TexasEscapes.com  
HOME : : NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : BUILDINGS : : IMAGES : : ARCHIVE : : SITE MAP
PEOPLE : : PLACES : : THINGS : : HOTELS : : VACATION PACKAGES
TEXAS TOWNS
Texas Escapes
Online Magazine
Texas | Columns | "It's All Trew"

Wildfires top
long list of life's hazards

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
About the time I think I have "seen all, been there and done that" I encounter a new experience.

The recent big prairie fires top all my life's previous dangerous episodes.

I have suffered frostbite from being out in blizzards trying to save cattle, been caught in the open prairie with hailstones big as your fist bouncing off my head, survived floods with eight inches of rain raging along every creek and canyon, fighting prairie and wheat fires from Perryton to Canadian to New Mexico to back here at the ranch. I have survived countless horse wrecks and a couple of car wrecks, and thought I had experienced all the occupational hazards of agriculture and life in general. I was wrong.

Sunday and Monday, March 12 and 13, take the grand prize of all my lifems chapters. We were told by telephone a fire was burning along McClellan Creek north of the ranch. With winds at 60 mph, a prairie fire would move fast. We drove to a hilltop on Interstate 40 to see the fire already past our ranch moving to the northeast. It appeared to be past us and we prepared to go help our neighbors. Suddenly, the wind changed to the north and instead of a narrow fire burning northeast, we were faced with a 20-mile-wide fire traveling south straight to our ranch. We sat in the car and watched it cross both interstates and exit roads in seconds. We raced back to our home and prepared to fight as long as possible.

We had a big submergible water pump and garden hoses laid around preparing to start our spring watering. Sadly, the electricity was already off and our plans were useless. We called 911 several times, but all units were overwhelmed and busy. We were on our own. At times our efforts resembled the Keystone Cops or the Three Stooges in action. No matter what we did, the winds changed, speeded up or down, and our efforts were wasted. Using brooms, rakes and shovels, we fought the blazes and at other times fled for our lives. We tried to keep in mind that old people do not have any business fighting fires, but we had too much at stake. We rested at times but always returned to the fire line. We stopped the blaze at our house foundation. We lost our shop and gallery, 30 feet to the north. A large cedar tree exploded and set the building on fire. Without water we could do nothing but try to keep the sparks away from our house. Sons and nephews came from Taos, N.M., Lubbock, Amarillo and Lefors early the next morning. We fought fires all day in continually changing winds.

By mid-afternoon, the Texas Forest Service arrived with graders and finally contained the blazes. We prowled the pastures and watched all the second night trying to keep smoking stumps and cow chips from igniting again. Finally on Tuesday, we were able to relax. We lost more than half our grass, but it will grow back. We lost a six-room house containing a well-equipped wood shop and a lot of materials. This was insured and can be replaced. Sadly, we lost many of our lifetime collections, sculptures, art and family keepsakes forever. Other than coughing and a few dizzy spells we survived. We are thankful.


Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
November 14, 2006 Column


Related Topics:
Small Town Sagas | Columns | People | Texas Towns | Texas |
Custom Search
TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | HOTELS | SEARCH SITE
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

Texas Attractions
TEXAS FEATURES
People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes. All Rights Reserved