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Monday, August 1, 2016

Writing About: Wildfire + Question of the Month




I'm over at Unicorn Bell with


Wildfires aka brush fires are scary. I blogged about them in my 2015 A to Z Challenge (my theme was disasters), and I shared my own experience when a fire threatened my childhood home and took the life of one of my family’s beloved pet cats. Her name was Angel, and she passed away on my birthday.

Fire is one of my fears and living in Central Florida we have a fire season that typically begins April 1st. If there’s no rain, everything is dry. Leaves are dead, and trees are brown. A single spark could set ablaze a fire in a second. Wildfires are also a threat every year in California and other states across the US.

Here are a few things to remember to mention if you write about a wildfire:

- Smell of Smoke

When a fire is close, the unmistakable stench of burning wildfire can be detected in the air.

- Smoke Stacks

Wherever there’s a fire, there’s smoke, and smoke stacks in the distance can always be seen if there’s a fire anywhere.

- Ashes

Another indicator that a fire is close are the black and gray ashes that fall from the sky. They can be an inch-long or even up to six-inches-long depending on what’s burning.

Image from Pixabay

- Flames


As a fire approaches, orange can be seen flickering through tree branches and brush. Then all of a sudden, that same place you were looking is consumed in flames. Flames go to the tops of trees, snake along the grass, and can even jump over roads. I’ve seen it.

- Charred Nature

After a fire blows through, ashes and charred wood is left behind. Trees are blackened. Palmetto bushes become burnt stumps. And the ground is a sheet of ashes and burnt pieces of nature that crunches beneath your feet.


Fire is alive, so if you ever have to write about it, treat it as though it’s a living, breathing thing.


QUESTION: Have you come close to a wildfire before?



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Question of the Month blog hop


To join this monthly blog hop visit Michael G D'Agostino's blog.



QUESTION: What’s your favorite beach?

MY ANSWER: I live in Florida, which has the largest coastline in the US (1,350 miles), but I haven’t been to many beaches. I walked the boardwalk at Hollywood Beach but didn’t step onto the sand to see the water. And I’ve been to Melbourne and Cocoa beaches because that’s where I’ve lived, but my favorite beach was in Fort Lauderdale. (I don’t know the name of it. Though I suspect all of them are as lovely.) My family took our first and only vacation to Fort Lauderdale when I was maybe ten. During the day, the water was so clear it was magical. Every night we would go to the beach and watch the ships, sparkling like flames on the ebony waters, cross the horizon. It was lovely. Peaceful. I’ll never forget it.


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IWSG Question Announcement



AUGUST 3RD QUESTION: What was your very first piece of
 writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting 
dust or has it been published?

***Add this question and your answer to your IWSG Day post.


63 comments:

  1. Growing up in Oregon, we always lived with the threat of forest fires. Usually they're started by lightning or some idiot not putting out a campfire properly.

    Favorite beach would also be in Oregon at Lincoln City. The Catch the Wave kite shop is there and they always had really neat kites flying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The number one cause of fires are those idiots.

      I love to see kites flying. :)

      Delete
  2. I reside closeby to The New Forest, should the weather get exceedingly hot then the area have a wild blaze.
    In the New Forset animals are allowed to roaam freely so it's in the interest of all....human's and animals that the fires are controlled quickly.
    Looking forward to the ISRG on Wednesday.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forest blazes are terrifying. I would love to live in a cabin in the woods, but I'd be afraid of fires.

      Controlling fires quickly is a must.

      Delete
  3. I grew up in eastern NC and there were plenty of fires in the pine forests and swamps and I have been on the fire lines there--very scary when it burns over. My favorite beach would probably be Masonboro Island also in NC, near where I grew up, 9 miles of undeveloped beach that you had to have a boat to reach. My first piece (outside of a few newspaper pieces, was published in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is scary when fires burn over or jump.

      Going to North Carolina is on my list. I can only image how beautiful that Island is.

