a bit ahead in one place and falling a little behind somewhere else

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Stephen Schmidt

Senior Member
The fire had burned a patch of ground about sixty feet square, moving forward until it was almost opposite the place where Barbie and Sea Dogs were facing one another. And there it spread - west to the edge of the highway, east into some small dairy farmer's four acres of grazeland - not raggedly, not the way grassfires normally advance, with the fire a bit ahead in one place and falling a little behind somewhere else - but as if on a straightedge.
This is Under the Dome by Stephen King. Can you explain the underlined sentence, please? Especially "a bit ahead" and "falling a little behind" parts.
Context: At the place where the plane had crashed into the Dome, Barbie and Sea Dogs met accidentally and were watching what was happening.
Thanks in advance.
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  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    He talks about the fire as if it is like an athlete in a race. If you are a bit ahead, you are further forward than other athletes. If you are falling a little behind, it means you are not keeping up with the other athletes.


    He's saying that grassfires normally spread in an uneven manner - faster in some places and slower in some others. This was different. It was advancing evenly, in a straight line.
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