Tuesday, October 11, 2005

fully involved

On the way home from work last week I noticed a slight smudge in the sky. That could only mean one thing - fire. I was headed toward R.F. Houtz's to get my tractor tire repaired and knowing that the only structures in the westerly direction included the high school and some farms, I made the decision to investigate.

There's always a camera, or two or three packed in a backpack in the trunk. Unfortunately the "big gun" with telephoto lenses was back at the ranch, batteries being recharged.

From the time I spotted the slight grey smudge until I arrived on the scene was only about 3 miles and 5 minutes time. There was no way getting closer, the small country road was blocked off and starting to clog with small town volunteer fire departments (more about that later). Everyone be in awe of my drive to get the shot. I marched about 3/4 of an acre into a really rough field in really bad shoes.

The corn was high enough (in it's pathetic state) to obscure the large horse barn that literally became this fully involved in about 5 minutes. There are no speculations yet as to the cause of the blaze, but 31 horses were killed. Hay stacked in a barn can reach an inner temperature to ignite, but we will see what the investigating ATF has to say about it.

Fire is a dangerous and awesome, and wickedly beautiful power. I think that man cannot even dream of the power that mother nature is able to unleash. In the days of pioneers a prairie fire was an unspoken terror.


KatKit13 said...

My heart just broke when I read 31 horses were killed. How horribly sad.

I've seen my share of bad barn fires, growing up in Amish country. You never ever get used to them.

pablo said...

This is a highly dramatic post. Unfortunate about those horses, though. We get (mostly) controlled ground fires in the spring, and sometimes the prescribed burns in the Kansas Flint Hills put a red glow on the western horizon at night. But all of that is intentional and mostly under control. Disasters like this one are reminders of how our progress is only provisional.

andrea said...

Amazing photo! You are a true photographer to do what you did to get it. As for fires, I live right beside the largest undeveloped urban landmass in North America (Burns Bog) and there was a 200+ hectare bog fire there lst month. The aerial photos were amazing but I couldn't get near enough to take any photos. And I had to dust after the fallout of smoke and ash! :(

srp said...

How awful to hear about the horses. Fire is a horrible way for animals to die. So sad.

Sandra said...

Good photo of the billowing smoke but such a sad event. A few years ago there was a barn fire about an hour away from me where hundreds of hogs perished.

Hick said...

In my part of the country (Sierra Nevada Mountains) fires are huge problems. I live in the forest and we are always worried about fire. Good pictures.