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Red Flag Warning

It's fairly rare for Indiana to be warned of fire dangers.  Usually it's just too danged wet in the summer.  Wet enough that folks leave piles of brush burning in their back fields and never worry about it.  But this year, drought has turned lawns into straw and acres of corn into fields of yucca-impersonating spikes.

Today it's 106, with dry and gusty winds.

Today the weather service issued this:
A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS...LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.

Some of you know I get a little tense this time of year because, when I was a kid, fireworks set fire to my home.  It was the days before smoke alarms were standard household items.  We were awakened sometime after midnight by people banging on the bedroom rooms and screaming at us to get out.  I stood in the front yard and watched my dad, dragging a garden hose, try to climb onto the burning roof.  We lost the garage and everything stored in it, but the firewall kept the house from being consumed.

It isn't uncommon for me to walk outside, over and over, on the night of the Fourth, to check the roof for smoke.

Later in life, I watched wildfires march over the mountains toward the city I was living in.  Thankfully, then didn't get closer than about six, seven miles.  But later that year, I spent a day on that burned mountain helping a friend salvage bits and pieces from the ruins of homes consumed in another fire.  Just a couple years ago, on the farm, I had to help fight a small brush fire when winds shifted toward nearby homes.  The soles of my shoes melted that day.

So the whole "EXPLOSIVE FIRE POTENTIAL" thing unnerves me greatly.  Watching video from Colorado Springs is heartbreaking.

When dusk comes, I'll begin watering a ring of grass around my house.  My defensible perimeter.  All I can think of is how quickly fire can move, and how all it would take is some idiot tossing a lit cigarette out the car window.

And my garden looks as if everything decided to lean over and take a nap.

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blairmacg
Blair MacGregor
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