Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fire alarm

It's a KintlaLake morning ritual -- at 5am I stumble down to the kitchen, fetch two cups of black coffee and bring them back to the bedroom for my wife and me to sip while watching local TV news.

Today, the secondary story was about a fire that overnight had consumed ten acres of grassland near the wildlife refuge I'd visited Sunday morning. According to the report, a stolen SUV had been driven off the road and into a field, then set alight. (It's also conceivable, I think, that it simply had been abandoned, its red-hot catalytic converter igniting the tall, dry grass.)

The news gave me a bad feeling. It bothered me that anything might threaten our small island of wildness, the park where my family and I have hiked and where I managed to find a moment's peace by the pondside a few days ago.

I just got back from the site of the fire, and I'm glad to say that the wildlife refuge was spared. It looked to me like firefighters did a helluva job containing it, breaking the burn before it caught a stand of tall trees -- and had that happened, it might've jumped a road and spread into the park. Also, the scorched area stopped about 50 yards from a nearby house, which I learned had been evacuated briefly as a precaution.

Right now the skies are giving us a wonderful, soaking rain. Fire's out, all's well.