If you have seen any of the news recently you may have seen mention of wildfires. So often those wildfires are located out west and while they are of great concern they don’t really affect me. That sounds really shallow as I write it but I think you understand. If something is not right in front of me sometimes I acknowledge it and then move on.
But now the fires are not in the west –they are in North and South Carolina with the one closest to me, The Pinnacle Mountain fire, being about 7 -8 miles away. Now I don’t know about you but that is too close for comfort for me. The Pinnacle Mountain fire has burned over 3500 acres as I write this. The amount is certain to increase. One article I read reported 15 wildfires have burned 47,000 acres.
A recent news article from WYFF 4 detailed the efforts of the firefighters to contain the fire. This containment involved a burnout in an effort to remove fuel for the fire. This is an intentional burn to help contain the spread of the fire. Making firelines is what can help to contain a raging forest fire. It is an odd to think about but it does make sense. If I understand it correctly the method used sort of turns the fire in on itself by creating lines or trenches that stop the fire from advancing beyond a certain point. In the case of the Pinnacle Mountain / Table Rock fire which is closest to us they have made the fireline and actually intentionally set a fire on top of the mountain in an effort to force the fire to burn down the mountain to be contained by the firelines.
To understand how these work I went to the National Park Service website and found the following information.
A fireline is a break in fuel, made by cutting, scraping or digging. It can be done by mechanized equipment such as bulldozers, but in most parks, it is done using handtools.
In building fireline, all fuels are removed and the surface scraped to mineral soil between 6 inches and 3 feet wide depending upon the fuel and slope. It needs to be wide enough to prevent smoldering, burning or spotting by embers blowing or rolling across the line. If it is safe, firelines should be wider at the head of the fire than along the flanks. Firelines can also be made or enlarged by back burns where fuels between the advancing fire and the line are burned out to slow or stop the fire.
The conditions in our area have been so very dry. When we moved to Connestee Falls last summer we were told we moved to a rain forest. I agreed because it rained a lot. This year has been quite a different story. We have experienced a drought and with that drought came the fires. It is a no win situation.
Stray sparks can be carried on a wind gust for miles. A carelessly dropped cigarette butt can smolder and ignite. Dry leaves that are everywhere can combust easily. Everyone is urged to be vigilant.
Sometimes events don’t become real until they are in your backyard. This is true in this case.
On my flight home from Ohio last week I flew over the fires in the Nantahala National Forest. I could see the smoke coming from the fires in the mountains.
Once I got closer to landing in Asheville it was the smoke and haze that was apparent.
So what do we need? Rain. And lots of it. Prayers going up for all who are fighting the fires and for their families who are supporting them.
If you are so inclined to help with donations there are many places that are accepting donations in our area. Items listed as being needed include: sleeping bags, blankets, wool boot socks, blister care, eye drops, nasal spray, and lip balm. Pinnacle Mountain fire crews need hydrating sports drinks such as Gatorade, disposable plates/cups/silverware, coffee and liquid creamer, fruit, and headache pain relievers. There are many lists of donation sites and our own Connestee Fire Department has been very actively involved. Here is a list of donation sites to check out.
If you can’t do that just pray. We saw a firefighter couple eating lunch while we were out and we bought their lunch. Not a big deal but a gesture to show our appreciation for what they are doing.
Thanks to all who have donated already and for all who are lifting these fires and firefighters up in prayer.
*****After I wrote this post we had a small fire pop up by one of the entrances to our development. Thank goodness the firefighters were there within minutes to put it out. Very grateful for each one who has worked hard to keep these fires under control.
*******Sunday afternoon update: We received word that the fire jumped the fire line and a road that runs next to our development is now closed by the gate we come in and out. We have been told that while we are not under evacuation orders yet we need to be prepared. The closest fire is now 5 miles from us. Please pray.