Thursday, February 14, 2008

Grass Fire

Looking north, from near where the fire startedA little excitement for our Valentine's Day week -- a grass fire swept over the property yesterday when a neighbor's rubbish fire got out of control. Disclaimer up front -- Nothing was harmed (other than grass) during this incident.

We weren't actually at the site when it happened, but here's what we have pieced together: Our oh-so-intelligent neighbors to the south were burning some trash, and perhaps didn't attend the fire quite as closely as they should have. A light breeze is almost always blowing on the ridge even when the rest of the state is quite still, so a spark must have been blown over into the tall grass of the vacant property between us. Our weather for the last week has been cold but dry, so the dead grass caught readily. The fire swept through the vacant lot, pushed north by the wind towards the dome.
The lower meadow, to the west of the domeIt got down into the lower portion of our property, the meadow where the leach lines for the septic tank were dug, and burned some grass down there. You can see that it passed over so quickly, though, that the trees are unscathed. I don't think we lost any trees at all; even the tiny apple trees in the orchard seem to be largely untouched.
Standing near the garage door, looking southMore frighteningly, the fire also came right up to the propane tank behind the dome, but the fire department was on scene by this time and knocked the flames down before anything could happen there. The tank isn't even scorched. We had the gas company people come out to inspect it, just to be on the safe side, but there's not a thing amiss with it. (You can see the oh-so-intelligent neighbors' house in the distance of this picture.)

All told, around five acres burned. I am thankful that this turned out to be a minor-sidebar type of story -- it could have been much, much worse. Also, two good things will come of this little adventure: 1) The grass will come in green and lush in the burn areas this spring. 2) I won't have to work very hard to convince Mike of the virtues of brush-hogging the property this year.