Friday, January 29, 2016

Fair Weather Brings Fire Risk

The weather today was incredible. It was a beautiful, and record breaking, 76 degrees with 20 mph winds. Very low humidity made for a high fire risk. The morning news and radio stations all reminded people who smoke to put there cigarette out in their car ashtray ("Keep your butt in the car"), to double-check trailer chains didn't drag on the ground causing sparks, and a ban was enacted with regards to open fires such as burning burn piles, using charcoal barbecues, etc. 

At lunchtime I had to zip home to take my son to run an errand. Driving north out of Shawnee I could clearly see a large plume of smoke in the distance. Pretty soon it became clear there was a serious fire not too far away from Tiny House Homestead. The fire was squashed  quickly according to the evening news, however one homeowner was not so lucky and their house was burned to the ground. *shudder*

Years ago I almost lost my home to a forest fire caused by campers who didn't completely extinguish their campfire. I sat on my front stoop watching the flames gobble up acres of forest just a quarter mile from my home. It was surreal watching the flames shoot high up the old growth pine trees and hearing the sounds of them exploding from the extreme heat. Finally the police made all the residents leave and for three days I didn't know if I would even have a home to return to. It was terrifying. The site of smoke rising in the air anywhere near where I live immediately brings back the anxiety and fear I felt watching those flames consume everything in their path.

Tomorrow is supposed to be just as warm and just as windy. I plan to get outside and enjoy the weather. I have a para-foil kite calling my name and begging to catch air. I will no doubt enjoy the fantastic (and unusually warm) weather. I will still wonder what sparked the fire today and in the back of my mind I will worry that someone irresponsible with a simple cigarette or even stupid enough to try to take care of their burn pile will cause a catastrophe through carelessness.  

Wisely I have a fire evacuation plan in place (after not having one all those years ago) and know where all my papers and most precious things I would want to save are stored. However, if I am not home when this type of situation occurs, those things might be lost anyway. Wisely I keep copies of important papers in another, secure place, but that will be little consolation if everything I have worked so hard for was lost. Insurance is nice, but it doesn't replace the memories that would be gone. 

The point of this story? Be careful. When fire warnings are issued, take them seriously. 

Rant over.