Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wild Fires

Scary days the last 2 they are/were. Behind the house is a stretch of woods, preserve land they say. It's just past the property line and goes up to the Middle/High school near us. There's a nature trail on it that the school uses mostly in the spring.

Well Tuesday afternoon there was smoke only a few yards off from our property line and the next thing I knew, fire trucks pulled up and the men dashed off into the woods with fire extinguishers. There were at least 2 spots far as we could tell that were burning. The spent about 2 hours up there putting them out.

This afternoon (Wednesday) my older girl comes running down to me "Momma we have a fire on the hill!" I thought she meant up top near the original area, but NO!...I opened my back door and there's flames on my hill!! Our hill is held up by a 4 foot high railroad tie retaining wall....the flames were about 2 maybe 3 feet from the edge. The line of flames ran about a good 6 feet across the hill. I heard the fire trucks pulling up before I could even get the words out of my mouth. I literally didn't know what to do next. I didn't know what the flames would do next.

I dashed upstairs and out the front door and ran up to the fire chief's truck and told him we had a fire in the yard. He thought I meant up top, but by the panic in my voice and on my face after telling him NO it's right at the bottom behind the house! He sent men back there immediately.

They spent about 2 hours spraying our hill from one end to the other and back again. I have less than 1/3 acre so it's not very big back there, but they soaked and soaked that hill best they could. The original spots up in the woods also flared up, so they did what they could with it and then had the forestry people come in a dig a break between our property line and the fire.

They told me it was most likely deliberately set by some teens, maybe they were smoking up there. That it would smoke for a couple more days. Imagine my surprise when my neighbor knocked on my door to say she saw flames in the woods again!! We went outside and sure enough the darn thing is flaring up. So out came the firemen again. They assured us it wouldn't jump the break. It has to burn itself out they said, since the fire is now inside a fallen hallowed out/rotten tree. So its burning from the inside out and they can't stop it. They also told us that most of the state is under a Red Flag Warning.

I think the thing that struck me most was when one of them told me "Fire is a living thing. And it's feeding on whatever it can to stay alive and spread." I never thought of fire as living. But it needs oxygen just like we do, and it needs fuel (food) to survive. So I suppose he's right. But it struck a cord with me, and I feel like it his words have a deeper meaning that I just can't put my finger on.

But tomorrow is going to be a windy day, and we're still under the warning for at least the next 2 days with no rain in site.

The one fireman told me a good bit at the top of the hill was burned but from the ground I can't see up there too many pines in the way. I'll have to walk up the hill in the morning and check on my apple tree and pear tree, as well as to see just how much has been damaged up there. Seeing the flames has me scared to bits. This city girl doesn't do wild fires very well.