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Last night on Ruby-Horsethief. Went to bed around 1030 to a lightning show, woke up at midnight to smoke and ash in the air and a crazy orange glow on the wall and sky above Black Rock camps. We assumed it was a lightning strike and sat up timidly watching it approach the ridge behind camp. Railroad came through in service vehicles and told campers to evacuate, but shortly after the rangers motored down and told everyone to stay put. Turns out the group at Dog Island decided the fire ban didn't pertain to them and that it was appropriate to set off fireworks. They lit up the island like the 4th of July and the flames jumped the river and climbed up the ridge on the south bank..... I would imagine some kind of legal consequences will be forth coming...
 

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whoa. thats some unexpected craziness.

Could have started a big ole forest fire without too much trouble. good reminder to be smart with your fire.....whatever form it takes
 

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I don't. It was about a mile upstream from us. In retrospect I wish I would have snapped a few, but it wasn't priority at the time.
 

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I was at Mee Corner Sat Aug 15 with a large group, and smelled the smoke from the fierce winds that night, wondering who on earth had a campfire at first. Then I hiked downstream on the trail with concern for my large group and saw the fire. Thoughts of leaving crossed my mind, having seen the Mee Mouth fire remains several years ago. Seeing the fire run up the ridge to the opposite direction of our camp, we stayed put but lost a lot of sleep no doubt.


I did not take pics passing the site Monday after 2 days at Mee Corner. It was devastated. Old 70 year old cottonwoods to all the new ones now no longer providing shade. I spoke to the BLM rangers, seeing the fire fighters still on the fire line, and helicopters dropping water on such a nice site that Dog Island has become still at 10am Monday after the Saturday fire. With the new permit system, 2 individuals have been cited for launching fireworks with further citations/penalties to be determined


The fireworks they ignited started a fire that burned the entire island and destroyed an estimated 100 trees - at least 30 acres.


THINK out there please people.

 

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That sucks and it leaves our community with another black-eye. It seems some heavy legal recourse should be in order. I know poachers can have their equipment confiscated which seems like a potentially fair outcome in this case. As well, hunters who commit certain crimes can be banned from obtaining permits and licenses for a period of time; maybe the USFS, BLM and NPS should implement such universal measures when a user commits such gross negligence. Another person in jail does no good and there is only so far a cash award will go to recuperating cost of fire fighting, etc. Punitive measures that make it clear this sort of selfish activity will not be tolerated seems like the least that should happen to discourage activities that harm the land and recreation.

Phillip
 

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Midnight Escape

We were camping at Split Rock campground, just downstream from Dog Island that night. It was hot and windy, and I had fallen asleep after several hours of trying to get my six year old daughter and two year old nephew to sleep. My wife woke me up around 23:00 to tell me that there was a wildfire she wanted me to look at. Despite the wind direction being in our favor, we were concerned with our distance to the fire (about 1/2 mile) and started to rouse the group from sleep. After watching the fire for a while and discussing our options, we decided that if the wind shifted toward us our camp site would be in peril quickly and that it was time to pack up and be ready to put on the water in the dark.

As we packed up the final pieces of our camp, the wind did shift towards us, and the conditions at our camp site degraded quickly as the fire turned our way. We put on the water around midnight with heavy smoke and ash.

This was my daughter and nephew's first overnight on the river, and one of the first trips at the oars for one member of our party. It was awful watching the fire get into the crowns of those beautiful old cottonwoods, listening to my daughter cry as we floated down the river choking on the smoke, and hearing an inexperienced friend at the oars recount their encounter with a mid-river rock that almost flipped them in the dark of the night.

Everybody makes mistakes, but the disregard to the weather conditions and fire ban by the parties responsible for this fire has me agreeing that the penalties should be severe.

All that said...it was quite the adventure!:)
 

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We were camping at Split Rock campground, just downstream from Dog Island that night. It was hot and windy, and I had fallen asleep after several hours of trying to get my six year old daughter and two year old nephew to sleep. My wife woke me up around 23:00 to tell me that there was a wildfire she wanted me to look at. Despite the wind direction being in our favor, we were concerned with our distance to the fire (about 1/2 mile) and started to rouse the group from sleep. After watching the fire for a while and discussing our options, we decided that if the wind shifted toward us our camp site would be in peril quickly and that it was time to pack up and be ready to put on the water in the dark.

