Yesterday was a scary day around our house. As some of you may know, we have had a serious drought in South Florida for what seems like several years now. Water restrictions never seem to be lifted and fireworks have been banned on the 4th for the last four or five years. Brush fires and forest fires from carelessness or lighting strikes, occur regularly all over the state.
We have been safe so far until yesterday afternoon, when lighting started a brush fire half a mile from my house. It was mid-afternoon and I heard thunder coming. It did not rain, all we had was dry lighting and thunder. Looking out the window the clouds on the horizon slowly started to turn beautiful shades of orange and red. For a minute I thought, "what a pretty sunset", then I remembered it was 2pm.
In less than five minutes the skies turned black and the neighborhood children started running down the street towards the smoke. Within another five minutes, sirens could be heard coming from all directions followed by helicopters. It finally dawned on me: the woods were on fire! My first thought was to stay calm and try not to scare my son. He wanted to go follow the firetrucks not really knowing what a wildfire means.
I went online to listen to the local police scanner and they were calling for more trucks and thinking about evacuations. So we had to think fast about what to gather up and get the animals ready to get in the car. After I got everything in order that I thought was important, we waited and watched. The turnpike (which runs along side my neighborhood) was shut down and bulldozers came in to try and create a boundary.
After five hours of work, the firefighters got it about 50% contained. Only one house had some damage and the back yards of many were scorched. We did not have to leave, but I was ready to go.
This morning it's 90% contained with the ashes still smoldering. I was awake all night, watching the skies and wondering how we would cope if a fire destroyed our home.
I have been through about ten hurricanes in my life, including the 2004 storms that took the roof off my house while I was in it, alone and eight months pregnant. They were scary, but not like yesterday. I was terrified on the inside and organized mommy on the outside. My son now has a new respect for fire, which is a good thing. Tonight I hope to sleep again.
Firefighters have to be some of the bravest people around and I'm am so thankful they are willing to risk their lives for us! Today they are calling for lightening storms again and I sure hope some rain comes with it this time. Meanwhile, I'm going to get a few new hoses hooked up to the house and then maybe teach my son a rain dance. Stay safe everyone this summer, safe and prepared.