The Refiner's Fire

By Keith N Fisher

There was a big fire near my home this week. From what I gather, it started during machine gun training at the National Guard facility. I can only imagine the muzzle blast that would set the weeds on fire, but what began as a small, fight, turned into a wildfire within minutes, fanned by high winds.

Within a couple of hours the fire burned over the mountain and down the other side toward several subdivisions. Threatening a whole town. The word came down to evacuate several of those houses.

Four houses were consumed before the firefighters, and a change in wind, turned the flames back onto themselves.

During the course of the disaster, much was said about the evacuation. The question of what do you take with you, came up, causing me to consider my valuable papers, pictures, and mementos.

In thinking about this blog, and what to write, I recalled how I came into possession of one of my favorite Dutch ovens.

While preparing for my first cook-off, I realized I needed a 14-inch for, bread baking. During that time there was a small sporting goods store near my home that was selling discounted Dutch ovens. They had stacks of Lodge cast iron products loosely piled in pallet-containers. Some of it was in great shape. The rest had a crusty coating burned onto the iron. None of it was in factory boxes.

I learned a warehouse had burned down and the packaging had burned off. The crusty coating, was the remnant of that packaging. The other, good-looking stuff had been sand blasted by the store. I purchased a 14-inch.

When I think about that pile today, I cringe. I kick myself for not buying more, but money was tight, you know how it is. I also think of the oven and how it performs. I think the fire was good for that iron.

After the wildfire the other day, I think of my collection, knowing I won’t need to take it with me as long as I can get back and cleanup the mess. My cast iron will be fine. perhaps it will be better, because of the experience.