The word among fire fighters and law enforcement is that these fires, pretty much all of them, 18 of 19, have been arson related. The papers say that the Governor declared 25 counties to be under a State of Emergency which assists in enforcing forced evacuations. As of yesterday, the last rumor I heard was that the count of arsonists captured is up to four in our area. Another rumor I heard is that two people died in one of the fires near the Nantahala gorge. I wonder if that means that the perps will also be charged with some level of murder. [Update: It was a meth lab. Such labs explode in fire all the time.]
The counties of my parish are filled with smoke. This could last for weeks unless we get a long rain to put out the fires. In visiting parishioners in the hospital today I asked a doctor if there were any cases of smoke related injuries and he said that yes, there were some already today. People are on oxygen and have asthma…
- Some fires are started I suppose in the hopes of perpetrating insurance fraud, you know, the old trick about buying fire insurance for an old and moldy house and then setting a fire to collect money to build a new house.
- Or maybe it’s about setting fires near the homes of feuding clans.
- Or maybe it’s about meth-lab fires in a tent in the forests (common!).
- Or maybe it’s about sociopaths and discontent. Fires the other year in another WNC county were suspected to be set by someone thrown off a local fire department.
- Or maybe it’s about forcing evacuations and then going in to loot freely (not thinking law enforcement is out in strength).
- Or maybe it’s about making the country seem out of control at election time, with these fires starting before the election.
- Or maybe it’s just craziness and you just can’t figure out crazy because it’s crazy.
Anyway, lots of my parishioners are evacuated, many of them elderly and crippled. This is really annoying for them to live through. You fear losing everything since often the water choppers can’t fly since they can’t see anything as the smoke is so very thick.
We pray for the safety of everyone, especially of evacuees, fire-fighters, law enforcement.