Lightening Strikes!

We watched a fantastic lightening storm on our way home from dinner last night.   I love to watch the light show…didn’t hear much thunder.   Ernie’s comment was we’ll be called out tonight…refereing to the Burkett Volunteer Fire Department.   He had been out on a roll-over accident earlier in the evening. 

About 5 minutes later, he was putting on fire gear and I was heading out with the camera to help direct traffic…

This lightening strike that was about 6 miles north/west of our house.  By 10 PM, there were trucks and personnel from 10 or 11 fire departments on scene. 

Not only do you have fire trucks, but in our area (no fire hydrants) you need tanker trucks to refill the water tanks on the fire trucks and heavy equipment (doziers) to cut fire breaks and a tire company on call for all the flats.

Our area has very rugged terrain.  Gullys, ravines, heavy brush and tree lines.   Most departments have old Army vehicles for the base of the fire trucks…because those vehicles are “work horses” in off road terrains.   BVFD has 3 “duece and a halfs” outfitted with the appropriate fire fighting equipment.  They are our “brush trucks”.   We couldn’t do what we do without these monsters.

The guys in their reflective gear with one of the brush trucks.  They’re waiting their turn to refill the water tanks.

Ernie came off the truck about 1:30AM and we were home by 2AM.   Most of the guys stayed out there all night fighting the blaze and the 25mph winds.

This morning,  Day 2 saw the fire on another neighbor’s property and still going strong with 20-25mph winds to keep fanning the flames.  It also saw the arrival of a TASK force from Abilene with a spotter plane, and a detachment of doziers from the National Guard stationed in Brownwood.

Ernie in the blue shirt.   Ernie didn’t get on the trucks today as he injured his shoulder again last night.  We did carry food and drink for everyone.  Funny how working a fire all night leaves you hungry.    We’re blessed to have several grocery stores and local restuarants who will donate food and water when the need arises.

The property owner (below) was concerned about his cattle, house, barns and water lines.   Can’t say I blame him. 

 Fires out here are serious business.  Frightening business for all of us.  We’re so isolated and open, the winds push fires so fast…and the land is so rugged, it makes controlling fires very difficult.  

Look at his land…certainly worth saving!

The 4 National Guard doziers cut firebreaks all the way around the fire…encompassing 3 big ranches.  The fire was contained in 1500-2000 acres.  Late afternoon saw air support called in.  I missed the helicopter making his water drops as we ran into Coleman to see Apachekat.   But one of the firefighters caught the shots of the fire retardent being dropped

  Justin also got great shots of the helicopter making the water drops.  Thanks Justin!      








We left the scene with the fire out about 8:30PM tonight, but not before I captured this closing sunset shot!

Thank you to all the fire fighters.  You do good work!

Susan ~ Patchkat