I am back home and grateful I still have a home. Many of my neighbors’ homes burned to the ground and many more were badly damaged. I have a layer of soot over everything in the house, but in the scheme of things, I feel pretty blessed.
Wildfire crews fighting the fire were amazing, the huge DC 10’s that dropped fire retardant a godsend, the Black Hawk helicopters that scooped out water from the reservoir and dumped it on the fire, spectacular. They saved hundreds of homes, including mine. The fire came right up to the homes and somehow these brave men were able to save most of them.
Last Tuesday about 2 o’clock my friend Kelli called to see if I knew my canyon was on fire.
I switched on the local internet news and there it was, this huge wildfire right in my neck of the woods. I was at my office which is about 40 minutes from home.
I called a neighbor who told me that we had been told to be ready to evacuate. I started home, calling friends on the way to see if I could get some help in pulling things out of the house. Kelli’s ex-husband, who is one of my dearest friends, happened to be dropping off their son and he agreed to meet me at the house and help me. He was waiting for me when I got there and we started taking things out of the house and loading them in our respective trucks. It’s almost impossible to think in a situation like this. What do you take? I got all my photo albums and pictures of my kids (and horses) when they were young. All the information on the lawsuit, my personal files, some paintings that belong to a friend. It was overwhelming. I grabbed a change of clothes and threw them in the back of the truck.
A neighbor stopped by on one of his mules to see if I had some bottled water, he was he was going over the ridge line into the fire to try and find a friend’s horse who had taken off in the confusion. My friend who was helping me followed on foot with a halter to see if he could help. It’s a good thing he did, because the horse was right on the top of the ridge, but spooked by the fire. My friend was able to get the halter on her and lead her down to my house. There was a huge trailer at the bottom of the hill waiting for any stray horses and he just loaded her in it with all the rest. My horses, thank god, are at a boarding facility in town.
Just about then, the fire department showed up and said that the fire was moving 50 to 80 feet a MINUTE with flames 60 feet high at the front of the fire. They very politely, but firmly told me to get out. I did.
We headed back to Kelli’s house and turned on the television. I was kind of wigged out, so I made dinner for everyone to keep my mind off the fire. I could see it from her kitchen. I really wasn’t as worried about the house, it isn’t even finished yet and I could always build another, as I was about all the people and animals in the path of the fire. A lot of my neighbors keep horses, llamas, etc. and almost everyone has a dog or cat or three. There is a lot of wildlife in the area, including this years’ bumper crop of baby deer.
It took them a week to get the fire out. I stopped by last night to take a few pictures. I am so sad for my neighbors. As far as I know, though, everyone and all of their animals are ok. The rest of it, while scary and expensive, doesn’t really matter.