Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Wildfire


My theme for my 2015 A to Z Challenge came from my Disaster Crimes series. Disasters are a theme in each story, so it got me thinking about all the disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

Today’s disaster is...
WILDFIRE

Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that destroy countryside and wilderness areas. They are also called brush fires and forest fires. These fires can change directions spontaneously and even jump over roads and rivers. I have seen this, and it is the most frightening and fascinating thing to witness.

Image from Pixabay

My Story: When I was twelve, a series of arson fires erupted in my city (in Florida). I remember going home and seeing the black plumes of smoke rising in the sky and feeling the worst fear I’ve ever experienced before. My best friend’s dad said, “It looks like it’s right next to your house!” Sure enough, it was. I was dropped off at my driveway to see flames consuming the brush and trees a mere foot from my home.

Later, I stood in the middle of the road, helplessly looking on as my family scrambled to save our pets, and firefighters moved into action to save our house. I watched flames eat their way to the edge of the road then skip over the asphalt and blaze to life on the other side.

My home survived, but one of my cats didn’t. Her name was Angel. She had run out the door, toward the fire. She returned late that night badly burned. She died a few days later...on my thirteenth birthday. 

Those fires are still the worst fires to hit my city. And they deeply rooted a fear in me that'll never go away.

Image from Pixabay

FACT: Wildfires can burn for days or weeks, and can consume 100 to 100,000 acres.

While arson is a big cause of wildfires, heat waves and droughts are the leading causes, especially in warm climates with a lot of dry growth. Lightning is another factor.

To prevent wildfires you can:
1. Never throw a cigarette out your car window!
2. Never leave a campfire unattended.
3. Be careful when burning backyard waste. Don’t burn anything in windy conditions, and have a shovel for dirt and a hose or bucket of water on hand.



QUESTION: Have you ever experienced a wildfire? Tell me your story! 

P.S. I'm co-hosting over at Unicorn Bell today. My post is Dear Withdrawn Writer. If you put your writing first, you could probably relate to this.


W: Wildfire



I'm a member of Tremp's Troops!


****


Ghost of Death just came out on the 22nd, so I'm adding a little promo for it. I hope you don't mind. :) 

Logline: Dead men may not talk, but dead girls do.

Supernatural-suspense short story of 41 pages.


Book Links:




116 comments:

  1. Isn't there a song called "Wild Fire"... off all ready off topic... so much destruction that is this type of fire. So fast it spreads from one match.

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  2. Fire scares me.
    I was happy to see the Shout out from Alex.

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  3. What a horrible experience! Glad everyone was okay. (Except Angel) I don't like fires, natural or man made. They can turn so quickly.

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  4. Sorry you lost your cat. How terrifying. We've had wildfires miles away fill our area with smoke for days.

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  5. Someone threw a cigarette out of the window and started my pine trees on fire in the front yard. Which was better than the idiot who set our boat on fire in the side yard. Thank goodness for the fast response of our Fire Dept. I was in Denver after the Hayman Wildfire and the air was pretty bad.

    @msdeniseh553
    Life After Retirement - My Russian Adventure

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    1. Yikes! Those could've gotten out of hand fast. Glad your fire department was fast.

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  6. Fortunatley, I've never had to deal with one. I can only imagine how traumatized a 12 year old Chrys was. Sorry for the loss. Fires can be fun to look at, but controlled. I hope whoever started those Arson fires were caught and punished severely. As for your three rules, No worries there. I don't smoke, don't camp, and it's illegal to burn your trash here. The most fire I see is when I'm cooking on the stove.

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    1. Thanks, Jeffrey. We were allowed to sleep in the house that night and I kept waking up smelling the smoke and thinking the house was on fire. I'm actually not sure if anyone was caught for this fire or not. I think so, but I can't be positive.

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  7. I've never experienced one, but forest fires were a great danger when I lived in Oregon.

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  8. Wow, the satellite image is shocking. I heard the dryness in California is really bad again this year. I worry for my friends there.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Yes, they are actually in a drought, which is not good at all.

