Leave no trace! When I was a young member of the Boy Scouts of America, that’s the first thing I learned as a part of the Tenderfoot class. Leave no trace. But what do we mean by that? It’s simple; when you set up camp in the wilderness, it is your solemn, human responsibility to make sure to do not negatively effect the wildlife and scenery of the area. When you leave, make sure that there is no physical proof there that you were there except for maybe a long extinguished fire pit.

Things have really been heating up over in Gatlinburg Tennessee. Just this last week, a fire that was caused by human carelessness has terrorized and ravaged through the Great Smokey Mountains found near the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

As of December 2, it has been confirmed that 13 have been found dead with at least 84 others injured with burns and or left without a place to go. The combination of the blustery winds over in that area and the heat of the fire has nearly desolated the area. An estimated 1000 structures have been destroyed including homes, businesses and other public and private buildings.

In the aftermath of the desolation, the scorched land was blessed with some rain. Locals however still were in fear. They dreaded the rain because the possibility of a lightning storm creating another wildfire was high, mostly due to the exceedingly high winds. There is also a history of flash floods in that part of the states, so that too has been on their minds.

Within the 1968 classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, when the Grandfather was taken into the tyrant king’s basement laboratory, a musical number was made. The group of men sang “Up from the ashes! Up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!”

We can learn from their message. Times like this. Trying times like this are a perfect time for us to start over and to rebuild. When everything is destroyed, where can you go? All you can do is to begin again.

This mess had taken place nearby Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Resort. The country singer said that she was heartbroken and was “praying for all the families affected”. Her resort was miraculously spared from the destruction and because she had been spared, Parton decided to start up a charity to aid all of those affected by these fires.

As I said, it is only during times of adversity when we can learn exactly what is important and during such times can one truly have the chance to have a “triumph of the human spirit”. So, there is some silver lining to this unfortunate situation.

Now, as an Eagle Scout of the BSA, I end the way I begin with a petition to all reading this: Leave no trace. Our earthly home is all beat up and tattered, but she is our only hope of life. We need to do our best to treat her well and she will only return the favor. And in the words of the immortal Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”smokey-the-bear-2

Courtesy of http://www.themetisgroup.com/smokeybear/

Featured imaae courtesy of www.foxnews.com

-Loren Riddle WR121-19



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