We're calling this the volcano tree. It 'erupted' this afternoon while I was crossing my neighbor's pasture to check on a couple of hot spots left from Tuesday's fire. I heard a loud crackling and looked across the pond just in time to watch the top blow off this tree. Okay, maybe it didn't exactly blow off, but in my sleep-deprived, caffeine overload condition, it seemed like it was blowing off. In slow motion, of course. Flames shot out the top of the trunk, then smoke billowed out so thick that I thought we were in big trouble.
Not so, as it turns out. The biggest trouble is the top of this very large, grandfather oak tree landed directly on the fenceline and wiped out a nice long section. Just one more extra chore for the farmer next door. The fire, however impressive, died down to a manageable level quickly enough. Hopefully it'll burn itself out soon. Hopefully there aren't any more of these quietly smoldering out there. That's been the trouble with this fire, the smoldering embers tucked away at the base of an old stump, or a dead tree, or a dying tree, or one that looks pretty good but has a nice hollow spot started at the base. The fire can spread through it before there's any outward sign.