Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Memories of 1998

Everybody who lived in north Florida in 1998 must remember the drought and huge wildfire that swept through parts of St. Johns County near St. Augustine. It got national news coverage and wildfire crews came from all parts of the country to help put out the blaze. I was staying at my grandma's house that day, and we had went to a family-owned restaurant, Schooners, for lunch. When we walked out the door, our stomachs full of fried shrimp and Datil pepper sauce, we spotted a HUGE plume of smoke off to the west...right near my grandma's house. We drove home, a little worried about what the situation may be in her heavily forested neighborhood. When we stepped out of the car and onto her driveway, we choked as smoke filled our lungs. The fire was only a mile away. We sprayed down her house with water just to be safe and my parents came to pick me up, afraid of what may happen. Fortunately for us, this fire stayed away from my grandma's 60-year-old house and no harm was done to our own property. Others were not so lucky...

In many ways, this year reminds me very much of 1998. Hot, extrememly dry weather, with the very little rainfall always accompanied by lightning. Not good news when it comes to wildfire danger. Hopefully we won't have anything like that this year, but the conditions seem right for it.

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