Local wildfires scorch sense of security


Lives at Stake: A dark cloud of smoke rises in Manchaca, Texas, as a fire ignites in the nearby church. “The fire was two-three streets away... everyone was rushing,” said sophmore Annabelle C. Photo by: Annabelle C.

 “On Saturday night, we found out that the fire started at the church,” said sophomore Annabelle C., describing the fire that occurred September 5 in Manchaca, Texas, while she was visiting her grandmother. “Across the street I could see the black cloud rise. It was very scary. The fire was two to three streets away, I could hear the police sirens…everyone was rushing.”

Evacuating was the most complicated part; people who were in danger from the fire were told to leave everything other than the major necessities. After gathering their things, it was all just one long, concerned ride; in which the heart and the mind raced.

“It took us five hours just to get to our house. Along the way it felt as though the fire was making each city evacuate,” Annabelle said.

A small spark can start a fire anywhere, anytime in this state, due to the dry conditions and lack of rain for the past  eleven months. This year some of the largest fires in history have appeared in Texas. The parched ground is ideal for wildfires to breed. Several counties in Texas, such as Bastrop, Palo Pinto, including Harris, have seen the blaze of a fire right out on their doorsteps.

Both students and staff have felt the effects that lie behind this devastation.

“The fire is pretty close to my [relative’s] ranch in Waller County. All the farm animals were left behind and since then we were not allowed to go back and check on the ranch and our animals,” said sophomore Amy H. “I’m worried a lot about what’s going to happen and what is happening. I really don’t want to think about the destruction that will be left behind afterward and the process of recovering from the destruction.”

Many  saw the smoke and the ashes from the fire that took place on September 14 in George Bush Park on Highway 6, less than 4 miles from Kerr.

The black smoke rises: A cloud of dark smoke from the wildfire in George Bush Park can be seen from miles afar. “I was on the computer when my parents told me and I was freaking out, and surprisingly my parents seemed to only worry about my homework. I wanted to evacuate because the smoke was just growing. I mean there can’t be a fire this close to Houston,” said freshman Shreeti S. Photo by: Shreeti S.

Annabelle’s  family returned to Manchaca after the fire, once people were allowed to return to their homes.

“Everything looks dead, people were rushed around, and it was like one house was standing and the other was in ashes,” Annabelle said.

To help victims of the wildfires get the relief, Student Council collected shirts and jeans to donate to the students of Magnolia High School. Student Council is also collected money for gift cards to give to Bastrop High School.

“The fires and droughts are changing lives and landscapes permanently,” Margaret said. “The victims of these fires are clearly receiving the immediate assistance they need, but we can’t forget that these people will need help for many months.”