Creepy. Filled with dread and oh so terrifying. I had just got back from the dog walk when I saw the news about the fire on Loma Prieta last Monday, I walked outside to see how close it was. This was the sky at 3 PM taken with my iphone. It was literally under 10 miles away. I never like the feeling of fire in the air, despite the amazing light it produces. You can feel terror even at a distance. Mr. Wild Dingo had to leave for a business trip. He thought about staying but I'm glad I made him go. It was an important trip and he made a good presentation. But that meant I had to stay home, cancel all my many medical appointments and be ready to evacuate. If I had left and I couldn't get back to the dogs, well, I just couldn't live with myself. So I stayed glued to the Internet, and watched the news, praying it would never come our way although not really loving it was burning in any direction at all either. All it would take is a change in the direction of the winds and our house would be toast.
It started with a huge volcanic combustion (I have no problem speculating that it was meth-lab related as there are reports of armed gunmen in that very deserted area and both legal and illegal pot growing farms). In 90 minutes it burned 200 acres. It's frustrating to live in this area of California because it sometimes really is the wild west. Every man for himself. If you cross someone's property accidentally (there trails are rough up there) well, let's just say they don't adhere to the gun laws that say you can't shoot someone leaving your property. Other issues is the land management wars between people who think they're doing good to "protect the redwoods" by passing laws that don't let people log their property responsibly with the county who doesn't seem to want anything to with it. The truth is, most of the property up here is in horrible state and it desperately needs logging to prevent exactly this kind of thing, despite it possibly being an illegal operation that caused it in the first place. Even on our own mere 22 acres, I'm mortified whenever a tree falls due to errosian. There's only so much we can do to handle it financially and thankfully our property is zoned for redwood logging, which we will get to, but those who don't have that kind of zoning cannot afford to have redwoods removed to keep the forest healthy. It's expensive enough to take out junk tan oaks and madrones that are basically just timber for fires. Every time I walk Nitwit trail, it pains me to see how poorly the land was managed before we moved here, how people destroyed it with illegal dumping (which we've cleaned and paid for ourselves) and how the creek is a disaster due to downed trees and poor erosian. It doesn't take a forester to know that this is no way to manage property in a high fire zone environment. And now as the fire is about to be completely contained by Saturday the stats are: 4,474 acres burned, 12 residents destroyed, 16 buildings destroyed and 1 husky dead. Yah, the dead husky pisses me off.
How a Lymie packs for emergency fire evacuation. Photo does not include refrigerated meds, dogs or a set of clean drawers, all of which are also packed. I made piles for all my computer equipment and camera equipment as well and had an empty suitcase ready to stuff.
For days the helicopters passed over my back yard every 5 minutes. Typically the hum of a helicopter overhead gives me an eerie feeling. But hearing them every few minutes brought and overwhelming sense of gratitude and comfort. I'm grateful that I had people step up to help me with the pups should I have needed it, but I didn't. The firefighters did an amazing job. I just wish drug law enforcement were as efficient as the firefighters. Some arrests have been made into the illegal grow up there since the fire and now the fire really has cleared a lot of the land, it's a lot easier for surveyors to see illegal activity.
For amazing photography on this fire (plus you get to see one dude desperately trying to save his crop) check out Josh Edelson's portfolio on Facebook. He did an amazing job covering the fire. You need a Facebook account to see the portfolio, but it's publicly available, you don't need to be friends with him. You can also see them at Getty Images.
Thank you readers who wrote in concerned about me and the doggies. I'm sorry for the late delay in reporting. I was stressed and glued to the Internet that week and NeuroLyme is passed relapse into back full-on. I'm due for another killing spree but it has to wait until the end of October.
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