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The men traversed the fire line from end to end a half-dozen times. Bob became acquainted individually and minutely with each of the danger spots. The new temporary features of country took on, from the effects of vigilance and toil, the dignity of age and establishment. Anxiously he widened the path here, kicked back glowing brands there, tried to assure himself that in no possible manner could the seed of a new conflagration find germination. After a long time he heard three shots from up the mountain. This, he remarked, was a signal agreed upon. He shouldered his blackened implements and commenced a laborious ascent.
Suddenly he discovered that he was very tired, and that his legs were weak and w cheap nike air max obbly. Stubs and sticks protruded everywhere; stones rolled from under his feet. Once on a steep shale, he fell and rolled ten feet out of sheer weariness. In addition he was again very thirsty, and his canteen empty. A chill gray of dawn was abroad; the smell of stale burning hung in the air.
By the time he had staggered into camp the daylight had come. He glanced about him wearily. Acr cheap nike air max trainers oss a tiny ravine the horses dozed, tied each to a short picket rope. Bob was already enough of a mountaineer to notice that the feed was very scant. The camp itself had been made under a dozen big yellow pines. A bright little fire flickered. About it stood utensils from which the men were rather dispiritedly helping themselves. Bob saw that the long pine needles had been scraped together to make soft beds, over which the blankets had b nike air max classic een spread. Amy herself, her cheeks red, her eyes bright, was passing around tin cups of strong coffee, and tin plates of food. Her horse, saddled and bridled, stood nearby.
“Take a l nike air max 95 ittle of this,” she urged Bob, “and then turn in.”
Bob muttered his thanks. After swallowing the coffee, however, he felt his energies reviving somewhat.
“How did you leave things at the lower end?” Morton was asking him.
“All out but two or three smouldering old stubs,” replied Bob. “Everything’s safe.”
“Nothing’s safe,” contradicted Morton. “By rights we ought to watch every minute. But we got to get some rest nike air max 90 sale in a long fight. It’s the cool of the morning and the fire burns low. Turn in and get all the sleep you can. May need you later.”
“I’m all in,” acknowledged Bob, throwing back his blanket; “I’m willing to say so.”
“No more fire in mine,” agreed young Elliott.
The other men said nothing, but fell to their beds. Only Charley Morton rose a little stiffly to his feet.
“Aren’t you going to turn in too, Charley?” asked the girl quickly.
“It’s daylight now,” explained the ranger, “and I can see to ride a horse. I reckon I’d better ride down the line.”
“I’ve thought of that,” said Amy. “Of course, it wouldn’t do to let the fire take care of itself. See; I have Pronto saddled. I’ll look over the line, and if anything happens I’ll wake you.”
“You must be about dead,” said Charley. “You’ve been up all night fixing camp and cooking- nike air max sale —”
“Up all night!” repeated Amy scornfully. “How long do you think it takes me to make camp and cook a simple little breakfast?”
“But the country’s almighty rough riding.”
“On Pronto?”
“He’s a good mountain pony,” agreed Charley Morton; “California John picked him out himself. All right. I do feel some tired.”
This was about six o’clock. The men had slept but a little over an hour when Amy scrambled over the rim of the dike and dropped from her horse.
“Charley!” she cried, shaking the ranger by the shoulder; “I’m sorry. But there’s fresh smoke about half-way down the mountain. There was nothing left to burn fresh inside the fire line, was there? I thought not.”
Twenty minutes later all six were frantically digging, hoeing, chopping, beating in a frenzy against the spread of the flames. In some manner the fire had jumped the line. It might have been that early in the fight a spark had lodged. As long as the darkness of night held down the temperature, this spark merely smouldered. When, however, the rays of the sun gathered heat, it had burst into flame.
This sun made all the difference in the world. Where, in the cool of the night, the flames had crept slowly, now they leaped forward with a fierce crackling; green brush that would ordinarily have resisted for a long time, now sprang into fire at a touch. The conflagration spread from a single point in all directions, running swiftly, roaring in a sheet of fire, licking up all before it.
The work was fierce in its intensity. Bob, in common with the others, had given up trying–or indeed caring–to protect himself. His clothes smoked, his face smarted and burned, his skin burned and blist nike air max 90 ered. He breathed the hot air in gasps. Strangely enough, he did not feel in the least tired.
He did not need to be told what to do. The only possible defence was across a rock outcrop. To right and left of him the other men were working desperately to tear out the brush. He grubbed away trying to clear the pine needles and little bushes that would carry the fire through the rocks like so many powder fuses.
He had no time to see how the others were getting on; he worked on faith. His own efforts were becoming successful. The fire, trying, one after another, various leads through the rocks, ran out of fuel and died. The infernal roaring furnace below, however, leaped ever to new trial.
Then all at once Bob found himself temporarily out of the game. In trying to roll a boulder out of the way, he caught his hand. A sharp, li air max 90 ghtning pain shot up his arm and into the middle of his chest. When he had succeeded in extricating himself, he found that his middle finger was squarely broken.
Part 5 Chapter 6
Bob stood still for a moment, looking at the injured member. Charley Morto cheap air max 90 n touched him on the shoulder. When he looked up, the ranger motioned him back. Casting a look of regret at his half-completed defences, he obeyed. To his surprise he found the other four already gathered together. Evidently his being called off the work had nothing to do with his broken finger, as he had at first supposed.
“Well, I guess we’ll have to fall back,” said Morton composedly. “It’s got away from us.”
Without further comment he shouldered his implements and took his way up the hi cheap nike air max ll. Bob handed his hoe and rake to Jack Pollock.
“Carry ’em a minute,” he explained airmax 90 . “I hurt my hand a little.”
As he walked along he bound the finger roughly to its neighbour, and on both tied a rude splint.
“What’s up?” he muttered to Jack, as he worked at this.
“I reckon we must be goin’ to start a fire line back of the next cross-bridge somewheres,” Jack ventured his opinion.
Bob stopped short.
“Then we’ve abandoned the old one!” he exclaimed.
“Complete,” spoke up Ware, who overheard.
“And all the work we’ve done there is useless?”
“We’ve got it all to do over again from the beginning?”
“Certain sure.”
Bob adjusted his mind to this new and rather overwhelming idea.
“I saw Senator What’s-his-name–from Montana–made a speech the other day,” spoke up Elliott, “in which he attacked the Service because he said it was a refuge for consumptives and incompetents!”
At this moment Amy rode up d nike air max 1 raped with canteens and balancing carefully a steaming pail of coffee. She nike air max was accompanied by another woman similarly prov

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