It’s the end of the trail.
Several wildfires struck in central and eastern Oklahoma today. I know for certain some of them were arson, having overheard some police band radio traffic. It seems they all started almost at once across the entire state. Aside from the loss of homes, including our mayor’s palatial digs, along with businesses, schools and a few other structures, so far the only loss of life was livestock and pets.
My personal loss is petty by comparison. The fire is still burning here as we approach midnight local time, and the wooded area in which I have labored these past three years to cut my fitness trail is partly aflame. One of the fires was about a half-mile north, and the winds blew it all farther north. However, the woods are simply loaded with tons of dry fuel. As I predicted, once a blaze started, this thing would drift against the wind simply because there was too much too easily consumed.
Right now, almost the entire western edge of the forest is alight. I did help guide some small pumper trucks back into the fire line, but there was not enough space to fan out along the fire front. The woods were simply too thick. So they left it until they could get a bulldozer or some other means to assist the fight. Right now, just the first section of my trail running north along the western edge of the forest is almost all gone. The fire front is about 150 yards north of the nearest mobile home. Oh, and in order to guide the firetrucks, I had them drive on my trail, obliterating a good stretch of it.
I’ve been staying up to monitor things in case it began to drift south, as well. If that happens, I’ll need to alert them. They can do a good job of stopping it from coming into the park itself, since the bigger trucks can navigate our streets just fine, and we have fire hydrants. It’ll probably be a long night. I’ll post more here if there is any news.
Farewell, sweet trail. See you in a few months.
Update: It’s now 2:30 AM local time. The primary threat is past for us.
The fire crews had persuaded someone to run a firebreak with a bulldozer, over in another section near here. Then he decided to quit because it was nearly dark. They had to find someone else. So for quite some time, they kept checking on the drifting fire line as it crept slowly toward the park. Each time, I was there to meet them, and guided them about as needed. It appeared my trail was just enough to slow the fire significantly. Whole stretches of the fire line went out. Finally, about an hour ago I could hear the laboring of a very large diesel motor, and the occasional squeak of tracks. I was standing on the one little portion of my trail still accessible. After awhile it got close enough to see the headlights through the dead foliage. He was gouging out a path, pushing the burning vegetation over and covering it with dirt. In the process, he was creating a substantial firebreak.
But as one of the converted military 2½ ton trucks came roaring out of the open field next to our park, he ran over the cover for a water line, one of the 4″ trunk feeds. It began gushing immediately. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.