...for a week of the full moon (the end of July). So things and people were just weird crazy all week and I was so looking forward to the weekend to prepare for my brother's arrival the next weekend. Best laid plans. It had been hot and was predicted to continue to be so which in my world means watering and mowing and getting chores done when it is cool.
Friday afternoon a friend texts me asking if I'm okay. Her husband had come across the valley on his way home and saw smoke. Hmm, well let me check. Sure enough I walked out the front yard and towards the North saw a plume of smoke but it wasn't very big. Still, alerted the neighbors on either side and walked down the road. I wasn't terribly concerned it was small and I had heard fire trucks headed down Lincoln Road (just didn't know where) and low and behold there was a single chopper hauling water. Okay. Back to work and keep an eye out. By Friday night, messages were flooding in and the neighbor and I were driving up on top to see if we could figure out really where it was and how big and which way the wind was blowing. Still not terrible concerned but it was definitely WAY closer than was comfortable! By the end of the afternoon they were dumping slurry on it with the big plane. Awesome that'll get it out as the reports were it was < 25 acres.
Sadly the report from law enforcement also was that it was human caused. Advise was for people to stay off one of the local back roads so equipment could get in and out. Okay, so we just kept a close eye on it.
Friday night the winds died down and Saturday morning I got up and didn't hear choppers or see planes. Smoke sat in the valley but other than about 2 hours Friday evening wasn't smokey at my house and I was thankful to be able to open the windows to cool down the house (no a/c). So I got busy with my project and chores and kicked the dogs outside to enjoy the cool of the morning. Got my lawnmower back together and mowed the "back 40". As I was headed out the gate when I finished my neighbor stops me and says she just came back from grocery shopping and there was a roadblock at the corner. They guy told her to pack up her stuff and next time she left she couldn't come back. HUH. Back on social media to see if there really was an evacuation order. Well yup and we were right on the bottom edge of it. Decided to take a deep breath and start packing up. I luckily had a plan in my head from the last couple times we've come close to leaving of what needed to go first. Friends were pinging me from all over (I have the best support network). I decided I would leave when they came to the door and said get out. I had the trailer hooked up and most of it loaded up when the sheriff came by and said "go or stay?". GO of course! Called a two friends, one couple came up and drove my car down to where I'd stay, my camping host came up and helped me load the "non essentials" in her SUV and took off. I loaded up dogs, parrot, a few groceries and left with the trailer.
So most of my photos are on my phone but I did go out one evening and took the big camera. Unfortunately, the wind shifted towards our spotting spot and I couldn't see as much as a few hours earlier when I actually saw flames coming down one of the hills. This fire started at 12 acres, grew to 100, then grew to 2600 then to over 4000 in less than 36 hours. On Sunday they had 2 DC10 tankers, the Chinook you see below and 2-3 choppers hauling water. They wind had shifted and was threatening homes and oh my Lord they work working hard to get it stopped. It was really educational to watch the spotter planes lead the DC10s in and how much traffic was in the air and able to avoid each other! Taking photos of the Chinook a retired Air Guard guy came over to us (he too was doing photos) saying that was one of the auctioned off Guard choppers that was sold last year and retrofitted to fight fires.
It is now Friday 8/2 and we were allowed to come home on Wednesday afternoon. I will say I don't think I have EVER packed up the trailer and gotten outta camp so fast as I did Wednesday in 95 degree heat no less. It feels really good to come home and the dogs are ever so happy to be back in their larger digs. The remaining evacuations were lifted on Thursday only to residents as they continue to get the fire contained. As of today it is at 50% but full containment date is listed as the end of October which is often the case. Snow will be the only true containment! So happy I did fire mitigation around my home and I can tell you there are a TON of people up even just in my subdivision that have not done so that I'm thinking will be looking to do it now! What cannot be seen for all the trees cannot be protected and the more fuel you have the more likely it will run to your home.