I got a photo of Roxie in the shadows last night.
I don't live with her anymore so photos and updates really make my day. She's happy to see Ed, of course, but the end of Ed's house that Roxie, our dogs, and I used to occupy is now filled with his family members Roxie's seen before but never got to know. She's skittish and isn't yet comfortable coming too close or lingering any longer than necessary. She's getting better acclimated every day, though, so I'm sure it's just a matter of time before she reigns supreme at that address, just like she did before the fire. I expect the mix of our old, familiar smells and the new ashy, charred stink everywhere have her on guard.
I haven't heard of any new flare-ups or fresh fires lately but I did read the Texas Forest Service burned down at least one big patch of intact forest in the middle of the burn zone; doing so eliminated a very dangerous source of highly-flammable fuel - the healthy but drought-stricken trees themselves. Did you know pine trees can become explosive when they catch on fire?
We've had more than 90 days of temperatures over 100 degrees this summer. My sister reminded me that's a whole season, 25% of a year. The heat is finally easing up a bit; doesn't get into the 90s very often anymore.
But still no rain. It's been close to a year since we've had a 'normal' rainfall. Texas is seeing the most severe drought of a year's duration that its ever seen. The state is a tinderbox.
When I thought all my clothes were destroyed in the fire, people gave me lots of nice things and the relief shelters in the county had some really cool clothes, too. I stocked up but it was very, very hot then. Most of my wardrobe is shorts, skirts, and sleeveless tops of some kind or another, the better to beat the heat.
Now I'm wishing I had some sleeves. Lucky for me, I have one sister who lives upstairs and she's got plenty of sleeves, and everything else a woman might want to wear. We have another well-dressed sister just down the street. We're all the same size so I've really got a very extended and well-stocked wardrobe to play with. I'm very lucky in that way.
Many of the other survivors of the fire don't have generous, sharp-dressed sisters of the same size within walking distance. After a good washing, most of my clothes were salvageable although I tossed those that retained the aroma of soot and smoke. I think more people who had a first-hand experience with the fire weren't so lucky. I think thousands of people had everything in their house - including every stitch of everybody's clothes - reduced to ashes. I'm lucky there, too.
I'm worrying about them these days - have they accumulated only the light-weight clothes that were appropriate during the days of the fire or do they have warm clothes, too, now that there seems to be a change in the season finally coming on? Donations of food, clothing, bedding, pet supplies, and most of the things displaced people are missing the most are still coming in by the truckload from all over the United States. Maybe, as the rest of the nation starts to dig into winter wardrobes, they'll cull some to send south to the survivors of this hellish fire.
Actually, Texas has seen hundreds of wildfires this year although I think most of them have been in remote locations and very rural areas where population density isn't high so people's homes and lives aren't threatened terribly. One of the worst aspects of the Bastrop County Complex Fire is that there were some pretty heavily populated areas in the burn zone.
So, any rain coming our way? Not according to the state's official climatologist - his prediction is for terrible drought to last for years: Terrible News: Texas Drought Could Last Until 2020