I’ve had a horror and fear of forest and wild land fires since I witnessed one destroy much of a favorite mountain range in central Arizona when I was a kid. I’m a big supporter of Smoky Bear and now have the odd fortune to live not too far from Capitan, NM where this little bear was rescued from a fire many years ago and became a special icon for the US Forest Service.In fact a dear friend and her late hubby did a beautiful stained glass commemorative picture which is displayed in the Forest Service office in Capitan. If you are ever through the area, it is a must see!
Anyway, as worsening drought has gripped much of the western US in the last decade or two, horrible fire stories have become almost a sad and shocking fact of life. Whole towns have been destroyed to say nothing of so much beautiful wilderness land and habitat, precious scenic places and ranch and farm lands. The folks who go out and fight these fires are my heroes! A few seasons back a crew of experienced crack fire fighters from Prescott, AZ, almost my home area, lost their lives in one of these fires. I knew I had to write a tribute to some of them and hope to do some more similar tales as well. Anyway, that’s how Red Tails in the Sunset came to be.
I saw one of the Neptune firefighting planes fly over my house one morning and the title just flashed into my m ind. Alamogordo has a small airport where one contingent of these planes is based and where one of the main firms employing them does training and practice in the off season. Most of you are too young to remember the song popular a very long time ago called “Red Sails in the Sunset” but my parents liked it and so I know it; in Red Tails, the beloved person is in the air and not out on the sea as the song says, but the planes are all marked with red tails and wing tips, so it just felt right. Excerpt, buy-link and beautiful cover coming next!