On Monday, March 16, my family had an experience with fire that changed our lives. Our neighbors, in defiance of a Blanco fire ban and a governor’s mandate for statewide burn ban, set a blaze within 300 feet of our home, at the back of their large ranch. It quickly ran out of control. It threatened our stables, our home, 14 neighbors that surround the area, and all our horses. Bill and I saw the fire, but believed that it was “attended”. We quickly came to realize that it was not. The fire began to spread and rage. As we observed the situation, we realized that a small pumper truck was on its way down our driveway. Two Round Mountain firefighters arrived. Although the fire was at our neighbors in Blanco County and we are in Burnett, we quickly realized that the truck was unable to reach the fire, the fence was cut and these two gallant men attempted to put it out. It became very clear that a major disaster was in the making, and I was later told by Fire Chief Allen Harrison of the Round Mountain Fire Department, that another Bastrop fire disaster was a possibility given the scope of the fire and the fuel from the long grass and trees on the neighbor’s property. Thank heavens it was a calm day as the flames took on the speed that seemed unbelievable. It is hard to contemplate the scope had the wind been strong. Marble Falls, Granite Shoals, Cottonwood Shores and Spicewood fire departments subsequently were called to assist and over numerous vehicles arrived to protect our home, our animals, our neighbors to the north and east of the fire, and to bring much needed assistance. Their presence and the calming effect of their professionalism were indeed welcome. Although we all observe emergency vehicles on the roads many times, you really do not appreciate the dedication, skill and relief that you get when you see the large fire trucks and the well trained firefighters arrive. The speed and efficiency of their training and skill is remarkable.
Our family wants to take this public opportunity to thank the courageous fire fighters and safety personnel who arrived here. The comfort and relief they brought to us is really hard to describe. At this writing, the Blanco firefighters and Chief Allen Harrison have spent an entire third day putting out fires still smoldering from cut trees over the entire property as the fire jumped to many areas. Although his son was on vacation this week and activities were anticipated for his family, Chief Harrison stayed the course for three days here at Tonkawood to make sure we were safe. Chief Harrison said that over 100 acres have burned so far. That, to us, is dedication beyond belief as these men are volunteers. How many of us would serve their fellow citizens to the extent that these great people do? We will never take the sound of a siren for granted again, and we all need to know of the untold hours of volunteer time, the importance of good equipment and most of all the courage and dedication of our fire fighters. Chief Harrison told us that it was his way of giving back and serving the community. We can all take a lesson from these great men. We are eternally grateful on behalf of our entire family at Tonkawood Farm and behalf of our horses. We would respectively ask all our friends and neighbors to pay special attention when you hear of a firefighter fund raiser. The safety and well being of our community really depends on these folks. We need to support them in all ways. Our family will never forget the courage and dedication we observed. Thank you all.
Pat and Bill Dickey