A wild fire broke out today in a neighbouring town. We could see the billowing smoke on the horizon. Storm clouds shaded strong winds that only dried the vegetation more, after days of searing heat.
I caught the scent of smoke on the breeze. My mind instantly went back to another summer, just a handful of years ago. That long, hot smoky summer when a wild fire raged in our community, burning for weeks and claiming over 200 homes.
I recall the sound of helicopters constantly overhead, like the soundtrack to a Viet Nam war movie. The smoke blocked out the sun; the air was suddenly, unnaturally cool. Ash fell like snowflakes to the ground.
One awful night we could see the fire creep steadily closer to our farm. We received notice of an evacuation alert, to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
We hurried around our home that evening, wondering what few items we would save. In the end, we packed a few blankets and pillows, a change or two of clothing, our bank and insurance papers, and our wedding photo album. What would you pack in that situation?
I’m thankful our home didn’t burn that summer, which made us luckier than several hundred other people. I send all my best wishes and good thoughts to everyone adversely affected by nature’s power – be it fire, hurricane, earthquake or flood.