Just a week after the trees in back of our house caught fire, we had another fire at the front of our property, where the woods and field border the road. One thing I need to mention is that people in our corner of the Pacific Northwest are obsessed with fireworks. For months before every fireworks-heavy holiday (New Years and Independence Day), tents pop up selling fireworks with names like “TNT”, “Shock and Awe”, and the most appropriate of all, “Redneck Fireworks Stand”. The local populace starts setting off all sorts of explosions a week before the holiday; on the actual date it sounds like a war zone from morning until well after midnight. People must stockpile fireworks because they also set them off whenever a Seattle sports team wins.
There is always the occasional mishap when fireworks are set off by people in various stages of pre-adolescence, adolescence, machismo, and/or intoxication. This year, houses and cars were set on fire, fingers were blown off, and our bamboo grove was set on fire.
We were calmly having guests over for dinner in the midst of continuous explosions large and small when there was a commotion up by the road. Michael went up to investigate and found a section of our bamboo grove on fire, with flames flying up to the sky and spreading like wildfire (no pun intended) through the leaves and dry grass below the bamboo.
The culprits were two teenage boys and their goofy father, who had shot off some sort of explosive device that was “supposed to go up, but went off to the side”. I did not witness the firefighting operation in person, but was told by those who did, that someone in the group was trying to carry water to the fire in an orange bucket full of bullet holes caused by its having been used for target practice (probably the bucket in the photo, which I took from a distance). Imagine the comic effect of a boy carrying water in a bucket spouting water out of multiple holes, ending up empty by the time he got it to the fire!
Eventually, mostly with the help of Michael and our friends, the whole bumbling crowd managed to get some water to the fire through a sort of bucket brigade, and finally through a hose. There’s no serious damage, just a lot of charred grass, some dead bamboo, and some semi-traumatized teenagers who were abjectly hauled to the house to apologize to those of us who hadn’t even realized that all this was going on.
I hope this is the last fire for a while!
[Photos are mine]