For nearly two weeks, my next-door neighbors had tried to get rid of a family of raccoons that were destroying their manicured backyard. At about 8 p.m. on July 21, the slider door to my backyard turned hot with heat and a bright red glow could be seen through the glass. I realized there was a raging fire next door, and it had traveled the fence into our yard and was heading to my house.
My family and I immediately evacuated and dozens of neighbors were outside, looking on in panic and moving cars to make room for the fire trucks. Fortunately, my husband and neighbor’s husband hosed with fervor until the fire department came, and ultimately the damage was mainly to the wooden fences and the large cypress trees that had lined them.
Prior to the fire, my neighbor had spotted the raccoons digging up her plants — again. Cayenne pepper on the grass hadn’t worked, nor had any other method she had found out about online and tried. But animals don’t like fire, right? So, she lit up a leftover July 4 firework-starter in the yard with hopes to shoo them away. Except the flame shot a little farther than expected and launched into thick brush that instantly sizzled out of control. My neighbor feels terrible about it, she said. Today she is outside, helping rebuild a fence.