Many of you have emailed to ask if we are safe. So far, yes. However, this is the prairie and fire is always a hazard. The smell of burning grass permeated the air on Wednesday. I was planting daffodils on the hill across from the Dairy Queen when I heard the first siren. A fire that had scorched several acres the day before had once again ignited. I watched as the edge of the fire line turned orange and smoke began billowing. The fire trucks raced once again.
There have been so many fires in the past week that many fire departments are running out of money for gasoline for the trucks. Volunteers are working overtime. Firefighters from all over the state are helping each other. Each morning on the news there is a report of where the latest fire is burning and how many homes were lost the day before. The death count is at five.
I took a few pictures of the scorched pasture just west of town. It was the only fire damage I could safely photograph. I was afraid to stop on the side of the highway to take pictures of the damage just south of town. One of our local ODOT workers was struck by a truck and killed yesterday. I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps.
The fires have been a reminder of how quickly we can lose everything we hold dear. Just a few years ago we had to evacuate our home because of a fire raging across the road from us. I let my cats out of the house, then grabbed an extra change of clothes and my photo albums. If we had to go tonight I would need three trips to grab photos! I told my daughter I have my memories, but sometimes I need photos to help me with the details. I’ve forgotten so much! I guess we are all the same. One poor man who lost his home this week said, “We’re safe, but fifteen years of memories just burned up.”
The fire danger will remain with us into the New Year. It is unseasonably warm and dry. I think our rainfall level is about 20 inches below normal. There is a ban on fireworks that some fools will ignore. There is a ban on trash burning that several people have already ignored. There have been warnings about throwing out cigarettes. One fire was started by a fellow who hit a power pole with his tractor! Any little spark can be the start of a hundred-acre blaze.
I’ve been watering my yard for the past two days. Other than that I don’t suppose there is anything to do but pray for rain and safety.