Summer officially is about six weeks away and already fire season is upon us in the Texas Panhandle.
Oh … my … goodness.
A wildfire in Hutchinson County has left hundreds of people homeless and destroyed about 100 homes. The wind is whipping furiously; the native grass is tinder dry; burn bans are in effect all across the Panhandle.
Remember the Summer of 2011, when thousands of acres of land went up in flames? Remember the misery, the heartache, the death and destruction? We might be headed for another one of those episodes.
Most of this circumstance is beyond our control. We need two things to happen: the wind to stop blowing and for rain to come. Only the Almighty can make either event happen.
We can, however, control our own urges, such as tossing cigarette butts or stogies our the car window. We can stop outdoor grilling. We can ensure that we take every precaution possible to prevent a tragic outbreak of fire.
There also needs to be highly strict enforcement of these burn bans. Let’s leave it to counties to make double-darn sure residents are heeding the dire warnings about the fire hazards that exist all around us. And that means simply to play by the rules and not light fires in this hideous wind.
The Fritch fire well might serve as a warning to us all. It’s still mid-spring — when the region is supposed to be drenched in those unpredictable rainmaking thunderstorms. Many of us can hardly remember the last time we experienced any such “normal” weather event.
Instead, we’re enduring this stifling drought and the wind that comes with it.
If this is a harbinger of the usual fire season, we’d better get ready for a wild summer.
Oh, and let’s all keep praying for rain.