Saturday, February 11, 2006

controled burn?

i wanted an easy day of work around here yesterday because i my muscles were still sore from cutting cedars. i decided to burn a small patch of (to be shaded pasture) above the ravine. the leaves were very thick. the scrub and saplings were fairly dense. i raked a fire break around the area and decided to burn across the ravine at the rock-pile-crossing. the leaves were especially thick there but i wanted to be able to use the crossing in case that is were the pigs will end up.

the wind was calm and i started the fire. i also had two piles of brush and dead logs that i was burning. i added to these as the day went on. everything was going as planned i was very happy with the results. oh the old trash that i found, a bunch of slobs must have lived here for many years.

the fire just whimpered along burning to the edges of my area and happily extinguishing. then when it crossed the rock-pile-crossing the wind strangely kicked up and it started to really burn i thought cool this will go faster. then it happened the fire leapt across the fire break at the worst possible place. the leaves were thick and it was at the bottom of the ravine. the fire got way hotter and started to climb up both sides of the ravine. holy crap--i ran down and commenced to rake another fire break--in the thick smoke. this one was done quickly and not nearly as wide. the fire leapt across it a second time. arragh!!!!

at this time tabitha was coming over to tell me that lunch was ready. she asked is everything alright? "i said NO." she replied get out of the smoke and is this a wild fire? i didn't answer. i got busy raking another break then my rake broke in half. i guess i was raking too frantically. i used the stump of a rake and continued to rake and stomp the flames that were leaping toward me. i resorted to stomping on the fire with my shoes. this only slowed the inevitable. my dying of smoke inhalation and the entire county burning to the ground.

then it happened as quickly as it started. the wind stopped--it died to nothing and i could finally manage the few remaining flames. i put everything out except the fallen wood that had caught on fire. i asked tabitha to get my sprayer and fill it with water. she called me from the house to come get it--too heavy. i sprayed all the wood--ten or so trips to re-fill my three gallon sprayer and the fire was just a steamy mess.

whew that was a close one. one broken rake, scalded shoe laces and a humbled ego. the moral of the story: rake wider fire breaks, have the hose streched closer to the event and don't be stupid.
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