      Delete
  4. Never had an experience with wildfires but this is a great resource for a story idea I have filed away. As for beaches, I haven't been to many. Went to Virginia Beach, the beach at Ft Lauderdale and Jamaica, Ocha Rio. But I have to say that the beach in Jama8was the most beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! I'm glad to help. :)

      I beat that the beaches in Jamaica are stunning.

      Delete
  5. I have been fortunate and never been threatened by a wildfire. I did however see the smoke stack and have ashes in my pool from a Gulf Park fire here in the Florida Panhandle a few years ago. I love the question of the month, so I am going to check out Michael's blog and maybe I'll join in. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You live in the panhandle and haven't been threatened by a wildfire? You are fortunate! You hope you never experience one.

      You should! It's a lot of fun. :)

      Delete
  6. The part about treating the fire as if it's alive rang so true, Chrys.

    And I hear you about the dry season in FL, although here on the Gulf Coast it seems to rain every day in the summer so it seems wet and humid enough. It's the lightning that freaks me out. Shudder!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard firefighters talk about fire being alive, and then I saw it for myself and knew they were right.

      Lightning is scary! I'm actually writing a short story about a lightning storm....

      Delete
  7. I've not been to any Florida beaches; I hear they are different from the West Coast ones, water is clearer and warmer :)

    We did have threats of wildfires when we lived in Southern California; we always feared during the Santa Ana winds and hot temps that fires would start. Scary!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never been to west coast beaches. lol

      California gets a lot of fires.

      Delete
  8. Where I live in Texas, wildfires are definitely a threat when it gets hot and dry, like it is now. I've been too close to a few.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! And Texas can get very hot and dry.

      Delete
  9. Never been threatened by a fire, but smoke from a fire many miles away has filled our neighborhood before.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thankfully never close to a forest fire. Beaches here galore too, but meh they are to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I was closer to beaches, I'd probably go more often.

      Delete
  11. I haven't been close to a forest fire, but a few years ago, there was a fire in a marsh a few miles from our house. Luckily, the fire department was able to keep that from spreading.

    Sorry to hear about your lost pet cat. And on your birthday. That's extra tough. (We lost our dog on Christmas morning when I was a teen.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank goodness for our fire departments!

      It was tough. The fire traumatized me and then we lost Angel. It was a hard birthday.

      Delete
  12. I've seen a wildfire at a distance but nothing like they have out west. One of my son's friends is a firefighter for the National Forest Service and the stories are scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for your son's friend! I bet the stories are scary.

      Delete
  13. I've never been anywhere close to a wildfire, and hope I never am! I'm a lifelong pyrophobic, though my phobia is generally under control these days. I'm able to sit or stand in front of a bonfire on the holiday of Lag B'Omer, instead of hanging back in the shadows.

    I'm surprised to learn Florida has the most U.S. coastline. I would've thought that position would go to California, since it's so much bigger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm okay with a bone fire, fireplaces, etc, but the moment I sense a wildfire, I panic. Well Florida has it on both sides, too.

      Delete
  14. Wildfires certainly are alive, they even create their own weather. Which in some cases is a good thing when we're in dire need of rain. I've been too close on too many occasions, the last one being just this spring in the woods. Dense smoke through the trees in daylight was bad enough, but ashes on the porch by evening was terrifying.
    Having been to beaches on both coasts, I still say one in Mexico was the best.
    Excellent post, Chrys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard about firenados, too.

      I've never been to Mexico, but I know those beaches are amazing.

      Delete
  15. I've been reading a bit about the CA wildfires. Just awful. I can't even imagine being in an area where they're possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I could never live in CA because their threat of fires seems worse than the FL threat.

      Delete
  16. Unfortunately, we're experiencing the smokey fire, and it seems we'll have that experience all month. They don't expect to contain the fire on the coast until the end of August. This morning, I can't see the ridge line of our forest and the air is terrible. So sorry for those who've lost homes. Extremely sorry for the loss of life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is horrible. And no till the end of August? Goodness. August just began!

