This year has been the hottest on record in North Texas. Couple that with it being among the driest on record and the wildfire danger escalates dramatically. I started to saw a piece of sheet metal in two last evening to make some repairs to the goat shed and stopped when I saw the sparks it was giving off.
While much of the South and East has been contending with tropical storms and hurricanes, we’ve received about 15% of our normal amount of rainfall for the summer – and that amount came early in the season. Our next chance of rain (and it’s not looking like a good one) isn’t until the middle of next week.
We broke an all-time record with 62 days of 100+ (F) temperatures (37.8 C). Lake levels are at their lowest. Two of the three ponds on my property are completely dry and the third isn’t looking well. What this means is that there isn’t much hay being harvested locally. That will drive prices up – waaay up – for the winter, and that means economically stressed ranchers will be forced to sell their cows and goats this fall rather than overwinter them and non-food horses will be left to starve in pastures that are nothing but dirt. Rescues are already taking place. We have grim times ahead.
It isn’t just the smell of smoke that hangs heavy in the air today. It’s the smell of great sadness looming just beyond the horizon.