The Desolation of Smaug

While dragons are known for their fondness for gold and jewels, they are also known for the destruction they leave in their wake. My dragon was no exception.

This photo is from a news source taken shortly after I reported the fire. (One of the fire crew later told me he was heading north to Albuquerque when he was notified and that he could see the fire in his rear view mirror from about 30 miles away.)

Within a very short time after I called 911, the first crews started responding. All told, in addition to the local volunteer fire department (I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful these people are — they train on their own time, take time off from jobs to respond to fires and pay for almost all, if not all, of their personal equipment out of their own pocket. Please support your local fire crews!!!) there were boots on the ground from both federal and state agencies.

From another news agency:

On the south east side of my property (you can see my neighbor’s house after their fence burned)

The acreage on my property that fronted the road was heavily treed with primarily tamarisk (salt cedar) and a few other tree species. Over the years I had been having it thinned out but even after several years of fairly steady cutting, it was still very thick with trees. I did have grasses and other vegetation that had gotten started where the trees had been thinned out which, because of the dry conditions, just served as tinder to the fire.

Despite the devastation, no one was injured and while my neighbor to the north lost a couple of outbuildings and the one to the south lost a privacy fence, no one lost a house. All of my animals survived.

After the fire crews left on Friday, my concern was not having a way to secure the property as the gate posts had burned and the gates could not be closed and locked. Since I live in a great community with lots of support, an acquaintance came through and located a couple of men to come out and rebuild the H-braces holding the gates. So on Saturday morning while my neighbor and I did some quick and dirty fence repair  in a couple of places on the south side of the property, two great gentlemen came out and spent a miserable day in the sun, digging out the remnants of the buried railroad ties and dropping new ties in and otherwise doing all the hard work required in building H-braces. They were quick, efficient and did a wonderful job. My stress levels dropped enormously once I could secure the property again.

The photo I had put up a couple of days ago showed the burnt post from the other side of the gate. The H-braces on both sides were replaced/repaired and the gates rehung.

Since I ran two different vehicles off my property on Friday while the gates were not functional I decided that sadly it was probably time for me to post the property. So they even kindly hung my new fence sign.

Fix Standing Guard Duty

Again, I can’t express how appreciative I am that they came out on a Saturday (and holiday weekend to boot) to help me out. (Notice the surviving tree in the background – fire is a strange beast.) At some point in the next week I will do a final blog post on the fire and will include some tips for dealing with a fire. (After two fires in the immediate area in three years I think I can offer some useful advice so hopefully it will help someone in the future.)

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