The Most Ignored News Story, and Best Article of 2017
By Jim Mundorf
If you look at the news now you are probably being told what the top news stories of 2017 were. You will read mostly about President Trump, and the perverts in Hollywood and media, and mass shootings. What you probably won’t find in any of the lists is that on one day, in March, 32 fires broke out in and around the Texas Panhandle that ended up burning 1.2 million acres and took a number of lives. According to Todd Lindley of the National Weather Service it was, “the largest individual Plains fire outbreak documented in the modern era.” But you won’t read about it in the news now and, unless you lived near the area it happened, you wouldn’t have read about it then. I have a feeling most of people in the country have no idea it even happened.
About two weeks after it happened I was in the Texas panhandle. I drove south out of Perryton and spent a couple hours staring out the window of my pickup in awe of the charred ground as far as the eye could see. I rolled into Amarillo, got a hotel and went across the street to a restaurant. I ate at the bar and listened to a guy from California who was in town on business. He was talking the ear off a local. I wasn't eavesdropping he was the kind of idiot that wanted everyone in there to hear what he had to say. He talked about a documentary he had watched about farming, and how GMOs were killing everybody. He talked about how he and his family were trying to switch to all organic food. He knew it all when it came to food production and agriculture. To me it was obvious he’d never been on a farm or ranch, or knew anyone that worked on one. I’m not one to interrupt someone when they are making a fool of themselves, so I just sat and listened. Eventually the subject of the fires came up and I will never forget the guy’s response, “You guys had some fires around here?” Everyone just looked at him. Over a million acres had just burned, a large portion of it just a few miles away from where we sat. He had no idea.
My hatred of the Journalism profession knows no bounds. What I learned in my short time in Journalism classes is that the majority of journalists are lazy, incompetent, biased people, who are hell bent on delivering their agenda through the press releases and AP stories that they swallow down whole and puke back out in whatever form. Few of them actually work at delivering news stories, or facts, or truth, but some of them do. Some of them work hard, search for facts, and report the truth. Skip Hollandsworth has done just that in his Texas Monthly article, The Day the Fire Came.
He did an amazing job of telling the story that the rest of the country forgot. Its the story of that day in March in the Texas Panhandle. Its the story of Cody Crockett, Sydney Wallace, and Sloan Everett. They are names that should not be forgotten. Its a story that should be remembered, saved, and shared. You will not find a better example of the people of the lonesome lands than what is written here. Please click on the link below, read the article and share it with everyone you know. And when you remember 2017 remember Cody, Sydney and Sloan.
If you'd like to read more, Mr. Hollandsworth writes about what it was like to write this story here: A City Slicker in the Panhandle