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  9. OMG, Chrys that is such a scary story! That must have been extremely traumatic watching the fire and losing a pet. The chaos involved in a house fire is devastating. I've never experienced wildfires close to home. The smoke though will travel far. I admire the fire fighting plane pilots who take care of the fires.

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    1. It was very traumatic. I was shaken for weeks. It didn't help that there would be flare ups and we had to keep a close eye on everything.

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  10. Oh, I'm so sorry for the loss of your cat and your home. I've never experienced fire like that, but it is definitely scary.

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  11. Poor cat. We never think about all the animals that die in those fires :-(

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    1. Pets are usually the victims because they hide and we can't find them. She actually ran out the door and went straight toward the fire, not in the other direction.

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    2. Really! I wonder what the allure of the fire was. Animals have such a good instinct for survival. I'm so sorry.

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    3. She might've just been too afraid. The fire was nearly all around my house, but if she had just gone straight she would've been safer. Another one of my cats ran and headed toward the fire too, but she came back a few hours later just fine.

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  12. How frightening. I'm so sorry about the loss of your cat and home. I've never experienced a wildfire but my sympathies go to all those who have.

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  13. It's so sad you had to experience something like that so young.

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

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    1. Thanks, Annalisa. I still think about that day all the time. And now that I'm back in that same city which is prone to fires, my anxiety is kicking back up.

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  14. Wildfires have always seemed so terrifying to me because they;re just so easy to start and spread so fast.

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

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    1. Exactly. The speed of them is incredible.

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  15. There was a wildfire north of where I went to high school that raged for a while. Firefighters from all over came to help fight it, and every night, locals gathered to cheer them when they came back. I worked at a pizza place and we donated foot to them as a thank you.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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    1. Firefighters from other cities also came to help battle the fires that day. They really banned together. One firefighter was actually injured and burned in my backyard...

      That is a great thing you did.

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  16. those are scary things :(
    Very sorry for the loss of your cat :(

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  17. That sounds awful. I'm sorry to hear of it. Poor kitty too. What a fright.

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  18. Terrifying! Glad they were able to save your house, though.

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  19. Now this is natural disaster I've experienced. I live in a forest, so we're used to being prepared for fire. Unfortunately, no matter how much you think you're ready for one, you're never fully ready. We saved our home in the last one, so I know how you must feel.

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    1. I try to prepare the best I can, but you can never be fully ready...as you said. When it happens, things become chaotic.

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  20. No haven't been through any wildfires but we have them upcountry in our forested areas in British Columbia. I've only been through three controllable house fires. . . none caused by me, btw.

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  21. That sounds so scary! Sorry that you lost your cat.

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  22. So sorry about your cat! That had to be traumatic experience for you especially the age you were at! Living in Southern California, we had lots of experiences with wildfires but none as traumatic as yours or that close. Always devastating to drive through the areas afterwards and see the destruction and then when you hear it started by arson.......

    betty

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    1. It was traumatic. My neighbor was sparse and charred for years after that, but it all did eventually grow back.

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  23. Thankfully I have never been through any such fire. I feel so bad for you because you loved your cat obviously and to know she suffered so much and then passed away on your birthday must still some to haunt your thoughts every once in awhile. Poor thing. Did they ever catch the SOB who was starting the fires?

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    1. It does. I think about that fire and Angel all the time.

      I'm not sure. I think they did, but I just don't remember.

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  24. What a sad story! I had a pet die on Christmas when I was sixteen. It's never easy, but having these deaths hit on what's supposed to be a special day just makes it that much more tough.

    One night my husband and I saw a fire out of the back window of the house we were renting. It wasn't a wild fire, but house fire. The house was a total loss.

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    1. It is especially hard when a pet or someone dies on or close to a special day.

      House fires are scary too. I freak whenever my fire alarms go off.

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  25. That is terrible about that fire. There have been a few small ones around us but the last few summers have been so wet, there hasn't been too much danger. One of my son's friends works for the Forestry service and often goes to fight fires anywhere in the country.

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  26. I'm so sorry for your loss, Chrys. That's so sad. It must have been heartbreaking to see an animal you loved in pain. :(

    I haven't seen a wildfire, but we had a string of arsons in Winnipeg too. Destroyed some of my favourite stores. It was really scary for a while--you never knew where they would strike next.

