It’s spring in Florida, which means temperatures in the 90s, high winds, and no rain whatsoever. And that, dear reader, means wildfires.
Tonight, Interstate 95 is closed from Malabar, the town immediately east of us, all the way down to Vero Beach, some twenty-seven miles to the south, because smoke from the wildfires is making driving too hazardous. At least 100 homes were evacuated in Palm Bay and Malabar. More fires are burning up near Cocoa.
I watched the 11 p.m. news with interest, though not concern, since the fires really weren’t nearby. There was some really dramatic footage, though. The firefighters were praised for their heroism; I roll my eyes just the teeniest little bit when people who are simply doing jobs that are occasionally dangerous are called American Heroes with the kind of awe usually reserved for people who liberate people from slavery or spend their life in service to the poor or invent the light bulb.
Then our local newscaster got emotional. “These guys,” he said (and apparently no women have ever served as firefighters), “these guys have been working all day long! They have literally worked their fingers to the bone!”
I quickly glanced at the screen, hoping for some extra-special dramatic footage, or at least a photo of a bandaged hand, but they went on to a story about a local politician in trouble over something or other.
It could be worse, I guess. When Senator Clinton was in Iowa for the January primaries there, she praised the tenacity of the people who came to hear her speak. “We had 300 people outside literally freezing to death,” she said. (In fact, no deaths were reported. I smell a government cover-up.)