Smoke Jumpers

Blackfoot wasn’t much of a place: a little high-country town with a school and a railroad history and a radio station up in the hills where there was plenty of land for a signal tower. People came to trap and fish and hunt around the Snake and Portneuf rivers. Others passed through, heading to Wyoming or Montana. But that summer, the summer of the fires, my brother was home on leave, and that was something, at least.

The house we lived in then, and had moved into years earlier, after our father left, was a little ranch with chipping paint and a front porch of half-rotted boards. Crabgrass came up all around the foundation. A rusty fence circled a clothesline and a barren backyard looking out on the mountains. And while it was a place to live, it never felt like anything more, and I understood why Jer bolted after graduating and joined the air force. One afternoon we were smoking cigarettes in the living room when the phone rang.

People on couch
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