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.
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:
These guys were very active throughout the afternoon…
There were three major spots trying to be contained and every now and then it seems one of them would flare up.
As things settled down a bit I received a guided tour of a contained area from some friends down the street
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.
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.
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….