Updated: May 27, 2018
The dreams of a child often carry over into adulthood. When I was a kid growing up in Detroit I had dreams of greatness just like most kids that I knew. There were those who wanted to baseball player, some cops for me it was a fireman. I think part of that comes from my parents who used to love to chase fire trucks. I know odd, right? If there was a big fire my parents would pile us kids into the VW van and try and follow the sirens. I really haven't changed much, when I see a bunch of trucks heading in the same direction with lights on and the screaming sound of their warning they are coming your way, I want follow them. When you fast forward a ton of years you end up with a man who loves to capture the action of those firefighters doing their best to save people and property.
I have spent my entire life in the midwest, with the exception of the years I was in the Navy, I never wandered to far from my Great Lakes. The wildfires in western Oklahoma continue to rage out of control the wind blowing 40-50 and even 60 miles an hour at times is pushing the fire, the dry conditions from the winter and the lack of moisture in the air are a perfect recipe for disaster.
The little kid from Detroit decided to chase the firemen doing their best to stop the progress of those fires, the biggest one is called the Rhea fire (pronounced ray) When I got near the town of Oakwood they had closed the road because the flames were jumping the highway. My goal was to get behind the fire and get some shots has it traveled east against the setting sun. I traveled down little roads used by ranchers and when I saw road trust me that term is used loosely, think goat trail.
I was able to make my way to Oakwood a town that was supposed to have evacuated several hours earlier but I saw no evidence of that, people were out watering down their lawns and the brush near their homes, in hopes of fending off the raging fires. A few hours earlier I had heard the fire was advancing on a town called Seiling (ceiling) so I headed in that direction. I came up over the rise in the road about 10 to 15 miles from that town and was in awe. The plume of smoke could be seen from miles away but as I got closer I saw the orange and yellow glow of the fire. When I was about two miles out I could see the flames reaching into the air about the tree line. I was stunned, I had never seen anything like this, this was not a Detroit house fire, that's for damn sure.
As I approached the fire I could see several semi's filled with water in the middle of the road and the flames jumping over the highway, the temperature outside at 8:30 at night was 85 degrees and as I got closer the temperature gage in my car jumped to 105. I decided I was close enough and turned around. I chose to head back about a mile where there was a slight rise in the road and was able to grab these images. I was only able to stand in this spot for about five minutes because a few minutes later the fire shifted and started to come directly toward me. The semi's and fire trucks were now in a quick retreat coming right toward me. I decided at that point it was time to head for the safety of home.