I'm visiting my dad in Oklahoma. He lives in the middle of acres and acres of grass. In the winter time the grass gets bone dry and it doesn't take much to start a fire. Today was that day.
Around the middle of the day I told my dad that I smelled smoke and said I was going to take a look. I slid my feet into my boots and walked to the north end of the house and I saw a thin trail of smoke coming up from the backside of the hill about 1/4 of a mile away. So, I broke into a trot with the idea of crossing the barbed wire fence that separated our land from our neighbors land, so that I could alert them too. There isn't an Oklahoman (genuine or transplanted) that doesn't feel a shiver of fear when they hear the word FIRE this time of year.
But, I stopped for just a second to do what I always do when I need help, I called my older sister. I knew she would call everyone else. The conversation lasted about 15 seconds and consisted of "Fire! Heading towards Dad's house. I need help!" or something pretty close to that. Out in rural Oklahoma, we don't have big fancy fire station full of firefighters just hanging out til a fire happens or a big shiny fire truck or fancy equipment(more on that later). But, we do have some mighty nice trucks and a whole county full of volunteers who leave their "regular" jobs at a second's notice and come a'runnin when a neighbor is in trouble.
I banged on my neighbor's door and yelled FIRE a couple of times and then stepped aside as he came flying through the door and headed towards the back of his house. I turned and ran back towards my dad's house and forgot about the barbed wire fence that I had semi- gracefully crossed a few moments prior. There was nothing graceful about the head over hip pockets dive I took when my thighs tangled with the old fence. But, I got up and managed to yank myself free, feeling the terror start to squeeze my throat closed as the fire got closer by the second. Grass fire hisses as it comes towards you, just in case you were wondering.
I managed to get back to dad's house and grabbed a shovel then started back towards the fire and by this time my brother in law and nephew were there, they were working on their land not too far away and saw the smoke and didn't hesitate. Within a few moments friends and neighbors and relatives arrived and we managed to get ahead of the flames for a few moments. Then the wind gusted and the fire started to circle around from the northwest. Somewhere in there the volunteer firefighters showed up with the water trucks and they really made a huge difference. We all turned and stared in surprise as we heard a helicopter coming over the treetops with a water bucket hanging from it's belly.
It dropped bucket after bucket of water over the fire, refilling from a nearby stock pond and we all cheered and waved after each bucket.The helicopter was from a gas and oil seismograph company and someone told me they keep waterbuckets at their worksites, just in case there is a fire in their area. I will try to find out for sure the name of the company and post it here tomorrow.
Somewhere in the fire fighting I wound up with a unique piece of fight fighting equipment and in my opinion, the most effective thing I've ever used for fighting grass fires, a plain ole household mop. Not one of those with the sponges and tiny green scrubbers across the front, but the old fashioned ones that you have to wring out, I guess they are called a string mop. I know, you are thinking...huh? Trust me, for a woman its perfect, because I have no shame in admitting that I am not as strong as a man. For some reason my sister just happened to have it in the bed of her truck...I know...she is just cool like that sometimes.
All in all it was a good afternoon. We stopped the fire about 50 feet from my dad's house, no one was seriously injured and I got to meet a few folks I didn't know, but they knew my dad or one of my sisters. This is how country people handle a crisis. We don't bitch and whine and point fingers. We just get busy and do what needs to be done. And we damned sure don't wait for FEMA to show up and rescue us...
And these are the tough, self reliant people that will be waiting for you jihadis if you ever have a "catastrophic failure in your targeting selection process"(I read that somewhere, but I can't remember where...please forgive me for not citing sources, Im tired tonight) Don't do it. Period.