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Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Squirrels Are At It Again...
...The suicidal squirrels, that is. I've already talked about them once before, if you think that you're having a sense of deja vu. This time, however, they're not only at it in my neighborhood, but elsewhere as well.

We still get the random insane squirrel that runs across the road. One such memorable event was when DH and I were heading for a freeway onramp that is off a 3 lane well-populated-with-cars road near a very busy shopping district in San Jose. There was a squirrel trying to cross a massive amount of quick moving traffic.

Sad to say, it didn't survive. It even, we think, got clipped by our own car (which made DH very sad, and made me put an imaginary chalk mark on the squirrel vs human scoreboard). There was also a recent insane squirrel that decided that indecision while crossing the road might be a good plan. That one started running across, then stopped right in front of our car, which made us stop. Then we turned the car to move ahead around the squirrel, but it moved in that direction too. It finally made it safely across the road.

But this time they've upped the stakes. Now we have flaming squirrels. Squirrel arsonists. Maybe even squirrel terrorists if you want to stretch it that far.

There was a small wildfire in California yesterday, north of where I am, that took 6 engines and 18 firefighters to put out when it started behind a restaurant. The culprit? A flaming squirrel. Apparently the little guy scampered up a power line, shorted it, caught fire and dropped into dry brush. 200 customers might have noticed a flicker of the lights, but no one lost power.

While it set a fire that only briefly threatened one home, the squirrel that gave it's life for the greater good did not succeed in interrupting the Today show or "Regis and Kelly" or whatever else was on in the morning hours of the fire.

This isn't the first time that a flaming squirrel has attempted to disrupt the lives and routines of humans. Noted humorist Dave Barry pointed out flaming squirrels 3 years ago when he linked to an article about a power pole in British Columbia that has a fire once or twice a year around it and each fire can conclusively be blamed on flaming squirrels. I don't think that they have any plans on how to avoid squirrel ignition because it just keeps happening.

This time last year, just before I wrote about my local suicidal squirrels, a kamikaze squirrel set someone's car on fire while it sat in the driveway. before you get visions of squirrels with flamethrowers in your head, the car sat in the driveway, not the squirrel.

The squirrel flew. Sort of. Apparently it had been gnawing on some power lines directly connected to a transformer, got electrocuted and went ablaze, fell on the car into the engine compartment somehow and the car (a 2006 Camry) went up. So the poor woman lost a relatively brand new car, but thankfully she was fully insured. No one was injured, also thankfully.

Except the squirrel, which died.

So the squirrels are still trying, although now I'm not sure what they're trying to do now. Disruption of human routine, maybe? Or are they just working up their own version of the Darwin awards - but for squirrels. I know, it's not funny - fire is serious business. But you have to smile, just a little, when you hear that a fire was caused by a flaming squirrel...

...which sounds like an interesting name for a band.

Yes, I already know about the Flaming Lips and Squirrel Nut Zippers