10 June 2007

My Dear Stupid Neighbors

I decided that I needed a day off from doing art, so I took one. Part of the reason had to do with finishing up one portrait, trying to get new stuff done for eBay, and getting ready to start on a new portrait. I basically just needed a break from it all.

And the other part of the reason is my stupid neighbors. Yes, stupid, stupid, and stupid. At about 9:30pm I looked out my window and saw flames shooting up about 20 feet. I looked again and saw no one around. So, I called 911 (as did 5-7 other people). As soon you could hear the sirens on the fire trucks, my dear neighbors rushed out to put out the fire and then turned off all their house lights. As it happened, there was also a house fire about that time so the fire department was diverted.

So, once the fire trucks were gone, they were back out with a roaring fire going. So, I (and several other neighbors) called 911 again. The trucks stopped on their way back from the other fire. According to one neighbor with a scanner, the stupid neighbors had no permit for open burning and were told to have a smaller fire.

And a bit after the firemen left, they were building the fire up again. Since I was told on the previous call to call back if the fire restarted, I called 911 again. And then I got a visit from the fire chief, who was now stationed out here to watch the fire. According to him, they had a valid permit and were cooperative, so nothing would happened to them.

Well, being the paranoid person that I am, I stayed up until 1:30am and watched the goings on, just to be sure. (Hey, I have too many pets to evacuate with 2 minutes notice!) I also spent the time talking to the neighbor with the scanner. According to her, on the next call to 911, the sheriff was to be sent out and the stupid neighbors were to be cited.

This is where the story gets interesting. This morning, scanner-lady talks to a couple of firemen and they say there was no valid burning permit, a permit would allow them to burn things from 11am to 2pm (not 11:30 pm!), and the permit required them to call the fire department before they started any fire.

So, the question I and several others have is why weren't these people cited last night? Why were they allowed to continue until 1:30am?! Who's lying -- the firemen or the fire chief?

To people who live outside the West, this may seem to be blown out of proportion. And if I still lived in Iowa, I probably would never have called the fire department. But, here, things are very different. We have not had measurable rain since about March 2006. The vegetation is VERY dry. One tiny ember can start a huge fire in no time. For those that have read this blog last year, you will recall the huge fire (37,000 acres) and my evacuation which started from a few embers. And since my dear neighbors have a record of stupidity (scrape their yard and then complain about the blowing dirt?!), I do not trust them with any fire.

So, after staying up until 1:30am and then getting up at 5:30am (thanks to my cats), I'm not at my best. Even the nap I took doesn't seem to have helped all that much. I just hope I'll be able to get to sleep tonight and we won't have round 2 of stupidity!!! After all, I have lots of art to do tomorrow.

No comments: