Smoking Snowshoes

 The other day someone called the fire department because there was smoke coming from the woods out by 7 Mile on the Haines Highway. When the fire department got there they looked at the deep snow between them and the fire, which was about a quarter mile up the slope on the side of Mt. Ripinsky, and strapped on snowshoes. They stomped in, and found a a big old tree partly burning. So they took off their snowshoes and used them to scoop snow  on the flames and hot spots, putting out the blaze before it became a forest fire. Fireman Al told me that it looked like someone else on snowshoes had started the fire by accident. Al guessed by the trail of lone tracks that he or she had been walking that way, stopped underneath the tree, smoked a cigarette, and then dropped the butt in the needles and exposed duff near the roots and hiked away. "How many places in the world do you walk up to a wildfire on snowshoes and then put out that fire with them?" Al said, and answered his question "not many, that's for sure."  On the next Safety Report he may want to warn smokers respecting the new ban on cigarettes indoors in Haines not to go so far for a noonday smoke. Or at least if they must snowshoe and smoke, to be sure to extinguish the butt in the snow rather than near tree roots. 

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