Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Battling the Fires in Texas

Many Many people here in East Texas have been battling wildfires for the past four days.  It seems like they all started at once, and some have spready so rapidly they are consuming everything in their path.  It's heartbreaking. 

My neighbor called me Sunday afternoon to let me know that there was a wildfire less than two miles from our home through the woods.
Because the area in which we live is full of tree farms and pastureland, any fire that close is just plain scary.  Texas is in the worst drought ever.  If a fire were to make it to the woods behind our homes there would be no way to get the fire out, there is just too much dry tinder. 

On Monday the fire crept closer and actually came within less than a mile of our home.  A mile doesn't seem so far when you are looking at wildfires, and especially fires that have consumed over 34,000 acres in Bastrop and over 1,000 people have lost their homes. 
My grandson's father lives there and I am sure he is right in the middle helping to fight the fires since he is a trained firefighter and works at the Buescher State Park which was burned by this fire.  We send our prayers to those in Bastrop affected by this horrible horrible fire.

 Here in East Texas we have a very similar fire in Cass County and there is currently over 17,000 acres burned and I have no idea how many homes lost there.  We have had fires in every county in East Texas including those in my county.  There are several still barely contained as of this morning.  There is one burning here in Cherokee County that has required the evacuation of several hundred.    I do know that a local young mother and her 18 month old daughter lost their lives to this fire when they could not escape their burning home.  She was close to my daughters age and her baby girl was close to my little granddaughters age, it just breaks my heart. 
test4An estimated 30,000 acres burned in Cass County

Because the fire was creeping closer on Monday, we started gathering up all of the items that we could never replace and the documents that would be necessary to continue day to day life and putting them in our cars in case we had to evacuate quickly.
I feel very fortunate that at least we had the time to do that, there are soooo many all across Central Texas who have just lost everything and had no time to get ready to get out. 

I'm just a little bit tickled at the things that I chose to save as
  • Jackie's Wedding Dress
  • Jackie's Cheer Jackets and Megaphone
  • Letters from my dad to my mom when he was stationed in Japan
  • All of the boxes and boxes of photos that I have brought home after all my parents and grandparents have passed away.  There are so many photos of great great grandparents etc in there....I really need to find a way to safeguard them
  • Photos from the girls childhood...I have several storage boxes with the photos organized by events..I would hate to lose those
  • Our old computer which has over 8,000 photos over the last six years on it!!
  • Tax receipts from the 1870's from my family that lived in Freestone County...I love historical stuff so much
  • The old books from those same times that have just been passed down through the family
  • Our guns
  • Last but not least all the birth certificates,S.S. cards,  titles to cars etc....
What is funny to me is I could have cared less about taking any of my clothes, shoes, bedding, hair stuff etc because all of that is replaceable. 

Thankfully our local Volunteer Fire Departments were able to contain the last flare up by our home last night and we are in the clear this morning.  The smoke here today is soo thick and we have "smoke advisories" today, something that we have never had to deal with before.  It's giving me a terrible headache and the stress from worrying about those people and firefighters elsewhere is not helping any :(

If nothing else, if you can, please check our local TV station websites...many of our local volunteer fire departments and even city fire departments are requesting donations of Water, gatorade, snacks, eye lubricant etc and of course monetary donations to help with the fuel costs...most of these departments have used up all of their money budgeted in fighting these fires.  These stations post what the firefighters are asking for

Here are some of the photos I have taken from close to our home the last few days

The smoke plumes we could see from our front yard...the fire was about a mile away then

This is from the "front side" of the fire...we live through the woods on the other side

My nephew doing what he can to help

Guys lined up with their trailers to help get livestock out....this property where the fire was closing in on has a lot of cattle.  When we drove up they were really scrambling trying to get the cows out

What it looked like across from our property the next morning.  It looked just the same this morning and the smoke is just sitting in a thick haze

Keep Texas in your prayers


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