Winds easing on FHR — Palo Pinto PK East Fire 17 APR 11

Flying Hat Ranch, 7:15 p.m. CDT, looking southward, wind is dying down.

Our back porch at Flying Hat Ranch, early evening after watching for fires today.

Here in Texas we have our disasters and I read today that Raleigh, North Carolina, has been hit hard by tornadoes.  These are events I do not like to have in common.

The winds are still high at 8:30 p.m., but are diminishing on our place in north Erath County, Texas (Flying Hat Ranch or FHR).  As you can see from the photos, we are fortunate that Spring has greened the pastures and trees about our porch and pastures.  North of us, only five miles or so, the country is not as green and in the Cross Timbers area north of Strawn, cedar trees and dry grass give fuel for fire.  I have neither heard nor read how these fires started, but arson is not suspected.  These events tumble out of random, discrete events, and we will probably never know how these fires began.

Here are photos taken this afternoon from the field.  All of these photos are north of Strawn, Texas, or at the command post.  Strawn is ten miles northwest of our place.

The order to evacuate Strawn is based on systematic criteria by the Texas Forest Service, Department of Public Safety and other state offices.  Strawn is not a ghost town as the result of the order, but villagers are quite cautious, standing in the yards and making their decisions to stay or leave.  I saw no panic or flight of citizens.  There were several dozens of horse trailers pulling horses going out of town along Davidson Cemetery Road.

With a click of your mouse, you may enlarge these photos.

North of Strawn on SH 16, six miles, looking west towards Ranger Hill area.

Bulldozers in field, cutting fire lanes along ranch pastures.

Cedar trees bursting in flame along SH 16.

Panoramic picture of fires west and northwest of Strawn.

Looking southward towards Strawn on SH 16.

North of Strawn, on Robinson Road. Fence posts burned from fire two days ago.

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12 Comments

Filed under Wildfire

12 responses to “Winds easing on FHR — Palo Pinto PK East Fire 17 APR 11

  1. The new green around your area sure will help if fires get to there! I was also very interested to see the dozers: they can make some excellent fire lines, and quickly!

  2. It is a relief to read you all made it through today.
    Thanks for all of the good reports.

  3. Wow, enlarging the photos gives me a much better perspective of all of the havoc around you. I especially liked the photo looking towards Strawn on SH 16. Despite the fire damage it gives me a good look of the country you live in Jack, raw and beautiful!

    • It is raw and beautiful. I gritch and groan sometimes when my stoicism breaks down in these heat, but traveling out of the area brings me a homesickness for the mesquite and cactus. I know I could adjust elsewhere, but it would take time. We’ve thought about moving northward to New Mexico and may still yet.

  4. Thank you for your update and for these pictures. Wild Bill has said exactly my thoughts, raw beauty. Seeing smoke is one thing, but seeing flames is another. I recall one particular fire that was burning Taos Mountain. While driving into town from SF you could see the line of flames around its midsection. Tears spilled spontaneously. Another time, my sister, who lived not far from where I am now and who now lives near Boerne TX, was out of town when fires broke out in the state forests around us. I was close by so called her, then went to her home to retrieve personal belongings and what I could of value. Her western oil paintings were on her list!

    Thanks for allowing us into this difficult time. Storms have wreaked havoc all around. I hear through one news source, but don’t know it’s validity, that one fire near your area was started by a welder’s torch. But, who knows. Surely, everyone is careful. We would hope.

    • Quite so, Teresa. It has been exhausting for the fire fighters. There’s 1,200 fighting about here.
      We have paintings, photographs and books on our list.
      The start of these fires may have been a welder’s torch.
      It’s hard to believe things got out of hand so suddenly.

  5. Everything around NM is ready for a small mistake to ignite the State on Fire.

    This is a very dry year

  6. No rain for your state or mine, thanks for the updates and pictures, my prayers are out to you

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