Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wildfires Ravaging Texas

I have to apologize for not posting more of late. It seems that this happens about this time every year. I am a teacher and a coach and the beginning of school and the start of football season make for a very hectic time of year for me. Add the fact that I have two kids of my own who are heavily involved in school and church activities and you have one very busy Dad.

There have been other issues, however, that have kept me out of the field. The main reason has to do with the wildfires that are ravaging Texas. I have been forced to evaluate even my most basic outdoor activities due to the tinderbox that is the Lone Star State right now. I know how to get along in the woods without fire, I don’t smoke, and my activities do not lend themselves to accidentally starting fires. I worry far more about being caught out somewhere when a wildfire pops up and right now they are popping up everywhere.

The worst fire, by far, has been in Bastrop County. Bastrop, the County’s namesake, lies just 30 miles SE of the state capital of Austin. More than 1,500 homes have been destroyed by the Bastrop complex fire. It is easily the most devastating wildfire in Texas history. A friend of mine emailed the photos included in this post. All of the photos are of the Bastrop complex fire. As you can see, the flames sometimes reached heights exceeding 100 feet. It is an awesome and terrifying sight to be sure.

Last week a small fire erupted near my home. The fire department pounced on it quickly and only 20-25 acres burned. Still, the site of flames and smoke that close to your home is pretty sobering. Just today my parents came within an eyelash of having to evacuate their home near Salado, Texas. Approximately 500 acres have burned near Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir and only the direction of the wind spared the home of my parents. It is a very scary time right now.

The threat of wildfires is not limited to Central Texas. There is another fire raging in Upshur County in NE Texas. Nothing less than the Piney Woods of East Texas are at risk here. If we don’t get some rain soon…well, it is going to be really bad.

I have been able to keep up with my camera project in Bell County. I will provide details on what I’ve managed to photograph in another post shortly. In the meantime, please be careful out there and use extra caution when out in the field. The slightest spark could begin a chain reaction with devastating results.

Just ask the unfortunate folks down in Bastrop.

1 comment:

  1. Mike,

    Those pics are both beautiful and terrifying. It's amazing how something so horrible can appear so awesome. It's getting very scary out there. So much so, you almost can't help but wonder if we've done something... "wrong". I said a long prayer the other day, asking God for mercy on our wonderful state... fires everywhere, even earthquakes near Snyder recently... it's just all very scary.

    I urge all your readers to pray... HARD for protection, mercy, and rain. beautiful land is being destroyed along with property, livestock, pets, and even people.

    Oh... and people, stop throwing your cig butts and beer bottles out the window!

    Sorry about the soap box. Ya'll stay safe out there!