      Delete
  17. We typically don't get wildfires around here, luckily. They sound scary!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The idea of a house fire scares me. We had a small fire in our apartment when I was twelve and it still gets to me, eventhough the damage was minimal. Florida seems like a complicated place to live; lots of coast and a fire season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Wildfires and houses fires. I am constantly afraid. I panic if my fire alarms start to beep because they need a new battery. lol

      A fire season and a hurricane season.

      Delete
  19. I just read your excellent post about the impatient writer.

    A house fire is so scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!

      They are. Any fire that threatens homes or wildfire are terrifying.

      Delete
  20. I'm not fond of fires either. Just being around fire bothers my asthma. The crazy thing - we had a house blow up right near our house last week. It was a gas leak. The whole thing just blew up! One lady is dead, a few other houses are unlivable. That freaked me out.

    I think my favorite beach that I've been to is Tybee Island in Savannah, GA. I haven't been to very many living in Nebraska though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH MY GOSH! That is awful! I wrote about a gas leak and explosion in Seismic Crimes, but for it to happen in real life and kill a woman is horrifying.

      Delete
  21. We're surrounding by forest, so there is always the threat of forest fires in the spring and summer. And because we live on a lake, we could see them burning across from us. It was hard to be optimistic. I've packed our personal belongings a few times. Not a good feeling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've had to pack my things, too. Just in case. And then there was the time that the fire was surrounding my house. That was the worst. I thought my home was going to be gone.

      Delete
  22. There's been some big forest fires in my areas, but thankfully, never got close to where I lived at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Memories you make on the beach with family and friends are the best.
    Mary at Play off the Page

    ReplyDelete
  24. It's so dry this year in Northern Florida, and I doubt if central Florida is much different. Every time I smell smoke I check it out.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not much different. Every time they say it's going to rain, it skips my area.

      I do the same.

      Delete
  25. I've never been close close to a wildfire, but there have been a couple years where there were so many that the air quality affected me. Nothing quite like finding a light dusting of ash on the car...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smoky air is the worst for breathing.

      Delete
  26. We had a nasty wildfire here in Canada this year...it devastated the community of Fort McMurray, Alberta. They're still trying to recover. Firefighters from South Africa came over to help fight it.

    I've never been close to a wildfire, but if there's a bad one a few provinces over, the ash will reach us. That means the ash and smoke can travel thousands of miles--unbelievable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awful. It always makes me so sad when areas are devastated by fires.

      Smoke and ash can travel very far. All it takes is a breeze.

      Delete
  27. Fire is a fear of mine also. I live in an apartment complex and you just never know when a neighbor is going to light a candle and set the place on fire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh. Yes. I lived in an apartment for 6 years and I always feared this. The fire department did come out once because a fire started in an apartment. Scary.

      Delete
  28. One of my favourite beaches is also in Florida! Check out my post ;)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I've never seen a wildfire before; they don't really have those in my area. That would be scary, though, especially because it's almost uncontrollable and moves so quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to move to where you live. lol

      Delete
  30. Hi Chrys - yes bush fires in South Africa - frightening, and at times here in the UK we get across the heath land ... not funny at all - but seeing the huge ones really brings it home - and I'm glad at the end of a tv screen.

    I hope this season is not too serious .. though CA is having its fair share ...

    Beach - Godrevy in Cornwall ... kids' beach before it was developed ... and dusty writings - only lots of blog posts ...

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me, even seeing them on TV is frightening.

      Delete
  31. You've done a great job of capturing the beauty of the ocean there. I love an ocean, complete with ships and waves.

    ReplyDelete
  32. We encountered them this fall, in the mountains of North Carolina. Their burn glowed orange by night. The smoke at times snuck over you, like a predator on a high branch that you could feel and smell. Other times, it crept close to the ground, sweeping in, right to left or left to right, quick and lateral, as if it was keeping an eye on us and attempting to surround us.

    ReplyDelete

Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

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