Friday, July 28, 2017

A Fiery Fourth of July

 Fourth of July started as a calm, hot day. My husband and I both had the day off and were thinking of sailing in the afternoon. But then the pager went off, stating that smoke had been seen near the highway and the Snake Creek turnoff. We both knew that wasn't a good thing, so we ran out the door towards the fire station.

We put on our Nomex, grabbed our gear, and headed out in fire trucks. When we arrived, the fire was still small, about five acres, but the wind was causing it to spread quickly. None of our fire trucks are four-wheel drive, so that presented some difficulties. Fortunately, we had already called for assistance, and other fire engines and a helitack crew came.

Nevertheless, the wind was blowing the fire faster than we could move. It burned especially fast when it went through areas of cheatgrass. The wind shifted direction and speed, making it hard to judge where we could go safely.

In about three hours it had spread from five acres to more than a thousand acres.

It was threatening structures at the south end of town.

Fortunately we had single engine air tankers (SEATs) with fire retardant and helicopters doing bucket work to help out. Plus more fire resources had arrived.

These fast-moving fires are hard to fight, but we gave it our all, doing what we could with our equipment and training. Thanks so much to all who responded. And a special thanks to all the volunteers--volunteer fire departments are so important for a quick response.

I went home, took a shower, and then went out to meet the kids, au pair, and friends for fireworks, a preferable fiery part of the day than wildland fire. I had missed the dinner and had to pass on doing a trumpet solo I had planned at the music program because I was still so rattled from responding to the fire. But I could handle taking a few photos of the fireworks.

The fireworks looked great.


Hopefully we won't have that much excitement again anytime soon!

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