This really didn't fit in the wedding post so you get it standalone.
Coming as I do from a country where bushfire is an annual thing you'd imagine, correctly, that I'm very well aware of the hazards. We are taught fire safety and hazards from an early age. Of course it doesn't always work; you have to believe your house is going to burn down if you let dead leaves pile up against it; if you don't then no amount of public education is going to prevent the shock of an insurance company refusing a claim due to policy holder negligence!
It's quite the surprise to me to see the signs on the I-17 heading north into pine tree country that request we use our ash-tray for the butt of a cigarette rather than throwing it out the window. I'd no more imagine I could throw a lighted ciggy out the window than I'd imagine I could drop it onto Bettsy Ross's original 13 star US flag.
There's a fire burning in Oak Creek Canyon[^] as I write; has been for a week or more and it's very much in the news here in Arizona.
Driving Friday last along Highway 180 toward the lodge I couldn't help but notice that all the roads leading up the mountain were closed.
On the Saturday morning I took a very bored and impatient Andrew for a walk through a very small canyon right next to the Museum of Northern Arizona[^]. A very nice walk and if you're ever in the vicinity I highly recommend it. I've been there three times and I think it's going to become a 'must do' walk whenever I'm in Flagstaff. Got a couple of photos of him there as proof that it IS possible to drag him away from the TV!
As we drove back to the lodge he observed that I hadn't lit a ciggy. A golden opportunity! 'Of course not!' I said. 'Why not?' he asked puzzled. He's long since given up on trying to stop me smoking. (his right to even try that is the subject of another discussion we may never have). 'It's a fire hazard' I said. That puzzled him. Thus a lecture on idiots who casually throw away cigarette butts with no assurance that they're colder than the grave!
We had to pass one of those roadblocks on the way up to the lodge where the wedding was going to take place. Pretty easy. Drive on the wrong (right :-) ) side of the road past the trestles and encounter, a couple of hundred metres up the road, a forest ranger. Utter the magic phrase (in our case from my wife 'I'm the mother of the bride') and we were allowed to proceed after recieving a piece of paper outlining the rules. One of which was; NO smoking on the road, neither in the car nor out of it. That's my wording and that was certainly the gist. We were explicitly asked if either of us was a smoker.
I'm glad they get it. The countryside up there is way too beautiful to let the thoughtless destroy it by fire. I note that the Brins fire (the one linked to earlier) is attributed to a bunch of idiots leaving a campfire. Find the bastards and nail em to a wall!