Our Rural Roots

Kindness Brings Hope After Texas Fire

Friends and neighbors rally to aid this Texas ranch and bring important perspective amid a devasting wildfire. (Photo by Tiffany Dowell Lashmet)

I knew the moment I walked out of the house; it was going to be a bad day. The air was too dry. The wind was too strong. Like some people say they can feel a storm in their joints, I could feel fire weather in my soul.

Unfortunately, I was right. The Texas Panhandle was hit by the largest wildfire in Texas history, the Smokehouse Creek Fire. Over 1 million acres burned. Thousands of cattle lost. Homes destroyed. Dreams and plans and generations of work were gone in an instant.

While the fire was too close for comfort for us, resulting in us having to get cows loaded and out of a pasture surrounded by flames and an evacuation order for our house, all of our land and animals were spared. So many others were not as fortunate.

The wind, the smoke, the flames, the emergency lights. It is an image forever seared into my mind. That night, I went to bed wondering why we live here.

The next morning, I woke up and remembered.

The phone rang off the hook. People wanted to know how they could help. They offered houses and pasture and hay. Some calls came from the town next door and some from several hours away. Friends offered to come get our kids, our horses, our laundry. Everyone prayed.

Then trailers began to arrive from all parts of Texas and surrounding states. People brought hay, t-posts and milk replacer. They offered to haul livestock and would not accept a dime for it.

While there is no silver lining on a tragedy of this magnitude, there are glimmers of hope. The kindness of people shone brightly through the darkness. This is why we live here.


Tiffany Dowell Lashmet juggles family, farming, writing and a career in ag law from the Texas Panhandle. Follow her blog at http://alwaysafarmkid.com/…, on Instagram alwaysafarmkid and on X, formerly known as Twitter, @TiffDowell.