So last night, about 3:30am, I wake up to the sound of Cagney puking. I love her to pieces, but the upstairs carpet, despite being StainMaster, does not handle cat puke well. I hurried myself out of bed, grabbed the cat, and put her at the top of the stairs - it's not ideal, but it gets the majority of the vomit onto an easily-cleanable surface.
In passing, I note that the downstairs lights are on.
My dad comes round the corner, mumbling, "It's okay - oh, it's the cat." I roll my eyes and throw myself back in bed. Entirely too early for this.
"...Em?" I yawn. "Em?" My dad's at the top of the stairs now.
"What?" I snap.
"Did you see what's happening outside?"
I sit up. I turn my head to look out the tiny window over my bed. The next door neighbor's house is illuminated in orange. "What the hell?"
"There's a fire right outside our back door."
It took me a considerable amount of time to wake up fully. I still didn't know what time it was, and I'm trying to reconcile what has just been said with what is possible: what looks like a big fire cannot be, as we are not rushing from the house. No explanation from my dad was making sense; I threw on a robe and came downstairs.
Our neighbor has a large oak tree in the upper corner of his property, where it meets ours. We have a large oak, as well, mirroring it. The power lines run along the road, through the branches of the trees. Last night, one of the wires suddenly snapped free and came to rest on our neighbor's oak. The entire front of the trunk was in flames. Periodically, the wire would spit white sparks on the ground, catching the brush. We were lucky it had rained heavily the day/night before - none of the small fires caught long enough to do damage.
The firemen were out, of course. The problem was, the downed wire prevented them from doing any firefighting. Eventually one of them came to our door - good time, too, as dad had obviously been about to go outside and see what he could see. He said there wasn't a problem, but if something came and we needed to get out, they'd come and tell us, and we had to evacuate on the road on the other side of the house - there were downed wires all along the front of the property. I saw our across-the-street neighbors' lights come on, so he doubtless went to tell them the same.
Eventually, they got the power off. The fire immediately went out - the oak is big, and living, and with the rain, it was only the extreme heat of the electricity that was keeping the fire going. Despite the length of the fire (an hour, easy), no further fires were started.
I like fire. I think it's an amazing thing, and I like working with it and controlling it. I dislike fire when it's wild. I'm glad the tree was living enough to keep it from going up in flames - it was entirely too close to home.