Saturday, June 14, 2008

fire update... relief

Just wanted to throw out an update... we are breathing easier (no pun intended, but actually, there is no smoke up here...)

Today they are attacking the living daylights out of the fire with a bunch of aircraft. I can hear them working fervently as they pass over head and watch them work in the canyon below us. They are cautiously optimistic that they've got a solid handle on this now.

I am SO glad I was able to listen to the fire's progress with a handheld radio all yesterday. Without it, we would have had to leave because we couldn't be sure what was going on with the fire. Once I figured out that I was listening to the fire crew in Butte Creek canyon below us... I was GOLDEN and we felt comfortable staying. When the fire got past/around them yesterday we couldn't have stayed without hearing what was going on and knowing that air support was redoubling efforts and that they were fully aware of what was happening. All I could see was that the quality of the smoke had changed and instead of just generally hanging out it was beginning to column and climb and of course was more furious and black, indicating new fuel. I was on the phone with a friend of mine in Portland, Or as that was happening and I could feel myself get nauseous and ready to throw up with the fear of what was going to happen next.

I hated, for a while, being one of those that 'won't leave' even when told it is a good idea. Over the years I have told many people it would be a good idea to leave now. Some of them totally refused to leave, even with fire in their back yard, and I have walked (sometimes ran!) away thinking how stupid. But we made a conscious decision and knew we were READY TO RUN the moment we absolutely HAD to. We got buckets upon buckets out and filled them up with water, and all the hoses we have unfurled and charged in anticipation of embers flitting our direction. And none came. Of course, the fire is still a good two miles away (line of sight) from us so we had some time if it really took a run. And we had the ability to monitor it if it was going to take a run.... that was the most important part. As much as the media was keeping us 'informed' they weren't up to date with all that was happening, especially where our area was concerned. And they were the media... they hyped it like crazy and if they were my only source of information I would have left a month ago because the fire danger was so horrific.... In fact as I listened to the media, I could feel my anxiety go thru the roof... then I muted the TV and turned up the radio and listed to how hard the firefighters were working and how much progress they were making and I felt better.

They still have us on a precautionary evacuation notice, but this morning looks promising as far as progress made on the fire on our side of the canyon. The winds are supposed to 'cooperate' today and be light, although it will still be warm. I will continue to monitor the fire crew below us closely today. If we evacuate, we can have two options of places to go. (of course, my wife works tonight so I hope she gets to sleep..)

The rest of the SAR team worked furiously over the last several days (I was only able to help one day) doing evacuation notices and doing actual evacuations of elderly or infirm. One of our SAR members lost his new home during the big run Thursday evening that took out the majority of the structures reported lost. Hopefully today there will be NO evacuations and the SAR team can relax on a Saturday!

Keep up your good thoughts!!!

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