God Bless Texas

Thanks for the outpouring of love from friends and family yesterday. Our home is ok for now. We had another fire this morning, which is under control. I drove by the area and it was much closer than I thought. Really hit home how lucky we were.

BACKGROUND

Texas is in a record breaking drought.  It’s rained maybe once or twice since May. 

While shopping on Sunday, got a call from dad, he was going to be late for our family day in Georgetown.  Why?  Highway 183 closed due to an active wildfire, a little over a mile from the house.  Pretty much right next door to the hair salon I go to.  In the end, 2 houses burned completely to the ground and several acres.  The fire was likely started by a cigarette thrown out.  About 10 houses were VERY close to being consumed, but the fast action of total strangers with hoses, buckets, trash cans, etc helped put out hotspots while the firemen put out the blaze. (photo from KXAN news).

Later that day we found out that Columbus (near Houston), Bastrop, Dripping Springs, Steiner Ranch, Pflugerville all had severe fires.  It was so bad, that Austin Fire Department sent emails through the Austin American Statesman and local news broadcasts, calling for off-duty firemen to come into work to help.  Hundreds of homes destroyed or damaged and thousands of people displaced.  That was just on Sunday.  (Photo from KXAN news, Deanna Roy). 

Monday morning you could faintly smell the fires on the morning run.  Went downtown with mom to volunteer at the Austin Tri and the wind was INSANE.  This did not help the wildfires in progress. 

About 4:30 pm, I decided to mow our lawn, which was long overdue.  Around 5 pm, when I went to start the backyard, I saw it.  Dark smoke.  I came inside to ask my family and Dan if they’d seen anything on the news.  I finally found a report that said it was about a mile away.   I went back outside to finish the lawn.  The smoke kept getting faint, then dark, faint, then dark.  We tried to monitor the fires on the news, but most of the coverage was for the larger fires.  They kept saying Crystal Falls neighborhood was being evacuated, but we never heard anything via phone or in the streets.  Found out today that friends of ours across the main road were asked to leave (they stayed).  So it must have only been 1 section of our neighborhood.

About 6:30, Dan tried to go to Walgreen’s, which is across the entrance from our neighborhood.  He never got there.  Our main road was blocked by police.  Then the power went out for over an hour, so we only had our phones.  No tv.  Luckily I was able to finish dinner on our gas stove and keep everyone distracted from the fire for at least the hour the power was off.  This photo was taken at the very intersection Dan had tried to cross (from KXAN news).

Some neighbors started wetting their houses and packing their bags.  I guess I wasn’t as worried, maybe because I felt like I over-reacted on the very first fire of the summer which was at our golf course (Monday’s fire was our city’s 4th).  We had a HUGE outpouring of love from friends and family offering us places to stay and checking up on us.   I figured if things got bad enough, I’d at least send my parents to my sister’s house.  Then Dan and I would follow with my cats if it came down to it.

They said before we went to bed, that the fire was contained not controlled.  Whatever that means.  On the breaking news just now, they said 75% contained.  Another fire started near there today but has also been put out.  I drove the area on my way home earlier (as close as I could get) and it was bad.  Last count was 19 houses (10 total loss), 2 injured firemen.  Over 500 people evacuated and 300 acres burned.  What really hit home was that the fire was immediately behind Walgreens.  It was much closer than I thought.

Last I saw, Bastrop was still burning and by far, the worst of all of the fires in the state (0% contained).  Something like 500 homes, 2 people, and 40,000 acres lost.

Please pray for the victims of the fires, the firemen, emergency personnel, all over the great state of Texas. God Bless Texas.

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