I noticed when the girls ran down the big hill to the swing set whose swings are closer to the ground and subsequently easier to mount, that someone in the vicinity seemed to have lit a grill. It smelled like a campfire. I thought that if anyone was firing up a grill at that hour, only BBQ (real BBQ, not the thing my northern kinfolk term all cooking outdoors, but the slow-cooked food that is specifically BBQ) could be the result.
Shortly after I made note of the delightful smell the other mama at the park at that early hour said to me "hey, is that trashcan on fire?" It was indeed engulfed in flames. We had just walked away from it not 45 seconds ago. Black smoked billowed from it. She and I stood staring in some disbelief. Then she flipped open her phone and dialed 9-1-1. I called to the lone guy riding his mountain bike in the skate park. "Hey! Fire!" I said. "I was just noticing that, thanks!" he called back, making haste, along with us, away from the trashcan. The fire had caught the surrounding pinestraw and was working its way up the pine tree immediately behind it. Good heavens.
We heard the sirens and wondered why it was taking the fire department so long to arrive at a burn site approximately 1/4 of a mile from the nearest station. But arrive they did. Sarah was terrified of the noisy truck. We watched as the police arrived and visibly swore in the car while slowly pulling past us gawking on-lookers. It really was a big fire. The fire truck arrived and our heroes went to work, quickly putting out the flame. The initial giant poof of smoke dissipated quickly and then we all inched closer, because that's what humans do, and clapped. Then we watched as the firefighters put their hose away and climbed out of the heavy gear. Kate thanked them and we headed home. The trucked passed us and all the firefighters waved. I thought of Sesame Street, as I so often do - "a fireman is a person in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood in your neeeeiiighboooorhood..."
phone pictures MMS'd to me then emailed from there, what can I tell you? Not the best quality.