|FT trail blaze|
|Forest after a prescribed burn|
Exactly at that point the trail took a 90 degree turn away from the fire and I could see a big forest road with a truck on it about half a mile away. And so I decided to hike on - away from the fire, still feeling uncomfortable, but not in danger. I had not even hiked a quarter mile when the helicopter spotted me. The pilot sounded a siren and I was shouted at with a megaphone from out of the helicopter. This is when I started to feel very uncomfortable.... I could not understand what they very shouting at me but the whole situation was pretty scary: Here I was illegally in the middle of a huge forest with a fire not even a mile away and a helicopter hovering above me. Maybe I was in danger? I started running along the trail and for sure there was another little fire coming up just next to the trail. It was just a patch of fire and still some yards away from the trail but I got very scared at that point - and almost immediately exited onto the forest road, where a fire truck was already waiting for me. I was rather shaken! I had never been in any real danger, but I realised how stupid I had been. The rangers just asked me about other hikers and told me that there was no fire on the other side of the forest road - and so I just hiked on and tried to recover fromt the shock.
I learnt a lot from that experience and will never ever ignore any signs warning against prescribed burns. Unfortunately, I have become too cautious now: Whenever I hear some helicopter overhead, I think there is a forest fire - and there are a lot of helicopters here.