    Sometimes I hate people....

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    1. Thanks, J.H.

      Arson is the worst. These people get a thrill out of destroying not just places but lives.

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  27. Wonderful post, I am not that keen on fires. Near to where I live there is a place called "The New Forest" where animals can roam around free, but every year there is always one big fire there.
    Yvonne.

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    1. That's sad that there's fires where animals are supposed to roam free.

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  28. Wildfires are so dangerous! Very scary.

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  29. Wow I can't imagine how frightening that must have been. And I'm so sorry about your cat. Poor little thing.

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  30. Three springs ago, as you probably know, the Okeefenokee Swamp caught fire and burned over 600,000 acres over three months, and the fire kept smoldering for almost a year. That was the closest I've come to that much fire damage. Today the swamp is coming back, but the burned tree stumps still testify to the power of those flames... Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. I hate seeing those burned tree stumps.

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  31. I am beginning to feel like a walking disaster reading your blog as I have stories about so many of your recent posts! Yes, I've experienced wildfires!

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    1. Maybe we are all walking disasters...

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  32. They have to be scary indeed. Sorry to hear about your poor cat. Only fire I was ever in was when my apartment building burned down. I snuck back in and got my cat out.

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    1. I'm glad you were able to save your cat, but sorry you lost your apartment.

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  33. I've had pyrophobia my entire life, since before I could remember. I believe it comes from having survived Krystallnacht in my previous life. I was so terrified of fire, I even wanted to live outside when I was an adult, so I'd never risk my house catching on fire. It took awhile to relax when my family moved into a house with a fireplace when I was seven.

    My severe pyrophobia actually ended up preventing potential disaster over 20 years later. My parents only bought a fire extinguisher because I insisted so hysterically, and they finally were able to use it the night one of the lights outside the front door caught on fire. A bird's nest (not occupied at the time) served as tinder after so long of being in contact with that hot lightbulb.

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    1. I definitely believe that fears can come from past lives. My fear of fire comes from this experience though. Thank goodness for your pyrophobia and that fire extinguisher.

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  34. So sorry to hear about your experience, Chrys. It sounds absolutely terrifying. I've never seen a wildfire, and I've never heard of one happening in England (though I could be wrong!), but I hate seeing them on the news.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. Maybe I should move to England...

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  35. Wildfires just make me shiver. Sorry you lost your cat.
    Good tips!

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  36. I've never experienced a fire or wildfire. Sad to hear about your cat.

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    1. I hope you don't. They can be devastating.

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  37. I'm so sorry you lost your cat when you were younger to a wild fire. That had to be awful.

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  38. Aw, so sorry about Angel. :-( Out of control fires are horrific any way you look at it. I lost a home to a fire on the night I moved in. Luckily, I hadn't even unloaded my cat yet. Wildfires are a near constant threat out here in southern AZ., but it's even worse when a 'controlled burn' turns into a raging wildfire. I wish folks would learn to just let nature take care of herself; she's much better at it.

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    1. Thanks, Diedre.

      On the night you moved in? Gosh! That's terrible. Good thing your kitty wasn't there yet.

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  39. I'm very touched by your story. The loss of your cat at 13 must have been hard...truly sorry :( When hubby and I moved to our new home last year, the sky was thick with smoke from forest fires; it covered most of Eastern Washington. Idaho too was struggling and fire fighters had lost their lives. With conditions still so dry this year, it seems we may yet be at a risk. We all need to be careful in the wilderness.....Smokey the Bear was right....only we can prevent forest fires!

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    1. Thanks, Sharon. It was really hard. For many years after, I had no choice but to think of her on my birthday.

      Smokey the Bear is a smart fellow. If only more people would listen to him.

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  40. Fires are awful. I'm so sorry you lost your cat. What a terrifying thing for you to go through. I wish it wasn't getting so hot and dry out west...

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  41. I've never witnessed one and I would never want to, either. I'm sorry for your loss of Angel ((HUGS)). How terrifying it must have been for you at such a young age.

