Sunday, April 23

Brush fires and the panic that ensues

One of the first neighbors of the farm we met was this little guy, Fizwad.

Fiz, as he's known, lives on the 160 acres to the west with the Blakemore's. He's a friendly little guy and I think he's going to enjoy having some canine compadres when we get our four out to the farm.

It finally appeared it was going to rain at the farm today, it has been quite dry in the area. We had brought a trailer load of garage things to unload and thought it would be a good time to burn a brush pile.

Such things make me extremely nervous. The pile was large and in close proximity to the house (you can see the deck railing in the photo), trees, and other combustable things (like a 500 gallon propane tank). My dad was with me and he was confident in his brush-pile-burning ability. Given the impending rain and the direction of the wind I agreed it would be relatively safe to burn the pile. The pile was a mixture of an old shed that was demolished, some very dry cedar, and other brush. Within 20 seconds of lighting the fire we had quite the show on our hands.

Cedar burns like gasoline: hot and quick. As soon as the fire burst into the air critters of all sorts scurried out from what was once their shelter. Several rabbits sprinted out confusedly, one making a quick left turn just before plowing into me. I was able to catch a shot of this critter who didn't take too kindly to the heat. Dad wanted to kill him but I'd rather have a few snakes around versus mice or rats. We let him climb up to into the saftey of the tree.

We watched the fire closely and wet down any embers that got away. Soon we were raking the coals and logs into a successively smaller pile. My dad and I would take turns getting close to the heat and pushing logs closer to the flames. It rained on an off while we finshed off the pile, cooling us down as well as giving me sense of comfort that we wouldn't burn the entire place down.

We were standing back taking a break when a rabbit and former resident of the brush pile started scurrying behind us. I watched as Fiz had taken an interest in the rabbit as well. The little rabbit zigged this way then that with Fiz in close pursuit. Then the rabbit did the unthinkable, he made a line straight into the burn pile, and right behind him, was Fiz.

It was like watching a movie in slow motion. We were both so stunned and it took me a moment before I began yelling at Fiz to get away. But it was too late. Fiz didn't stay long in the coals before he yelped and tore out of there (as did the rabbit). I tried to get him to come back to me so I could wash him down and check him out but he took off to the west for home.

I called our neighbors to tell them what had happened. I was worried Fiz had hurt himself. The neighbors eventually came over to show us that Fiz, while a little singed here and there, was alright. Apparently Fiz went straight to the pond for a swim before heading home. They had given him a bath and checked him out before bringing him back to apologize. I assured them no apology was necessary, we were just glad Fiz wasn't hurt.

When we were statisfied that we had burnt enough off we began spreading out the coals for a nice soaking with the hose. After creating a sufficient mixture of ash and mud we called it quits and headed for back to Springfield.

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pablo said...

Excellent tale. I'm glad the burn was a success too. And Fizwad just might be the very finest name for a dog I have ever heard.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Did someone say fire? ...AAARGH!!

We have been plagued by fires. Check out my posts here:

meghann said...

I'm glad fizwald was okay!

Duane Keys said...

Fizwad is a great name isn't it?

Hal, I thought you might have something to say about fire! :)

Meghann, I bet Fiz will be back to visit us more, despite having all his whiskers singed!