Fire, cloud, rain 18 APR 11

It is not likely that rain will fall out of this cloud, but I can’t predict the weather.  I write and I photograph.

At about 2:00 p.m., CDT, I drove on the south side of Possum Kingdom Lake and photographed the ignition of fires on the west side of SH 16, north of US 180.  Please see my previous post for the photographs.  The smoke clouds began to rise and extend heavenward beyond what I could imagine.

Thirty-minutes ago at 7:00 p.m., from my front pasture, maybe twenty-thirty miles away, I shot the following photograph of cumulus clouds that had arisen from the fire five hours ago over Possum Kingdom.   The photograph is not artsy, but documentary, and signifies a correlation of natural forces that are comprehensible, yet in the narrative of this terrible tragedy cannot be understood.

From the anguish and death of this Possum Kingdom fire, clouds form out of dust and ashes, rising so high they become cumulus.  On other days, they might of yielded rain to parched pastures in Texas and Oklahoma.  The connection between destruction and creation is just confusing right now, but it is how things are.

Out of fire, a cloud, perhaps rain.

This is the photograph without the telescopic lens. I am looking north from our place in north Erath County across the Nowack ranch where they have set up vehicles for evacuation if necessary.


Corrections applied to third and fourth paragraphs, breaking up several compound sentences in original publication.  It’s an imperfect world and so are  fourth drafts.


Filed under Wildfire

4 responses to “Fire, cloud, rain 18 APR 11

  1. Caralee Woods

    Jack, do they know what caused this tragedy? Can you possibly imagine the suffering caused to so many innocent beings? I heard today that 1,000 square miles have been burned. That’s almost impossible to fathom.

  2. I’m glad to see that you and yours are still safe and not affected, Jack! Keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. I’ve only seen pyrocumulus clouds once. Two years ago we watched them from the beach at Matagorda when Parks and Wildlife was burning off refuge land. It was astonishing.

    Anthony Watts has a HD time-lapse video of pyrocumulus formation around the Station Fire in California that’s both amazing and terrifying..

    11 p.m. here and the wind still is strong from the south. It seems you’ll get your frontal passage about 24 hours from now. The thought of a strong north wind is making me nervous on your behalf.

  4. I understand the focus on this, the ‘drop-everything and be present with it’ aspect. Almost a year ago there was a big fire in the community directly west of us across the river – and from our house we could see the orange glowing clouds of the burning, close to the ground, at dusk. It feels like a protective instinct is taking over and all you can do is call folks to make sure things are getting taken care of, or walk down the street to make sure you keep on top of it.

    I hope they will call to tell you don’t come in to teach, you might be exhausted – and you may not have a choice, and be forced to stay home. I sure hope you do have a choice, though.

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