It’s been a dry fall so far. Tuesday morning the smell of smoke was heavy. Our across the road neighbor was burning in his front yard so we chalked the odor up to that. Later that day the neighbor’s fire was out, but we still smelled smoke. Yesterday we noticed smoke from an area that appeared to be along the eastern border of our property. We kept an eye on it and late yesterday afternoon we noticed that the state forestry department had personnel watching the fire from the bottom of our driveway. Mr. Fifty Shades visited with the forestry folks and the local supervisor gave Mr. Fifty Shades his cell phone number and said the best thing to do was to let the fire burn. It could not be extinguished anyway and until the fire threatened structures it was best to just monitor it. However, if the fire got close enough that we became concerned we should call him 24/7. This morning the fire had crept over the ridge and was working its way across the face of the north and east slopes of our property. By mid-day the fire had moved close enough that it was time to call the experts to determine what, if any action should be taken. After surveying the scope of the fire the supervisor from the forestry department said the fire was too big to manually backfire and that a fire line would need to be cut with a bulldozer. And, to work they went. One bulldozer and operator together with five other crew members worked on cutting a line around our house and outbuildings to ensure that only the woods burned. They worked about six hours and when they left approximately 85 acres had been burned, but the fire was under control and adequate protection had been provided for our house.
As everyone knows fire is dangerous and destructive. However, fire is also life giving in the forest. In our case, the fire was hot enough to burn off excess fuel on the forest floor and clear underbrush. At the same time it was not so hot as to damage hardwoods such as oak. Even though conditions were dry they were not as dry as early spring when the most dangerous of forest fires occur in this area. In the spirit of silver linings we probably have reduced the danger of the most damaging fires by having this one now. Most of the visible slopes on our property were burned. The damage though, was minimal other than to the underbrush. Nonetheless, it is disconcerting, to say the least, to have your house surrounded by fire.
We are thankful for the hard work of the crew from the Department of Forestry. We’re all safe and sound. Really.
Here’s some of the action:
Until next time,
Mr. Fifty Shades (with photographic credit to Mrs. F.S.)