, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
This is not a very great photo but this is a photo I took of the Cedar Park fire that was part of the Firestorm 2011 (or what we are now calling the "Central Texas Fires.")
This fire burned down an apartment complex in Cedar Park (my current hometown) and left several buildings of apartment dwellers homeless. I happened to drive by the start of the fire on my way home the other day. To give you an idea of how large/fast the fire spread, I had seen the flames from highway 183 (my usual path home) and was going to pull over, stop to take pictures. I decided it better to get out of the way of the flames, so I pulled over one block, traveling east, driving on a road that runs parallel to Highway 183, figuring I would get out of the way of the fire. I stopped to take a few images with my iPhone (one you see here) and then continued home. By the time I had gotten home, the news was reporting that the building was destroyed. The entire apartment complex was razed in about an hour. (It's very hot and dry here, in case you did not know. This is contributing to the fire situation, as we have had no rain since the fires broke out and no rain in the forecast, not to mention dry/windy conditions, which fan the fires.)
To update you on the overall status of Firestorm 2011:
* There are still many people missing from Bastrop. There is a website you can go to that lists the names of the people missing. Some have been marked as FOUND while others are still missing. If you know of anybody displaced from the Bastrop fire complex, please contact authorities so they can get an accurate count of those unaccounted for in the fires.
* Most of the Bastrop fires have been somewhat contained. If that sounds like an incomplete thought, well it is. The fires are supposed to be about 70-80 percent contained now, but that does not mean that they are out. We have also had no rain, so this means things can start up again on a moment's notice. Not everybody in Bastrop can go back to their homes yet, as they are still clearing embers and working to put out the fires, to keep them from flaring up again.
* Local area charities have asked that we refrain from donating clothing. The lines have been very long for donations, so much so that they've asked folks for cleaning supplies and children's things, rather than clothing. Many young children have lost all of their toys and are hurting, so they are asking for help here but lots of clothing, blankets, and the like have been donated. Please check with your local donation drop off location before heading out with your items, to make sure you bring the most needed items.
* The pet shelters are full of displaced animals, some that are suffering burns. If you have lost a pet, please check with the local shelters and see if you can find your little buddy. Many of the animals have already been treated for burns so finding your lost pet will help them heal.
* Most of the folks in the Steiner Ranch area are back in their homes but are requested that people do not do "drive by's" or try to get into the neighborhood to take pictures, etc. They are still dealing with insurance and want to keep out looters, vandals, etc. (so far, there has been no looting to report but they want to keep it that way.) They are asking that we please respect privacy.
There are lots more fire updates but these are some of the bigger ones.
As part of the relief efforts, I have decided to organize a book, printed to benefit the victims of the Firestorm 2011. The book will be called "Tinderbox of Tomorrows" and will feature artwork donated to the cause. For my artist friends, look for a call for entries coming your way soon. I will be using the "Blurb for Good" service of Blurb to raise some funds for the fire victims.
The book's theme will loosely be centered around "hope." I will be looking for images (2D) that can bring hope to those who might have lost everything in these horrible fires. If you are an artist friend, I hope you will consider donating an image to the book. I am also going to try to get somebody to write the preface of the book, I'll keep you posted on that as soon as I have more details to report.
I am looking forward to this book and hoping that something of beauty can come from something so horrible. (Wish me luck with that but, isn't that what art is all about anyway?)
Until next time...