Folks that follow natural disasters most often think of tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
In the last 5 years, we've also been made painfully aware of tsunamis as well.
Wildfires don't get much press, because the really big ones are often in open ranges with miles and miles of land where few people live.
They all have one thing in common--they kill, devastate and destroy.
Last weekend, we had the "perfect storm" set up over Central Texas to make wildfires a very real possibility. We had very dry, cool air coming in from the North and high winds off the back side of tropical storm Lee come in from the East. Winds gusted over 40 mph.
That, coupled with our drought conditions (no real rain since October) and extreme heat (80 days over 100*), made for perfect fire conditions.
Three blew up within hours of one another.
One in my county.
Friends were in areas that were evacuated. So were their horses and goats and cattle.
That fire claimed 7,000 so far, is 40% contained, and destroyed 67 homes.
My friends are all back in place, as the winds have changed direction a bit.
Another fire, 15 miles NE of me, was in a neighborhood of 4,000 homes. The high winds caused power lines to touch and spark a fire in a canyon nearby. It's 40% contained, burned 125 acres, and destroyed 25 homes. Again, the wind direction allowed homeowners back in.
The fire that is in the news is the Bastrop fire. It's about 30 miles due East of me.
There's no word yet on it's cause, but it is catastrophic. There is no talk of containment, even after 3 days of fighting it. It's 30,000 acres at this point and 700 homes have been destroyed. The problem there is, the fuel source---dense pine trees. This fire continues to move rapidly toward the south. It continues to jump fire breaks and main roads. Two are confirmed dead. They refused to leave when evacuation notices were put in place.
Below, are just a handful of pictures (none by me). I'm sure there are hundreds online by now if you're interested.
If you're a praying person, pray for rain. That's the only thing that's going to stop the Bastrop fire. Unfortunately, there's none in the forecast.
photo credit: hippychickenfarmer
photo credit: Wendy Moore
photo credit: Deanna Roy
photo credit: Jay Janner/Austin Statesman
photo credit: dezelfeeder
photo credit: Jay Janner