Brushfire!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cygnet, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    So I was on the way to the feed store to pick up the baby turkeys they'd ordered me, when I saw a small plume of smoke from one street over from mine -- about half a mile from my house.

    This is brush fire season, and the grass around here burns with the approximate speed and intensity of flash paper. It's bone dry and knee deep.

    So I moseyed on over, expecting someone was doing a controlled burn -- which would be stupid, given there was about a 30mph wind, but hey, "stupid" happens. About an acre was burning ... and nobody around. And it was REALLY burning hot, burning up into the desert trees.

    Whoops.

    Spun around, headed home because I couldn't get a cel signal, caught my neighbor in his yard, yelled at him to call it in, then wheeled around again and headed back and started banging on doors warning folks it's coming -- drove up and down the street with my hand on the horn, yelling, "FIRE!" -- these are all rural 1-2 acre parcels, and it was amazing the number of people who didn't know it was coming. Also the number of people who stopped to help spread the word and help with the fire was great. By this time, the sky was orange and the smoke was black and it was going pretty good.

    I ran home again at some point, got some shovels, and passed the shovels out to volunteers who were digging with their bare hands.

    Took the fire department about 1/2 an hour to get there -- about twenty or thirty of us pitched in before they got there to save a couple of houses in the direct line. Some people were throwing dirt on the fire with their bare hands ... anyone who's ever lived in the desert just winced, I bet, at that concept, too. (I've got stickers in my hands I'll be digging out for days, I think, and I burned the hair off of my arms ...)

    One shack burned but nobody living in it, just an old shack. Also some 55gallon drums of mystery substance burned with a nice hot black smoke. Dunno what that was -- looked like an abandoned homestead, coulda been there for 50 years. We stayed welllll clear.

    Once the fire fighters showed up, they put us to work cutting a fire line -- you know you're in a rural area when the fire department hands the bystanders shovels and tells 'em to pitch in and help! Somebody also showed up with a brand new bulldozer and started knocking down trees.

    All told, it burned an area about half a mile by 1/4 mile -- maybe 150 acres -- but no homes lost. The firemen said if we locals hadn't jumped in, they would have lost some houses. They really didn't have the manpower to do it without help ...

    You know, I like my neighborhood ... it says something about the kind of folks out here that we'd all chip in like that. We may be rednecks, but we all hang together. Like I told the firemen, if it was my house in the literal line of fire, I'd want help from MY neighbors ...

    Found out the fire department out here is really underfunded, too. They said one big thing they want is an air compressor for their air tanks -- they literally don't have one and have to go to neighboring fire depts. to refill them if they need air tanks for a fire.

    Leva
    (wheeze, wheeze, wheeze)
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    Controled burns start at the downwind side, the fire must advance into the wind; that is your first clue about the nature of any fire you might encounter.
     

  3. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Have it every year around my place 99% of the time its arson.This year so far around here it has only bruned a couple thousand acres and killed one person.

    Worst year I seen it burned 10,000 acres in just my area.

    big rockpile
     
  4. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Usually around here, it's someone either burning trash or arson.

    In this case, some of the people there before me said they saw a little kid on the scene who may have started it. I didn't see the kid, and I was there early on, but it was already big and smoky even then.

    Leva

     
  5. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A few years ago, I was out in the pasture and noticed some smoke, decided to check it out, drove up to it and got out, and started with a shovel and said no way, jumped back in and drove back home called it in and got into the tractor and took the disk down to the fire, I disked the edge of the fire for over 8 miles, and finally it was stooped by the interstate road there were 5 or 6 fire departments and about a dozen privately own water trucks (fertilizer and farmers), I got caught in it once, (came up against a fence and I should have just tore through the fence, know better next time), and pulled the disk out of the ground and put it next to the high gear and head straight into and through the fire, (grass fires are usually just a few feet in depth of actual burring) and keep going until I could breath again, (was in a cabbed tractor), but on the way out the water pump pulley actually wore in to and cut the belt off the water pump and alternator,

    that was about a 7000 acre fire, and they credited my tractor and disk with saving three farms, and thousands of acer of grass, even tho there were 6 or 7 departments on the fire it still was not enough equipment

    the next day, I was looking over the tractor and all the plastic on the side the fire was on was melted I was only running the disk just on the edge of the fire about 16" cutting a fire and rolling it out,

    I know the type of day you had and how you felt, we don't have the houses around but, when your dry and there is grass and wind It can be a real mess, throw in fire and you have a disaster,
     
  6. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..................THIS is the very reason that I always keep the area around my building Mowed and keep the grass cut very Short!! With alittle wind these fires can travel very fast and destroy anything in their path that is flammable . fordy.. :)