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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  42. Fires definitely are horrible. So sorry about your cat. Our pet don't understand. Four or five years ago we had a bad fire in our areal. Firefighters were out digging firebreaks to keep the fires from jumping the road. Across the road to our South we could see the flames, and a big red barn that had been there like forever went up. A few homes were lost. Ours was safe. It sure is scary though. God bless our firefighters and others that save our homes.

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    1. Thanks, Beverly.

      I was very thankful for the firefighters that day.

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  43. "...She ran calling 'wildfire!," Okay, I don't know how to punctuate that...a quote in a quote...at least I admit my shortcomings and unwillingness to get the grammar guide.

    Wildfires (aside from the song) are seriously scary. Each year, I hold my breath for the folks out west who suffer as a result of the wildfires. I can't imagine

    Great post, Chrys!

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    1. You were close with the punctuation. ;P

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  44. Hi Chrys - Excellent W .. I'd be terrified if one came close to my home - I've been near heath fires .. but your wild fires really do roar ahead .. terrifying and how sad about your cat and on your birthday .. kids will always remember those days ... sad ... sorry for you - Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. When fire touches your life, you never forget.

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  45. What a terrible tragedy. Chrys. So sorry for your loss, even so long ago it still hurts. I know.

    My parents live in Montana, and there are wildfires there every year. They've been lucky so far.

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    1. Thanks, Ava.

      I hope they continue to be lucky. Here in Florida, every year in the spring and summer I hold my breath against fires.

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  46. Chrys,

    I'm so sorry for the death of Angel years ago. That had to be a horrible experience for a child, or for anyone. Wildfires can be very scary. We saw a lot them while living in southern CA.

    Many were set off by lightning strikes because things get so dry there in the summers. We used to watch flames from our house as they devoured the mountains close by. We had a wildfire about a mile from the house once and smoke blocked out the sun and filled the air for days. I had friends who had to evacuate.

    There was a kid living behind us that would shoot at us and the cats with his BB gun, but when he grew up he joined a volunteer fire dept and went on from there to set several arson fires that burned people's homes and a lot of acreage. He's now serving his time in prison.

    Sunni

    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you, Sunni.

      Gosh, what you told me about the boy and what he grew up to become gave me chills.

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  47. We had bushfires close to town growing up. Our flight from Sydney to Los Angeles was delayed on the day I moved to the U.S as many of the catering staff were late to work due to the fires in the western part of the city. The whole city reaked of smoke. Thankfully not a lot of property was damaged and we took off a couple of hours late.

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

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    1. Los Angeles gets so many fires. With my fear, I could never live there.

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  48. OMG, that is so sad about your kitty! My twin sisters lives in a very forested rural area and they had fires within a mile of their home a couple years ago. I have a feeling this year is going to be a big fire year because it's so dry.

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  49. We get a lot of wildfires locally, but I've never been personally impacted by one. (I don't think poor air quality counts.)

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    1. Whenever I see black smoke from these fires, I do think about the air and the ozone layer.

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  50. I'm sorry about your cat; it's always tough to lose a beloved pet, because it becomes part of the family and is more than just an animal.

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  51. Oh, that story about your cat is so, so sad. Poor thing. It's so instinctive for them to bolt when they smell fire, but all that smoke has to be pretty disorienting. What a terrifying experience for you that fire must have been--no wonder that fear took root. Even an adult would be challenged to process something like that.

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    1. Yes, I think fear and the smoke and chaos was too much for her to process anything.

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  52. That's awful *hugs* I am so pleased never to have seen a wild fire. I've only ever seen the aftermath - when we used to go on holiday to the West Country it wasn't unusual to see swathes of burnt moorland where some idiot had thrown a cigarette or some such. It's usually so wet all over our country that people don't think.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  53. I'm so sorry about your cat. I've never had a wildfire experience, although sometimes there's smog and a smell of smoke from a fire far away, in the Everglades according to the news.

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    1. Thanks, Medeia. See smoke and smelling it even puts me in a panic.

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  54. Not like you Chrys, but one time in North Carolina we drove through an area with wildfires and on the way back, things were still burning. We saw a man barbecuing. He could have gone up to the nearest tree to cook his food, the fires were all around him. We all thought he was crazy.

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