A couple of weeks ago I looked out our living room window at smoke billowing up from trees, a couple of miles away, at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Colorado. Two miles suddenly seemed pretty close, especially since we were having exceptionally high winds. Scary! The next day, I ended up making a toolbar that you can download… more about that in a bit.
The fire started late in the morning and in the same moment that I first saw it I heard the sirens of our local firefighters rushing to the site. I’ll cut to the chase and say that miraculously the fire was essentially out by evening. Two main factors helped the hard work of our dedicated local fire crew. First, those heavy winds were blowing westward, down off the mountains, which is rare, but there was a big storm on the other side of the mountains. Second, some hotshot firefighting crews from Arizona and California were available as they had just wrapped up fighting another Colorado fire. So by evening, there were 85 people on the fire line.
It happened that I had just read about a website where you can create toolbars at no cost to you, that other people can download for free. From other fires in other years, I had some favorite sites where I have kept track of various fires, both ones in our general vicinity and ones from further away that were filling our valley with smoke. So I had the idea to create a toolbar that you can use to find out about forest fires, what to take if you should need to evacuate, and more.
Now of course I could just link to the sites I’ve found but the toolbar has a couple of nifty features. For one thing, when we are stressed we don’t think as clearly as we might normally, so the toolbar is handy and right there — compared to trying to find some bookmarks. It works in IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, and is guaranteed: No Spyware, No Adware, No Malware.
The other useful feature is that if I come up with some new information — which I imagine I will– I can update the toolbar and the next time you log into your browser, you will have the update.
Here’s what it looks like, only it’s wider:
Clicking on the image takes you to the download page.