Out of Control

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
lcfire11.jpgOn March 24, 2011, a controlled burn in Ludowici, Georgia spreads on the wings of high winds. Exceedingly dry conditions and the fuel of Georgia Pines accelerate the conflagration.
Fire trucks and emergency services swiftly move into action. Smoke billows into the sky sounding the alarm for miles around.
Citizens in the path justifiably panic and begin hosing down their houses, before scurrying to evacuate. The flames move through the forest with amazing speed as fire rises to the treetops, devouring everything in its path, leaping four lanes of Highway 84.
Landing on the other side, it begins sprinting in all directions. Fire fighters battle until they have nothing left. Trucks run out of water and workers scramble to refill their supplies before it is too late. New fires start up and old ones reignite. Exhausted heroes face a one hundred foot wall of red fury and perform super human feats to save the precious homes of the citizenry.
Listening to the scanner and all of the furious efforts to fight the beast, yields drama like no movie can provide. Fire fighters prepare a last stand to protect the elementary school. Elsewhere, bulldozers line up to do battle, only to have the fire jump the breaks, impervious to their efforts.
When fire fighters finally gain the upper hand, 4,035 acres lie black with soot and three houses smolder in ruin. A community mourns at the carnage, knowing it could have been much worse. A few turns and the courthouse, post office, nursing home and schools would be gone and a small community would be decimated.
Everyone in the community is grateful for the extraordinary efforts of everyone involved. Their bravery will remain with the collective minds of the community forever.
Catastrophes can happen so quickly that they leave us breathless. Our lives can change forever as the result of a traffic accident or a diagnosis of cancer. Suddenly our feet are on ice and we cannot find a solid place to stand.
All we can do is to love one another, remaining close and thankful for every moment we have together. Ultimately, we must cling to God, making sure we are ready when our lives end, knowing we are ready for the judgment (Luke 13:3-5). It is ultimately all we can control when our world explodes.

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