What? No smoke?

AMARILLO — My drive to Amarillo filled me with some concern that I would enter a cloud of smoke as I entered the Texas Panhandle.

Glory be! I didn’t see any smoke. Those fires that ravaged this region I used to call home appear to have been quelled. At least from my vantage point along U.S. Highway 287 as I entered the city on its eastern side.

The fire brought enormous devastation to the region, taking the lives of several residents and at least one first responder — the Fritch fire chief — along with thousands of head of livestock.

I had seen the photos taken from jetliners flying overhead and from folks on the ground. The ominous smoke clouds were ghastly in the extreme.

The region, though, appears to have survived … to the extent that it can survive a record-setting blaze.

I returned to see some friends and get away from my North Texas neighborhood for a couple of days. I return Monday.

I am delighted to report that Panhandle is beautiful and clear … as it should be.