Saturday, March 12, 2011

Taking Control of a "Controlled" Burn

If you live out in the country, chances are at some point you have a neighbor who will do a controlled burn of their pasture. Our neighbor did one today. I saw the smoke when I was in my greenhouse and thought Caelan was burning trash so I went to get on to him because it was far too windy to be burning today. It was then that I realized the neighbor was burning his pasture. And I thought to myself that someone should get on to him becuase it was far too windy to be burning today. I just went back to my business in the greenhouse.

It didn't take long for the neighbors controlled burn to become an out-of-control burn. Caelan came racing into the garden and yelled that our pasture was on fire. Shawn was not home so being the man of the house at the time, Caelan went to check it out. Fire scares me senseless so watching him run into a thick cloud of smoke was unnerving, to say the least. About 5 minutes later he came racing back yelling for sheets. The neighbors had no sheets. They had no blankets. They didn't have a long enough hose. They had rakes and shovels. Rakes and shovels weren't doing the job.

I ran through the house, frantically looking for sheets and old blankets as I was talking to Shawn on the phone. As Caelan filled a bucket with water, I dunked 2 sets of queen-sized sheets and 2 area rugs in the dogs water pail. We loaded it all up on the 4-wheeler and off Caelan went to help beat out a pasture fire. If you're wondering where all the cool photos are, there are none. As he drove off into the cloud of smoke, again with me very unnerved, I ran in and called my in-laws to get them over to help. And then I set to the task of dragging out, untangling, and connecting garden hoses. Because the neighbors were trying to put out the fire with rakes.

pasture fire 1
And this.

By the time I got 4 hoses hooked together, the fire had spread to a distance from our house that the hoses would reach. They were hooked up to a spigot on the far end of the house so the fire was within 2 garden hose lengths of our house. I was on the phone frantically telling Shawn, who wasn't a bit frantic, what was happening. He kept telling me, "If it makes it to the end of the pasture it will stop at the yard." But he didn't see all the smoke and the flames quickly moving through the tall, dry grass toward the house. And he doesn't panic around fire like I do. He's the one who called me and said, "Bring your camera!" last time we had a pasture fire. He's also the one who didn't panic when I called him hysterical because I had caught the yard and tree behind the chicken coop on fire. I think I will insist that he should be the one to be home for all future fires.

I didn't have to wait to find out if he was right about the fire stopping at the yard.

pasture fire 2
The fire department showed up with their leaf blower. When I indignantly asked Caelan how a leaf blower is any help in a fire, he explained that it clears away debris that might catch fire and cause it to spread more quickly.

pasture fire 3
The fire department also showed up with this. They arrived 30 minutes after the neighbor called them at about the time we had the fire put out. That's what happens when 2 factors combine. One, you live out in the country and two, the fire department is volunteer which means they aren't waiting at the fire station to be called to a fire.

They made a quick pass around the burned area with the truck and, after making their report with the neighbors, were back on the road within 30 minutes.

pasture fire 4
I was proud of this young man today. While his dad was away, he took charge and did what needed to be done to help get the fire under control. I wonder if he realizes how lucky he is to have a mother who panics so he gets practice at taking charge.
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jkhenson said...

Wow, Kendra! Amazing story-and amazing retelling. You and your son worked quickly and with care and thought-so many things to be thankful for. What a great "substitute" man of the house. :) God's hands are always in it. :) As I read, my heart was speeding up. Glad it can be back to normal now and know that all is well there. :) Next time just go get on that neighbor-God gives us momma instincts for a reason. :)

Kristi Smith said...

Be glad I wasn't there or Caelan would have had to deal with two panicky women. :)

I read this earlier and I teared up towards the end, glad all turned out okay, I was just bragging on your children the other day to one of my co-workers.

rvcampa said...

OMG! I would have been panicking right there with you, and then I would have attempted to physically RESTRAIN Caelan from going out to that fire.
I guess that's why I don't live on a farm... me & my young would NOT survive my panic-stricken paralysis with each & every 'run-of-the-mill-just-another-day-on-the-farm' event!

GREAT JOB, Caelan. And you too, Kendra... you're doing good, mama!

Farmers 8 Daughters said...

Incredible! Glad everything is okay!

The cows never seemed to be worried - in your pictures they are still grazing away :-)

I remember doing burns like this on our cattle fields when I was a kid, and one or two times, it got out of hand. Now I know what the neighbors must have been going through HEHE

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