Recently, my beloved and I visited Possum Kingdom for the first time. If you’ve never been there, it is a big, big lake. Flying into Graham, we could see the devastation of the recent fires and upon landing and driving from Graham to the lake, even more incendiary carnage was visible.
When one lives on or near the water, the thought of fire is almost inconceivable. Something in my little pea brain says, “How in the world can we burn up with all this water around?” Well, let me tell you what I saw at Possum Kingdom and you can believe it.
Chimneys sat silent along with their friends, winding staircases made of steel, as grim monuments of what once were multi-million dollar homes. Residents who witnessed the fires told of the explosion of butane tanks sounding like mortar shells. Hell’s Gate, a channel between two high bluffs that enters a cove, looked just like that, the real gate to hell. A friend of a friend told of going back to his home to dig through the ashes to find a trophy won by his racehorse at the Kentucky Derby. He found it among the ashes along with a horseshoe worn by the horse.
People pulled travel trailers onto what were once beautiful home sites, everything gone but the water and sewer lines. Even boat docks extending a hundred feet from the shoreline weren’t spared. Some folks escaped to the water in their boats as they watched their homes burn. The embers from the fires flew in the 25 mph wind gusts, lighting new fires along their way. If you do not think this could happen to Horseshoe Bay, you aren’t thinking. Fires could jump from one home to another in a matter of minutes.
Having described all of that, I hope you will look out your window and notice the dead vegetation just past our beautiful yards and boulevards. Don’t let that St. Augustine grass fool you. We are sitting on a tinderbox. I am proud to see the signs go up outlawing fireworks this July 4th, but I know when most everyone is asleep, some young people with a stash of fireworks from last year just might sneak out of the house and set off a Roman Candle or two. That’s about all it might take because if you haven’t noticed, the wind is still howling, even at night.