Monday, September 5, 2011

Fires all around.

Nature has played a cruel, cruel trick on us.  The tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico that forecasters said might bring us rain, has instead brought gusty winds. When mixed with tinder dry brush, high temperatures, low humidity – disaster.

Major fires are rampaging all over Central Texas (and other areas), including the most horrendous, in Bastrop. As of this morning, 14,000 acres burned, 350 homes destroyed or damaged, near half of Bastrop State Park charred.

We live in the middle of a cedar/live oak thicket that has been deprived of moisture for almost a year. Even those tough cedar trees are wilting now.  Those of us who live out here are fearful. To add to that sense of unease, our subdivision has only one exit – for over 200 homes distributed down little winding roads tucked under trees.

I made frequent trips upstairs yesterday to scan the horizon with my binoculars. I’m afraid we might not have much time to get out if a fire comes roaring toward us from the north. I also ventured outside often to sniff for smoke.

We hosted a small party last night. About 4 p.m., it dawned on me that we would be lighting a barbecue for hamburgers. One of my neighbors helped me wet down the ground around the pit (which sits on a rock patio), telling me about the time she burned 300 acres of neighboring ranch land, when she left a trash fire unattended for a few moments.

During the course of the evening, another friend received notification that friends of his had lost their home in the Bastrop fire. And the air filled with smoke from a fire burning north of us in Dripping Springs.

Today is forecasted to be even worse, as a cool front adds its might to the hurricane gusts. The fires from yesterday are not out. Firefighters are maxed out, without enough manpower to stop the flames.

Send good thoughts.


  1. We had about 6 fires within 5 miles of us yesterday. I was mentally preparing what to gather in case of evacuation. Thankfully, it didn't come to that. But about 30 minutes away, a mother and 18 month old died in a house fire that spread so fast it destroyed most of that neighborhood. I hope your subdivision will be safe - it sounds ominous to only have one way out. Our poor firefighters all over Texas are not getting a break this year. I feel for them, and appreciate them so very much.

  2. @HG - amen to that, and we heard about the deaths in your area - so sad. Better weather today, so hopefully those hardworking firefighters will be able to get a handle on some of these blazes!

  3. It has been a very scary...and sad... few days.
    We evacuated our son from the Hamilton Pool area Monday...then they got to go back home.
    I've packed up some things to grab, just in case.
    We have two ways out of this neighborhood...Woodcreek. Let's hope neither of us have to evacuate. And, let's hope we get some rain, sometime soon.
    Stay safe....

  4. I talked with my mom recently who has lived in Central Texas for about 60 years. She told me to be of good cheer as there was a drought period in the 50's that was every bit this bad or worse. I suppose there was a lot less people here at that time so not as many homes, etc. were so vulnearble. Be safe there blogger. Angels be with you.

  5. @Linda & Anon - It will rain one day, it will! Maybe not until next year will the drought be broken, so the weathermen are saying. Meanwhile, we keep sharp eyes scanning the horizon!

  6. Speaking as a (multiple) hurricane survivor, I'd rather flood than burn. At least we had warning for evacuation.

    You're right, so scary. And right that it will rain someday. Hope you and yours are safe.

    Tickled to hear you saw orioles in such different places. Other friends have seen them in Austin and down to Houston. I believe it's a widespread irruption, symptomatic of how bad things are east of us.