257,135 acres burned, nearly 2 months later the Rim Fire is 95% contained but still alive. Resources are now focused on how to manage the recovery of the area. The local mill seems to be a benefactor with harvestable trees being delivered, truck after truck. Justifiably so, as SPI did not hesitate to send their bulldozer crew out to cut breaks to protect Tuolumne City.
Life is returning to somewhat normal around the county. The incident crew camp recently disbanded in Tuolumne City. Traffic signs reminding local drivers of caution due to fire equipment have been removed. The Thank You signs still remain hung around town. The local schools are teaming with many visitors from the crews of the local firefighting agencies for visits with the students.
Some of the students seize the chance to thank the firefighters personally, while others eagerly climbed into the cabs of the trucks to seize the opportunity to honk the horn in the big red trucks. The fire crews were just as eager to spend time with the students, with some of them making a nostalgic trip into the Principal's Office, as a number of them grew up in the area.
Mother nature has already started to play her recovery hand in the burn zone. Ferns have sprouted in some of the burned out areas. Many people are looking foward to spring - it will be a wild flower bonanza. The nights are most definitely cooler, the sun a bit later in breaking over the horizon.
This is the time of the year I play a game with mother nature: which weekend is going to be the best weekend to take a drive and absorb the spectacle of fall colors. I may already be late for some areas on the east side of the Sierras, if a couple of photos of Aspen trees I saw last week from the top of Sonora Pass are any indicator. Two years ago I was late, last year I was a tad early.
Maybe this year I'll get it just right.