March 6, 2012
Today's Photograph . . . . Walhalla Glades Indian Ruin Grand Canyon North Rim
Bible Study Verses
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. (NKJV)
They were a small group of campers enjoying a vacation away from home. They left their campground and their campfire unattended. Maybe they were going for more supplies or perhaps they were going to explore God's majesty. Regardless, when they returned, their campfire had sparked a 2000-acre wildfire just a few miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
I was in the area just after the fire's final containment. Logs and stumps still smoldered and smoke lay low early in the morning. Although my purpose was to scout the area, I was intrigued by the devastation. In addition to being a firefighter, I am also a fire investigator. Limited to urban fires where a large fire is tens-of-thousand square feet, a fire of thousands of acres peaked my interest.
I located the point of origin--a campfire that looked like any other, but the difference was that 50ft from the campfire was a small patch of burned grass, then another, and another; then a blackened oak thicket, and additional black pockets, until you could see where the fire climbed into the crowns of the towering ponderosa pines. By the time I reached the far end of the head of the fire some two miles away, where the forest service firefighters had bravely managed to stop the advancing inferno, it looked like a moonscape, black and desolate, void of color or life.
It surprised me that the fire started as just a pocket of grass on fire some 50 feet from the campfire. Then it grew into additional spot fires and ultimately a 2000-acre forest fire.
James describes our tongue (our words) as having the same effect as that wild fire. Sometimes spoken in haste, sometimes as gossip, or often just as thoughtless, careless banter. The words that start out small and appear innocent enough can explode into destruction--destruction of lives and of relationships. Once those words are spoken, it is impossible to reverse or control them.
Sportsmen's Tip of the DayThere was a clearing of absolutely no brush in a 40 foot radius of this campfire ring. Although attempts were made to establish a safe, smart campfire, there is no substitute for attentiveness. When leaving camp, make sure the fire is drowned out with plenty of water.