Friday afternoon, on my way home from my parents, pulling a trailer loaded with box springs and mattresses, fire vehicles whizzed by. About a half mile from where I turn off the main road to enter my neighborhood, I saw the fire vehicles parked on the right-hand side of the road (The same side I live on). I slowed down, looked right, and saw a raging brush fire.
As I enter my neighborhood, one of my neighbors driving the opposite direction waved me down to tell me that there was an out of control brush fire and it was coming our way. This same scenario happened 5 years earlier just after we moved to the area.
We watched the billowing smoke from our backyard as helicopters flew overhead retrieving water from a nearby lake to help put out the fire. Here is a video of the air tanker that dropped water and fire retardant.
We were not sure whether we should evacuate or not. Friends of ours who live much closer to the fire were already told they should evacuate for the fire was about 100 yards from their house.
I decided to drive back to the scene to get an update. I was told the fire was spreading quickly thanks to the high winds. The winds were so bad that I had to stop four times on the way home to adjust the box springs and mattresses on my trailer even though they were wrapped in a large tarp and strapped down with bungee cords. I was informed that we would be notified directly by the fire department if we needed to evacuate. Chey decided to load up the Durango with the essentials, and we waited it out. We heard from no one and called it a night.
I woke up around 3:00 AM to discover that we lost power. I feared that the fire reached the main power grids way out back behind our land, and that we would be without power for days.
I got up around 7:00 AM to a smoke filled yard. Around 8:00 AM, the smoke was gone. Later that morning for hours, helicopters flew overhead to assist putting out the fire. One helicopter passed so low it shook the whole house.
Around 10:00 AM, I decided to drive to town to get water, coffee, and gas. As I was about to enter the main road, four Electric Company vehicles entered my road. I waved the first vehicle down and asked the gentleman the status of the situation. He told me that they just received clearance that they could enter the area and replace the one metal power pole that was taken out by the fire and replace the wires to restore power to about 5,000 of us in the area. He told me it would be anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.
I am guessing the poles look something like this:
Thankfully, the power was restored in 4 hours.
The vehicle that would drop the new pole had a tank drive-train. I was told it was needed because the power grid was situated in a very muddy area.
That evening, the smoke settled around us again, thicker than earlier that morning. Even with the A/C running, the house smelled of smoke, although you couldn’t see the smoke. To be safe, I decided to shut off the A/C and close the vents on our floors. We called it a night.
I woke up around 7:00 AM and noticed that some smoke had entered the house as you can see from my flashlight.
The smoke outside was thicker than the previous morning.
I went to the Forestry website and it indicated that the fire was now out.
As soon as the putrid smell of smoke dissipates outdoors, we will air out the house and crank up the A/C later on if the heat becomes intolerable. We may have to deal with smoky conditions for the next few days, but the worse is over and we thank God that our homes were spared.
According to the newspaper, “…about 600 acres had burned. Firefighters went to 50 or so homes in the area asking residents to voluntarily evacuate. About half those families did leave. There were 21 medium to heavy dozers on the fire and they were planning to add more resources.”
There was no mention as to how the fire started, but it is rumored that someone was burning brush on their property. The dry conditions and heavy winds assisted in turning into what could have potentially been a major disaster.