Sunday, June 15, 2008

Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

There was an interesting event that happened here in North Carolina recently. On June 1, a forest fire was started by a strike of lightening on the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, about 150 miles from where we live. Over a period of about 2 weeks, it spread - burning almost 40,000 acres. I don't think I would have even heard about this wildfire, except that the wind shifted and blew the smoke inland to our counties.

I was taking out the trash one night and I noticed a strange, acrid smell in the air. I actually thought we might have had a gas
leak and started sniffing around. I couldn't detect anything and when I went out front, the smell was still there - and was hanging around the next morning.

It wasn't until I got to work and heard the news that the strange smell and morning "fog" was actually the smoke from the wildfire. The amazing thing was it was so thick, even 150 miles away! It filled the warehouse, burned your nose, made your eyes water. The horizon had a sickening sort of orange hue. It reminded me of an excerpt from Dr. Suess' "The Lorax" book:

"'I am the Lorax,' he coughed and he whiffed.

He sneezed and he snuffled. He snarggled. He sniffed.
'Once-ler! You're making such smogulous smoke!

My poor Swomme-Swans... why, they can't sing a note!
No one can sing who has smog in his throat.'"

Here are some pictures I pulled from our local news on this story:

This all reminded me of a firefighter training slow-burn that we went to last year at a house out in the country. Our neighbor used to be on the force and is now a volunteer. He provided hot dogs and burgers to all the new trainees and invited us to come watch. It was really fascinating and I got some great pictures, like the one above. (See more of these shots on Sunniviews...)

I don't think it's often that we have wildfires as big as this one in North Carolina. Of course, I was pretty worried about the wildlife in the forest, but a press release from the refuge website indicates that a majority of the wildlife will have escaped the fire. Their survival instincts will lead them to thinner air, so that's a relief! And I'm sure that the fine folks on the refuge will do their best to help all the displaced animals return to a normal existence.

Today we have rain and that should help the firefighting efforts. Hopefully, they will be able to quell the blaze. Big news for a small town!

P.S. You may also be interested in my dad's piece on the wildfire while he was traveling this week...


Jan said...

Those are not fun at all. I get scared when there if fire surrounding me. I know the days of haze. It makes the whole earth around you feel sort of eeery huh.

Great pictures and hope all is well there in beautiful North C.

It looks so quaint where you live.
Have a great day with your family.

Kathleen Grace said...

I just hate to hear about the fires that destroy so many acres. I know that nature can recover and that a born off can actually be good for the forest, but it is so destructive and would be so frightening to live close to! I hope they get it out soon.

Frumpy Luv said...

These can be pretty scary - glad the wildlife is OK. Thanks for this post.

Tara said...

What a shame! I am glad it wasn't too close to you, tho!

rr40 said...

Thanks for the news in RDU.
When Mom told me about this and it looked like a worsening situation I was 3oo miles inland and could smell it. It seems foolish now but I went and got some surgical masks for the weekend. Mom LOL when I wore one in the door on my Friday return.

Donna said...

It was really bad here, Jen. I woke up that first morning and thought something in the neighborhood just burned down, it smelled like it was right next door!
It was hard to breathe outside, the smell was so strong.