#&$:~,¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨,~:$&#
&$:~,¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨,~:$&
$:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:$
:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:
~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~
,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨               ~~~~~~~~~~~                ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨             $$           $$              ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨            :   BLUE FIRE   :             ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨              $$           $$             ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                ~~~~~~~~~~~               ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  THE ¨BLUE FIRE¨ IS A CARNIVOROUS PLANT  ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,
~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  LIVING MOSTLY AT THE WESTERN ALVAR (BUT ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~
:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨   IT HAS SPREAD TO A FEW OTHER PLACES,   ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:
$:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨          MOSTLY ROCKY COASTS).           ¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:$
&$:~,¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨,~:$&
#&$:~,¨¨¨¨      THE PLANT IS A DENSE NETWORK OF     ¨¨¨¨,~:$&#
£#&$:~,¨¨¨  GREEN-BROWN TENTACLE-LIKE ROOTS, WHICH  ¨¨¨,~:$&#£
#£#&$:~,¨¨   IS OFTEN CALLED "RAT'S TAIL" BEFORE    ¨¨,~:$&#£#
##£#&$:~,¨    BLOOMING. IN LATE JUNE, IT QUICKLY    ¨,~:$&#£##
#£#&$:~,¨¨      SPROUTS FEELERS, TEN TO THIRTY      ¨¨,~:$&#£#
£#&$:~,¨¨¨   CENTIMETERS HIGH, FILLED WITH PURPLE   ¨¨¨,~:$&#£
#&$:~,¨¨¨¨   HAIRS - THIS IS THE BLUE FIRE. THIS    ¨¨¨¨,~:$&#
&$:~,¨¨¨¨¨     STAGE LASTS FOR ONE OR TWO WEEKS,    ¨¨¨¨¨,~:$&
$:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨     DEPENDING ON FOOD ACCESS, WATER,     ¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:$
:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                 CLIMATE.                 ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:
~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~
,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  OFTEN IT'S NOT CLEAR HOW FAR THE PLANT  ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨     HAS SPREAD UNLESS ITS IN THE FIRE    ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨ STAGE. SUDDENLY, AS IF OVERNIGHT, WHOLE  ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  FIELDS CAN BE TURNED ABLAZE (WITH THE   ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨ SAME INDIVIDUAL PLANT, AS WELL)! IN THE  ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  BLOOMING PEAK, IT'S NOT UNUSUAL FOR THE ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨ WHOLE ALVAR TO BE CONNECTED NORTH-SOUTH. ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,
~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~
:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨               :$$~~~~~$$:                ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:
$:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:$
&$:~,¨¨¨¨¨  FIFTY WEEKS OF THE YEAR, WHILE IN RAT   ¨¨¨¨¨,~:$&
#&$:~,¨¨¨¨  STAGE, THE BLUE FIRE FEEDS ON THE STONE ¨¨¨¨,~:$&#
£#&$:~,¨¨¨  ITSELF VIA A SLOW CHEMICAL ATTRITION.   ¨¨¨,~:$&#£
#£#&$:~,¨¨ THIS IS ENOUGH TO KEEP THE ROOTS ALIVE,  ¨¨,~:$&#£#
##£#&$:~,¨    BUT ALL GROWTH AND PROCREATION MUST   ¨,~:$&#£##
#£#&$:~,¨¨   HAPPEN DURING THE TWO WEEKS IN JUNE.   ¨¨,~:$&#£#
£#&$:~,¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨,~:$&#£
#&$:~,¨¨¨¨    NOW THE PLANT FEEDS ON BIRDS; THE     ¨¨¨¨,~:$&#
&$:~,¨¨¨¨¨  SEMISTIFF UPRIGHT FEELERS LOOKS LIKE AN ¨¨¨¨¨,~:$&
$:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨    EXTENSION OF THE SEA, AND BIRDS ARE   ¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:$
:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  TRICKED INTO LANDING OR DIVING INTO IT. ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:
~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨    THEY ARE QUICKLY PARALYZED BY THE     ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~
,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨     POISON ON THE PURPLE HAIRS, AND      ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨     DEVOURED OVER A PERIOD OF HOURS.     ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨    PROCREATION CAN HAPPEN SEXUALLY VIA   ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨  SPORES (CRYPTOGAMIA) OR ASEXUALLY WHEN  ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨      THE ROOTS ARE CUT, DIVIDING AN      ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨
,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨           INDIVIDUAL INTO TWO.           ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,
~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~
:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:
$:~,¨¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨¨,~:$
&$:~,¨¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨¨,~:$&
#&$:~,¨¨¨¨                                          ¨¨¨¨,~:$&#