Saturday, September 10, 2011

This Wildfire Thing is Getting Ridiculous!

Aside from the majority of our plants (the ones we purchased on huge discount) failing to make it through the blazing summer heat, and the fact that the gophers (or some mysterious unseen animals) are so thirsty that they chew holes into our hoses hoping for some water, the drought hasn't had a really huge impact on us.  Oh sure, we still have a huge pile of brush stacked in part of the yard since the burn ban has kept us from burning it, and we haven't put down any grass or replaced the dead plants; but from a quality of life perspective, it isn't like the drought is causing us loss of cattle or crops, because we don't have any.

And in spite of looking skinny, I think there are enough people buying deer corn and putting out apples and bread and such to keep the deer population alive, so we still enjoy the nice views.  Note to self: Don't leave a pile of deer food just outside the front gate or the neighbors will all have to dodge deer after dark.

No, with all of this drought business, for us it has really just been a minor inconvenience, not like the farmers and cattlemen who are really hit hard.  What is really starting to be of concern is the wildfire danger brought on by this drought.  The Bastrop fire makes you realize just how hot and fast these wildfires can move, and as a homeowner, there isn't a whole lot you can do about it, aside from gathering a few items and getting you and your pets out of harms way, hoping you don;t come back to a smoldering pile of nothing.

Closer to home, people in Fair Oaks and Stone Oak had their own scares with fires in the last week and on Thursday, I was driving home from work and just as I was several miles east of Lytle, I could see a huge plume of smoke in the distance.  The way I-35 takes a turn to the southwest, from my vantage point, it looked like the smoke was coming from my house!  Of course, I called Eva to have her go outside and spot the smoke, and I was relived that she could not see it from our house.
 I ended up behind this tanker truck from Lytle heading down to Devine where the fire turned out to be.  And on Friday, the huge fire near Texas Research Parkway at Potranco and 211 was visible from work and all the way home.  I know several folks who live out in that area and certainly makes you wonder if we're next!

Thankfully, aside from the huge pile of brush very far back on the property, our place is fairly cleared.  But the problem is, all the wilderness surrounding us.  It is a tinderbox waiting for one jerk to toss a cigarette butt out the window of a moving car, and the place will be in flames.  All along I-35, you can see huge patches of blackened out median where some idiot has tossed a cigarette butt.  Sure, a lot of the places have burned because the tire on an 18-wheeler blew and caused a spark or something, but I'm convinced that most of these fires we are seeing have been caused intentionally by somebody maliciously starting the fire or by some totally inconsiderate nincompoop tossing a cigarette butt out the window.

Yes, we desperately need rain out here and all over Texas, but we also need people to not be stupid.

Note:  it's "ridiculous", not "rediculous". (Thanks, Jeff).

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