300 Scorched

So, I am giving my lecture and presentation to our new employees during orientation and I get a text from my wife. ‘You need to call me NOW!!!!’ Yes there were multiple exclamation points… What concerned me was the capital letters in now. Many of you are or may be familiar with my wife’s present condition so naturally I became a little freaked. When I called her and she told me part of our town was on fire I became less worried..even if it was only three blocks from our home. We live in an area surrounded by pine trees and sandy soil….and highly combustible during certain times of year.

Multiple Hot Spots
Multiple Hot Spots

As residents on the edge of the NJ Pine Barrens we are prone to some major forest fires every now and then. The last major one was 12 years ago. Over 1200 acres burned then but surprisingly only one house was destroyed, though many were severely damaged. I remember the huge ashes floating onto our lawn, I remember soaking our property and spraying our roof with the garden hose because of those pieces of ash.

This one “only” took 300 acres however it was much much closer and considerably more concentrated to major residential areas than the last one. In the back yards over 600 homes evacuated close. Through the efforts of the NJ State Fire Service and multiple neighborhood fire companies no homes were lost. There was some melted siding, destroyed fencing and smoke damage to many homes in the area but all remained structurally intact. Freaking amazing…While the forest guys were doing what they do best, the local departments were camped out in the back yards of the homes on the edge of the blaze. Again, an absolutely amazing job protecting the lives and properties of many families.

Less than half a mile away…the tree line runs the length of our street. This one area provided constant problems throughout the evening:

Ignition point
Ignition point

These guys were very active throughout the afternoon…

Copter drop
Copter drop
Fixed wing in on the action
Fixed wing in on the action
Fill 'er up
Fill ‘er up

There were three major spots trying to be contained and every now and then it seems one of them would flare up.

A flare up being knocked down

As things settled down a bit I received a guided tour of a contained area from some friends down the street

Section of aftermath
Section of aftermath

And then! One breaks out behind us in the state park. I was personally OK with the ones down the street, the wind was blowing away from the homes but there was no telling what this new one, out of no where, was going to do. Resources were immediately deployed and  containment was quick.

Surrounded
Surrounded

Once it got dark things were a bit eerie. Unable to see the smoke and more importantly unable to see what direction it was traveling we packed our bags just in case….Then a flare up very close to the suspected ignition point happened.

Flare up
Flare up

Wowowowowowowowwow! Later on in the evening, @10 hours after it all began the police removed the first roadblock from the corner. There would be crews working all night long but having our street opened made sleeping much easier. For me anyway. I am a bit desensitized to all the madness because of what I do but I can not even imagine the feeling those families closet to the fire felt. We got very lucky in this one. Let’s hope when the next one happens we are just as prepared and just as lucky.

Thanks for stopping by, Till next time….

A Funny Thing Happened…

Exit 82 Theater’s production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is now underway at the Arts and Community Center of Ocean County College. I just completed my third production photographing this troupe and each show I do they get better and better. Entering just its sixth season, a core group of super talented producers and performers and have emerged leading the way for three productions this year. Mind you, these are all volunteer performers doing it for the love of the art and it shines as bright as the sun. I think I was laughing so hard at one point my 1/1000 shutter speed was not quick enough to prevent some blur. Had to regain composure rather abruptly so I could take care of the task at hand.

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

I am really liking this next image. Lycus is the character’s name.

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

Enjoyment and surprise…

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

 

Satisfaction and disbelief…

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

Song…

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

Hysterium gets my award for best expressions. His character had a very strong presence during the show.

Hysterium

The Roman Captain, Does he get the girls?

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

Words of wisdom…

Exit 82 Theater COmpany

This show runs through Sunday, if you are in the area looking for a good adventure grab your tickets and help support the local arts.

Thanks for stopping by, Till the next time….

 

A Young Dancer’s Words

I wanted to share something my daughter recently wrote. She has been a recreational dancer for the past 9 years and has participated on our dance schools competition team for the last 4 years. All those things that young teens do to their parents vanish when they are at dance and I am thankful that she has this opportunity and that she is growing because of it.

Explosion_PShepherd-3-2

 

You can’t just do dance. It’s all about having the passion within, and connecting to the music through the moves. It’s about feeling every single step, and always trying your hardest. It’s about enjoying yourself and having fun. Dance is a story within your soul. I don’t dance because I have to, I dance because it makes me happy.

B.A.S. 4/2014

 

“Dance is a story within your soul”

Wow, such a strong, passionate and meaningful statement from a young teenager. You go young love, pen us some more prose! Of course as a parent one can not ask one to write more, we just have to wait till it happens again. Encourage delicately….

BrittPointdress_pShepherd-47

Hat throw

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bfl_pSp-2

Keep on Dancing!