’Twas the Fire Before Christmas

December 2017: Thomas Fire

’Twas the week before Christmas, and all through downtown
Not a shopper was stirring — was ash all around.
In the season of giving, nobody was buying.
Under the trees, no gifts would be lying!

The town folk on State Street had masks on their faces.
They aimlessly wandered or stayed put in their places.
The people were downcast. There wasn’t much chatter.
But the masks did protect from particulate matter.

The inferno had started some distance away.
But charged this direction in just a few days.
It roared up the coastline — circumstances were dire.
Who could we count on to extinguish this fire?

When what to the city’s eyes should appear
But red trucks full of elves who knew not of fear.
On to the south coast the strike teams rolled out.
The people were cheering. “Hurray!” they did shout!

The wind it was blowing. The shrubs they were dry.
An impossible challenge but they’d give it a try.
Their helmets were strapped. Their demeanor was chill.
They pulled on their boots and they made for the hills.

Armed with pick axes and chainsaws they came
And faced the hot sparks and the embers and flames.
So up to the mountains the strike teams they flew,
The engine lights flashing—they had work to do!

On engines and pumpers. On scoopers and choppers.
On strike teams, evac teams, and jet Phos-Chek droppers.
From the top of Cielo to the Mesa of Shepherd
They fought and they cleared and they turned the fire backward.

They attacked it for one week, and then for another.
They fought for our town and they fought for their brother.
And there on the telly, the KEY Team informed us
About winds and road closures as the fire did storm us.

And finally ol’ Thomas was brought to his knees.
The fire breaks holding against a strong breeze.
And the town breathed a sigh as they rode out of sight,
“Thank God for firefighters who put up such a fight!”

* With apologies to Clement Moore, author of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.