Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More brush fires...

I'm not sure it's ever going to rain here, and as long as it doesn't, these things are just going to get worse. The brush fire last Thursday was pretty big, more than 3,000 acres. It's just recently been completely contained. But, last Thursday it was huge. The fire was about 25 miles south of Abilene and you could see the plume of smoke from town. I was told there was ash falling from the sky more than 30 miles away. A reporter and I headed out there. When we got there the road to near the fire was shut down. So, of course, my natural reaction was to find another way in. We ended up driving all around the hill that the fire was burning on, trying to find photos of the crews that were working the fire. Pretty much everywhere we went we ran into roadblocks, we finally ended up getting to a road where a volunteer firefighter told us to go to to at least get a good view of the blaze. It was pretty amazing to see how high the flames were shooting up and the terrain was so rough, there really wasn't much of a way for trucks to get in there to battle the fires. The only way to do it was by air. The forest service had called in a couple of helicopters and planes to fight the fire.
After getting a shot of the smoke pouring out I figured it would be best to head back to Hwy. 277, the main highway that the fire was headed towards. I figured the best way to get photos of it was from there since the fire was headed that way. We got to a rest area at the top of a hill, where the sheriff's department had its temporary command center. This help both myself and the reporter who was able to get much of the info she needed. By the time we got there the sun was going down, which actually helped. The sunset provided for my favorite photo (top), a helicopter was refilling it's drop bucket with water in a stock tank against the sunset with a whole field of windmills surrounding it. It looked a lot like a scene from "Apocalypse Now" After I shot the photo I had this strange urge to pull up Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" on my iPod on the ride back to the office (yes, I really do have it on there!).

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