Tuesday, April 19, 2011

House Hunting

We spent 5 days in San Angelo last week looking at houses and preparing for the move there we expect to make in May. We secured a postal box, opened a bank account, found a storage facility for our trailer, and bought a new house. Our new home is still under construction and is due to be completed by June 30. We are, needless to say, very excited.

The first night we were there, a storm passed through the area. Sometime during the night, there was a lightning strike northwest of town that started a fire. The foreman at the ranch saw the strike, checked the fire, and then reported it. Firefighting crews thought they had contained the fire during the night, but the next morning the fire gained new life. We watched the smoke intensify throughout the day as we rode around town looking at houses. This fire was called the Encino Ranch fire, and it was soon contained. Recently, a much larger fire to the north of San Angelo has emerged, called the Wildcat Fire, and it is still doing considerable damage to the countryside as I write this.

It is difficult to express just how dry that country is. I thought the best way would be to show a picture. While in Angelo, we drove through San Angelo State Park, which is on the western edge of the city. The park lies along the shoreline of O. C. Fisher Lake, which is formed by the North Concho River. If you look at a map of this area, you will see that the lake appears to be quite large:

San Angelo, Texas; OC Fisher Lake to the west
The map above makes the lake look quite large. Below are some pictures I took of the lake as we drove around the park.

Boat ramp to dry lake bed

Boat ramp and dam

Body of lake
I read an article in a local paper on Sunday about the wild fires occuring across the state. At the time, there were 47 fires in progress -- 31 in East Texas and 16 in West Texas. The whole state is dry. Temperatures in the San Angelo area are approaching 100 degrees, and we are still in April. Winds across the state are almost constant, and they -- along with lower humidity levels -- continue to dry out grass, shrubs, and trees. It's a tinder box out there.

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