Smoke & Fire

265. Smoke and Fire: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Use this saying as inspiration to write!

365 Creative Writing Prompts

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” was the last thing I heard when suddenly all sound seized and that phrase kept bouncing around and around in my head. In my mind I was seeing the tiny spark in a deep and dark forest. I even heard the distant laughter of a small group of people as they moved away from ground zero. And just like that, I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. Giving myself a slight face slap, I attempted to drag myself back to the classroom and continue listening to Jerry’s dad. It was “bring your parent to school day” and Mr. Blackwood had grabbed my attention with that opening line.

“You see, boys and girls, this is what I do for a living. I have my regular route that I walk and drive every day and I have to pay attention and look at all the places that people gather at, usually a campfire or fire pit. Sometimes they may even sit around an old fallen log and start a fire there, so it’s not even a proper fire pit. Which, by the way, is illegal and very irresponsible in the forest; and maybe one of them smokes and carelessly tossed their still lit cigarette into the nearest bush. You know what comes next, right?” Mr. Blackwood was looking directly into the eyes of each of the students to make his point.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” We all shouted enthusiastically.

“That’s right.” Mr. Blackwood stated, pleased with our response. I eagerly listened for more as he described his day. Trying to look uninterested, I gazed around the classroom, clamping down on the urge to reach for my backpack. I would have pulled out paper and a pen and taken notes but for the teasing that would surely follow that action.

“Usually, all is quiet and everything is in order.” Mr. Blackwood continued. “The animals are happily scampering around doing their thing,” he waved his hands. “But I have to remain vigilant—observant, just in case there’s an animal trapped, or maybe a person is injured and yelling for help. That’s what makes my job so interesting. I never know whether it’s going to be a quiet day or a day of rescuing people or animals. Best of all is when I come across an abandoned fire pit.” He eagerly leaned forward. “If I do, I have to take extra time and look closely and wait patiently. Do any of you know what you should do before you leave your campfire or fire pit?” Mr. Blackwood asked while looking around the room. “And not you, Jerry.” He pointed to his son. “I know you know the answer.” He smiled. My hand shot up.

“I shouldn’t let you answer, either Ryan, since you should know this, too, but go ahead.” He nodded at me.

“Even if you don’t see any smoke, you need to wet down the firepit and make certain it’s completely out before leaving the area.” I proudly stated.

“That is correct. Sometimes people just throw the dregs of their coffee mug at the fire and think that will do the job. It may initially stop small flames, but what can still happen?” He looked over at the teacher to make certain he still had time and it was okay to be asking another question. Mrs. Leery just smiled and nodded.

“My daddy says that sometimes the fire is still hot way deep down and that if enough water isn’t poured on the campfire, it can start up again. I know ’cause this happened to us last year and if daddy hadn’t forgotten his hat and gone back for it, he would have missed seeing the fire start back up.” Anita stated.

“Very good. That’s exactly how many of our forest fires start. Someone thought the fire was out and left but underneath it was still too hot and then a little breeze blew—maybe a dry leaf or two finds its way to that fire pit and before you know it it’s in full conflagration. Oh, sorry, I mean its burning merrily away and getting out of hand.” Mr. Blackwood shrugged sheepishly.

“Okay, boys and girls. Let’s thank Mr. Blackwood for coming by today and sharing about his work in the forest as a Ranger.” Mrs. Leery clapped her hands and we all joined in. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm as I was so excited knowing that someday I could get the opportunity to talk to a bunch of school kids, too. But that would mean I had kids… I felt my face flame as I tried not to stare at Becky, who was a row over and a seat ahead of me.

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