The Buffalo Creek Fire had been burning for a week, or so, when Bill and I decided to go check it out. No, we didn't drive over to the fire area and get in the way of the emergency vehicles and personnel. We watched it from our mountain bikes.
At that time, mountain bikes were welcome on the trail going up Devil's Head, and we often rode it. On this particular occasion, we took the fork in the trail which takes you to the western side of the mountain, rather than going to the ranger's cabin.
There, on the back side of the mountain, we were looking toward the fire area, only a few miles distant. As we settled in on a rock outcropping, we saw a plane approaching.
"I think that's a slurry-bomber," Bill said, pointing.
As if to confirm this, the pilot released a load of orange fire-retardent, and banked toward us. He flew by, not much higher than our perch on the side of the mountain. We waved, but I'm pretty sure he couldn't see us.
We sat and watched the slurry bombers until it was too dark for them to fly. From where we sat, after the sun was down, the fire had a lurid otherworldly appearance.
"I bet that's what Hell looks like," I said to Bill.
"I hope I never find out," Bill answered, as we both picked up our bikes to leave.