine.
The Four Forest Restoration Initiative inches along.
And as we anxiously study the cloudless skies, another fire season looms.
This bone-dry winter has stoked the fears of many Rim Country residents, looking with widening eyes toward yet another dry, dangerous fire season.
Last year, we watched in horror as 19 brave firefighters perished in the flames bearing down on the unprepared community of Yarnell — sitting in a sea of brush that hadn’t burned in 50 years.
Over the weekend, crews from the Hellsgate Fire Department rushed to put out a small fire caused by the careless disposal of three-day-old ashes from a wood stove. They managed to smother the fire before it could spread to an adjacent, weedy vacant lot.
Meanwhile, the state and federal grants that sustained the vital brush-thinning and disposal programs that have provided property owners with a way to clear the area around their houses have mostly dried up. The brush pits that provided free disposal for brush have shut down, with no prospect for re-opening.
The heroic efforts by citizens in Pine to keep their neighborhoods cleared have also lost support.
Normally, we’d be snow shoeing up on the Rim right now, counting on 2.5 inches of rain in January. Instead, we’ve had none at all — with very little chance for rain in the forecast.
Not a drop.