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August 5, 2011 / dcwisdom

The Tinderbox

Northeast Texas is a tinderbox, much like the majority of other areas in the great State of Texas and surrounding regions.  I can’t remember a drier year, although Texas has remained in a drought-like condition probably three years or better.   The above picture was taken at a marina on the west side of Lake O’ the Pines north of Longview.  The trees in the distance are actually on an island in the middle of the lake.  These trees have had plenty of time to mature since the drought has been prolonged.  The water lilies have multiplied in the shallow waters of the lake, and grass has grown where boats once docked at the marina.

I was enjoying the day with my good blogging buddies Tara (at newdaynewseason) and Chickie Vickie  (at sandflatfarm).  We met in Longview at Dressing Gaudy and lunched at Papacita’s and shopped and bummed around on this extremely HOT day in East Texas.  (My indoor/outdoor thermometer’s memory says it was 110 degrees today.  To me, anything above 98 is almost intolerable.)  On my way out of Longview, I swung by (good ol Texas slang) to see Kid #2 Rich and his lovely wife Heather.  They have worked together at the same company since they met, performing the same job.  I really don’t know how they can  work together, go home together, raise kids together, and do the same thing over and over everyday.  They must really love each other and like each other to do that.  So, after a fun day seeing friends and family, I headed home.

I was parked at the marina intending to take several drought-related pictures when I received a call from my neighbor.  “Debbie, where are you?”  “I’m at Lake O’ the Pines.  What is it?”  I could hear urgency in her voice.  She asked, “Where’s your mom?”  Mom was visiting my sister, and I told my neighbor.  Then she said, “You may want to come home pretty quick!  Your property is on fire!  Several fire trucks are here, and there’s a crowd watching the fire!”   I asked her to have the fire chief call me, which she did.

Being thirty minutes away, I pushed it.  I called Mom.  I called Brin.  I called Jeremiah.  I knew no one was home.  The fire chief called me.  “Is anyone at home?”  I said, “There are no humans at home, but my little doggie Bella is in the trailer.”  He said, fortunately, the firemen had caught the fire from spreading to the houses.  Living on 50 acres has its advantages.

When I arrived home 60 minutes after the fire department was called, there were six fire trucks and a Texas Forestry Service truck hauling a bulldozer.   There were still hot spots, but most of the fire was out, and several of the firemen were disrobing down to their t-shirts and athletic shorts.  These guys were grimy, dusty, sooty, sweaty, and smelly, and they all wore smiles.  They love their job!

Here’s the story:   A passerby on the highway noticed the fire and smoke and called 9-1-1.  Thank the Lord for passersby that will call emergencies!  The fire trucks arrived, and my neighbor was looking out her kitchen window.  She exclaimed, “Tim, there are fire trucks coming up the road!”  Tim ran to his truck and followed the firetrucks.  She called me and then passed my cell number to our good fire chief (above in the black slacks).   He said the wind had caused an electric line to make contact with a dead cedar tree and the tree caught fire.  The electric lines are very hot, he said, from the outside temperature and the excessive flow of electricity through them.  Fortunately, the fire in the tree did not short out the power line.  Amazing!  The fire ran down the tree onto the grass, and the wind blew the flames, at times, in three different directions.

The fire department arrived in time to save the outbuildings and the house.  The fire had traveled around the shop and tractor shed, but the structures were not damaged.  Amazing!  However, our little Christmas tree shop sustained the most damage.   The fire traveled under the building and was burning the floor when the fire department arrived.  This tiny building holds many memories for our family; we sold many-a Christmas trees out of this little structure.  One day soon, she’ll be laid to rest and have a proper burial.

Mom’s house is in the background.  You can see how close the fire came to her house…within spitting distance…

We have a really good fire department!  Thank you, guys!

I wish Vickie and I had taken pictures of our fun day together.  Sazonov, V., and M. Yakovlev. “Explosion method of preventing collisions of asteroid-comet bodies with the Earth in the case of their late detection.” Journal of Engineering Physics & Thermophysics 79.3 (2006): 476-488. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 2 Aug. 2011i   Tara brought her daughter, Kelly, and the four of us had so much fun shopping and eating.  There’s just never enough time.

Well, hello!  I pushed some button and the above reference just popped in there.  It’s a reference Jere used for one of his college papers this summer.  I just thought I’d leave it in there for your entertainment.  I really have no clue how it got there.

I’d like to say to Vickie:  Thank you so much for the lovely quart jar of dill pickles.  I can’t wait to open it this weekend and eat a few.  They look absolutely yummy!

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America.








  1. Deborah Pucci / Aug 5 2011 4:31 PM

    I’m sitting here with my jaw dropped. What a blessing you were given with that phone call from the passer by. I can’t believe that happend. Sorry about your Christmas tree shop. So glad that the firemen were able to arrive in time to stop it from spreading further. Glad you had a nice time with your friends. Yes your son & DIL must have a special relationship.

  2. Gay Vaughan / Aug 5 2011 9:45 AM

    Debbie, so glad most everything, and everyone is okay. So scary! But happy you were able to get away and enjoy friends. I must say, you had me baffled. I was reading along and following just fine until I got to , “Sazonov, V., and M. Yakovlev”…thought you must have gone for a German lesson while you were in Longview, or something…

  3. Amber / Aug 5 2011 9:28 AM

    I am so glad that everyone is okay!!! Scary! I love you!

  4. debsladybugtexas / Aug 5 2011 6:44 AM

    that is so scarey glad every thing turned out okay…it is really scarey how dry it is and how easy a fire can spread….

  5. Diana Ferguson / Aug 5 2011 5:51 AM

    Oh my goodness. Praise the Lord for your fire department. So glad everyone is ok! As you drive around the state, that black grass is showing up more and more. We continue to pray for rain.

    I wish I lived a little closer to you, Tara, and Vickie!

  6. laurahartson / Aug 5 2011 5:09 AM

    brilliant post to read and i loved the images to back it up

  7. Mary / Aug 5 2011 4:48 AM

    What a story, and thank God you, your family, and your homes are safe . . . well, except for the Christmas tree shop.

  8. Layne Perkins / Aug 5 2011 2:47 AM

    Oh, Debbie! I’m so thankful no people or houses were damaged in the fire. Very scary! Glad you are okay!

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