Growing up a Husker in western Nebraska, I didn't have too many experiences with "Wildfires". Yes, from time to time, we would burn off a stubble field of wheat.....but it was uneventful and usually small. The past twenty years however, my experience has been broadened to the wide open spaces of the Lone Star State. My father-in-law, Rob, uses fire frequently on our ranch.....trying to burn at least 1/6 of the land every year. These "planned" burns help rid the range land of pesky weeds and brush, making way for the lush green grass to regain strength in the spring. However, occasionally (and more often then not).....wildfires break out in this part of the world during the drier times of the year. Many of you may remember a few years ago when the Texas Panhandle went up in flames. The drought conditions presently, along with the March winds have given way to Red Flag alerts all over this country. A couple of weeks ago, over 100,000 burned out of control in west Texas. As I watched the news tonight, I'm sitting in prayer for our friends in Jack County. High winds caused power lines to spark and set a blaze just outside the community of Jacksboro. Tonight, over 7,000 acres have burned and it is only 60% contained. The range, some homes, and livestock have become victims of mother nature. Prayers go out to all affected and to the countless volunteers who are on the front lines tonight.
Half a world away in Japan, we have witnessed another terrible, catastrophic disaster. It's been nearly 25 years since my National FFA Officer team and I spent time in that country. But tonight, I spend in wonder about my host family and the many sweet, hospitable people who shared their country with us. It is nearly unbearable to watch the tv coverage. My heart is breaking for the people and the country.