The Fire

Written By David E. Young , 2001
It was a dark and windy morning, with promise of a bright day,
The sun had not come out yet, and the cold with wind did play.

A solitary driver on the solitary highway
Pulled over for a rest and a smoke on his way.

As he inhaled deeply, enjoying the warmth of his light,
He shivered in the wind, and his conscience had no fight.

He carelessly threw the unfinished butt to the side,
And got in his car to continue his ride.

The butt, caught in the wind, flew and fed on the air,
And landed in the brush, which was dry and soon did flare.

Near this solitary highway, on a very windy night,
A glow would soon be seen, a solitary light.

And within a single minute, the high wind caught a flame
And spread it to the trees, and it was all but tame.

Animals sensed danger - and fled downwind in fright
With flames right behind them in the wind like a kite!

Cars soon stopped near and called emergency crews,
But the fire was too fast, and too slow was the news.

Farm folks woke up to a pounding on the door.
"Wake up!" they heard shouted, "Grab what you can - no more!"

There was supposed to be sun in the dawning of this day,
But instead was a blanket of smoke, dark and hiding day.

The smoke stretched for miles, to all the land around.
Where the flame was not, a blanket of ash could be found.

Fire crews worked hard as the fire plowed through homes.
The screams of silent animals drowned out the fiery moans.

Men tried to save their horses screaming in the barns!
This was a fire against which nothing can warn.

By noon, the fire had eaten three thousand acres, with seventy mile winds to boot.
All the fire crews were doing their best to save what they could of the loot.

They tried dropping water and freeze dry chemicals to try and slow it down.
It did nothing on the hot sunny day. Not a bit a fire drowned.

It was heading toward the city, and people were praying, "Please, God, stop this right now."
And by nightfall, though it was not contained, the wind changed directions somehow.

Now going fourty miles per hour, the wind turned from west to south;
Which meant less homes were in danger, but mostly mountains about.

The Governor declared, "State of Emergency",  and came the volunteers cry.
In the meantime, those who had lost their homes could do little their tears to dry.

The wind changed again, blowing southeast, and still not at all contained.
Two thousand men and women were there, trying this fire to tame.

Wildcats and bears and dear and wolves too, all victims of these flames,
Beavers, opossums, squirrels and rabbits could not escape for shame.

The third day brought a miracle in - a cloud appeared in the smoke.
Yes, rain was coming, and a cold wind too, helping this fire to choke.

The crew now had about one fifth of the fire under their control.
They still had a lot of work ahead to lower the casualty toll.

The fire was headed straight for the lake, which was a reservoir too.
Amazing when you think about it, the damage that litter can do.

Now as I write this, the fire still burns, and is not yet under control.
But none the less, the poem has a point, and not by a popular poll:

Don't ever think that just because it is cold and windy outside,
That a cigarette butt will not be a problem to just throw aside.

Put it out entirely, in a safe and fireproof place,
Then discard it in a place where heat won't cause a flame, no matter what the case.

Though no lives of people were lost quite yet, in this horrible disaster,
The devastation for twelve thousand acres will be remembered hereafter.

The animals killed, the properties lost, the memories not ever forgotten,
The homes not there to ever come back to. It makes a heart feel rotten.

Remember what Smokey the Bear once said, who survived such a fire himself:
"Only you can prevent forest fires" And the key is you yourself.

The Fire © 2001 by David E. Young.  All rights reserved. May not be copied or sold without express written permission from David E. Young.  May be shared on Social Media via the provided links or with included link to this page.