As we packed up the final pieces of our camp, the wind did shift towards us, and the conditions at our camp site degraded quickly as the fire turned our way. We put on the water around midnight with heavy smoke and ash.

This was my daughter and nephew's first overnight on the river, and one of the first trips at the oars for one member of our party. It was awful watching the fire get into the crowns of those beautiful old cottonwoods, listening to my daughter cry as we floated down the river choking on the smoke, and hearing an inexperienced friend at the oars recount their encounter with a mid-river rock that almost flipped them in the dark of the night.

Everybody makes mistakes, but the disregard to the weather conditions and fire ban by the parties responsible for this fire has me agreeing that the penalties should be severe.

All that said...it was quite the adventure!:)
So glad to hear you were able to get out successfully and avoid injury. Makes a heck of a story for the rest of your life!
 

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Sounds like a crazy experience.

I agree penalties should be harsh. I often wonder about how serious we are about things in our society. For example drunk driving. If we really wanted to put a stop to it we would have a harsh penalty. I know people who have multiple DWI's and yet they still drive and survived and now still don't think much about it.

If you stop and think about the issue I think most would agree a harsh penalty would help actually stop it. It is like we know it is bad and we want people to stop and think but the penalty speaks otherwise. Drunk drivers kill innocent people. That is unacceptable and no beer or drink out on a night on the town is worth that. If you get caught you should loose your license for the rest of your life end of story. Make it something so harsh people might actually think about it before doing it.

Same with this story. They should loose the ability to ever gain a permit on any river at any time. This is not an accident. A camp stove did not get tipped over starting a fire in an accident. This was clearly a disregard for the law and that should not stand. Make the consequence so severe people actually think that it is not worth the risk.
 

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These situations are tough. I do not know the situation surrounding this fire, but when I hear fireworks I think of adolescent boys who may have not learned the proper respect for fire until now. For some reason it's one of those things that many people do not fully comprehend until they make a mistake (like getting burned as a child, you really don't get it until it happens to you).

When I was a teenager I had friends accidentally start fires, I have friends who's teenage children have accidentally started fires and I know Dewy Bridge burned down as a result of a child setting it on fire.

Prosecution really needs to be based on the situation and if these are young individuals who made a dumb mistake I don't think they should have to suffer the full wrath of the law for the rest of their lives. Even good kids make these kind of mistakes. They should have to suffer through the public embarrassment and some form of restitution such as community service and probation though. Now if they are over just some idiots without the excuse of youth and no respect for the world around them persecute away.
 

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I was in that party with cchines at Split Rock. They aren't great, but I snapped a few cellphone pics of the fire. We left when the wind shifted and the cottonwoods at the front of Dog Island in this picture went up.

 

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ImageUploadedByMountain Buzz1440042203.841372.jpg
Those are the cottonwoods 2 days prior to burning. As you can see, there were a bunch of trees. This is so sad because shade is such a commodity down there.


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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It sounds like the BLM was on the river that night and likely knows who they are. Their identities will be found by the managing agencies, and there's no need for any vigilante action. On BLM land, it's a Federal offense and I doubt the judge will look kindly of setting off fireworks during a fire ban. If anyone wants to come forward to the agencies about who it was, you can contact the BLM by personal message here.

Right now the idiots are innocent until proven guilty. Anonymous internet heresay shouldn't be the basis for someone's idea of handing out justice.

-AH
 

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It sounds like the BLM was on the river that night and likely knows who they are. Their identities will be found by the managing agencies, and there's no need for any vigilante action. On BLM land, it's a Federal offense and I doubt the judge will look kindly of setting off fireworks during a fire ban. If anyone wants to come forward to the agencies about who it was, you can contact the BLM by personal message here.

Right now the idiots are innocent until proven guilty. Anonymous internet heresay shouldn't be the basis for someone's idea of handing out justice.

-AH
Sound observations and advice, Andy.
 

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Right now the idiots are innocent until proven guilty. Anonymous internet heresay shouldn't be the basis for someone's idea of handing out justice.

-AH
But my pitch fork was already in hand!

Cosmonaught, the photo of the fire is quite impressive. I think it was very wise of your group to pack up shop(albeit in the middle of the night with small kids).

I get that the identities of the instigators should probably stay private for now, but has anyone confirmed that their party made it out safely?
 
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