Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The East Texas Excursion 2011

SIX am came far too early Saturday January 7th of 2011. We rushed to get us and the girlies dressed, bags loaded, dogs kennelled, and off on our way. Shipleys Donut's sign shown brightly in the early morning central Texas sky, and 3 big earl with cheese kolachees later, we were on the road headed to see the G. GG that is. My mom. She lives in Gray, Texas which is a TINY town on the outskirts of Jefferson, Texas and actually closer to Vivian, LA.
Five hours of potty breaks, snack grabs, and diaper changes later, and we finally made our way down G's long gravel driveway. The girls were screaming with delight from the back seat. They did so very good on such a long trip, and they didn't even know we would be making the trip til the day before. I just didn't have the patience for a whole week of are we leaving today, are we leaving now, are we leaving after nap time....so I just waited til the day before. And even then, it got a bit pestersome. ;)
Once we jumped out and shared all the squeals and hugs, Jason and I took in a deep breath of what we thought was good ole fireplace smoke filled air. We both said, "Ohhh, I LOVE that smell". Little did we know what had taken place at my mom's house just a few hours earlier.
The night before we arrived my mom's two indoor dogs would not stop sounding off at the front door. It started with the Chihuahua, Idgy. Mom just kept going to the peep hole in the front door to see if anyone was out there. It seemed that Idgy thought she was hearing a person. Nothing was there. This happened three or four times before mom's larger dog, Dingo, joined in with Idgy. This caught mom's attention. It is one thing for a nervous Chihuahua to bark incessantly at the front door, but it is all together different for a large breed mix like Dingo to get so very involved and affected. He was barking, hair was standing on end from tail to neck...he was angry!
So mom went to look out the side window of the house to see if there was a car in the driveway or something like that. She never expected what she found. No car other than hers. but what she DID see was MUCH, MUCH WORSE!
The woods next to her house were whipping, and flashing with flames. The trees were being consumed by fire from the ground to the tip tops of the branches, and it was spreading fast in her direction.
Luckily enough the first phone number to come to her mind was that of an area first responder, named Nancy, who could rally the volunteer FD together very quickly.
The wind was gusting, the trees were swaying, one even fell, and 2 more fire trucks (now a total of 3) made their way to my mom's property. They stayed though the night, until 5am, dropping water on the fire and keeping their eyes on hot spots.
This all happened the night before our arrival to G's. That wonderful smell Jason and I were enjoying was anything but a peaceful fireplace smoke...It was an actual wildfire (granted a small one) but a wildfire none-the-less.
Upon hearing her story from the nite before, we all curiously rushed over to scope out the damage.
Scarily enough, even after the FD had revisited the site just minutes before we went to look at it, and had dropped some 700 gallons on the site--this scorched ground was still smouldering. We looked around at it a bit in awe, and thankful for the dog's intuition, and then continued on on our lawnmower led wagon ride around the property.
Jason is a watcher. He watched the neighborhood we used to live in. He watched who was new to and who had left the street. He knew what cars were supposed to be on what street and may even be able to tell you at what times those cars should and should not have been present---HE IS A WATCHER!!!
Thankfully this evening was no different. Jason had poked his head out of the front door a few times to 'watch' the embers smoulder. Close to dark he said, 'I am gonna go out here on last time and just check to be sure everything is ok'. In just a few short minutes the house phone rang. It was Jason. There were 5 hot spots and 1 active spot of burning fire. We all rush out to take a look. The area that had begun to burn again was on a rotten tree that the fire fell the night before. It was small enough that SUPER JASON casually just stomped it out brandishing only his sketcher work shoes, cargo jeans and BRAND NEW BRIGHT WHITE WACO IT DEPT POLO tee...very interesting and comical image that will stay with me for a while.
Needless to say we all decided to give a call back in to the Gray Volunteer Fire Department, and they rushed over with more water.
Basically the fire had burned long enough and hot enough to get into the root system and could pop back up over there at any time. That was kinda worrisome for all of us but the very next morning, just a few hours after the fire shot back up, the winter storm moved into that part of East Texas. If the fire wasn't extinguished by the last visit of the GVFD it DEFINITELY was by good ole Mother Nature.
Sleet
Ice
Rain
Snow
under 30 degree temp
for 2 days.
No more fire...now ICE, that is another matter. :)


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