When I was a kid, every summer around this time of year my dad would leave for long stretches of time, often a week to 10 days. I remember waiting for him to come home the way children often wait for their parents to return. I have one memory in particular, playing out in our front yard, when my dad came around the bend in our little subdivision in our old 1970-something VW camper van. His hair was a mess, his face was covered in grime and soot. I ran to the edge of the yard with excitement and waited for him to get out of the van. When he picked me up, he smelled like smoke. He had been away fighting wildfires.