Sunday, September 11, 2011

Leaving Lost Pines - Wildfires

As I mentioned last week our first real comprehension of the wildfires surrounding us came as we walked to our car in the parking lot high ground and glanced back towards the hotel.  At ground level all we could see were the very tops of the smoke clouds peeking through the tree tops indistinguishable from the puffy white clouds that often pop up just before a storm.

From the parking lot the view was much different.  Off to the left we could see the tail end of the Bastrop Complex Fire.  And to the right the much closer Union Chapel fire as it advanced towards Highway 71 just across from the exit of our hotel.

As we neared the end of the winding 2-3 mile resort drive onto Highway 71 we could both see and hear numerous planes and helicopters providing air support for both fires.

Closest to us we could see a Chinook helicopter carrying a bucket of water to dump over the blaze.

We could also see a CH 47 making repeated drops and return trips.

It was back practically as soon as it left.

As we stopped just down the road to fill up with gas there were a number of evacuees and onlookers parked along the edges of the parking lot silently keeping watch over the scene off in the distance.  As we stood filling up with gas we noticed that the helicopter we been had watching making water drops earlier was filling up from a nearby pond.

He would drop down to where all we could see of the helicopter was the top of the rotors.  He would hover there for what seemed like no more than a minute or two before starting his ascent again loaded up with water to dump on the fire.

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