Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Beautiful and the Scary

This is our piece of paradise. Secluded, quiet and, oh, so beautiful.

In Spring everything bursts forth in color and bloom.
Cactus in bloom
And it stays that way for several months.

But summer has its moments here.

Seclusion can mean isolation. And isolation is not good when sparks and sagebrush meet.

This morning when I left for court (Yeah, I have to finish up a couple of cases) there was the yellow house on the top of the ridge closest to the main road. I like the yellow house. It stood sentinel on the top of its hill and it was so bright and cheery.

But at about 5pm, I was taking out the remnants of my salad makings for the local critters (wild rabbits really do like lettuce!) I noticed a white plane with orange markings. It was VERY low, barely skimming the top of the hill in front of us and circling back behind our property. I immediately recognized it as a Cal-Fire plane.

Before I could wonder why a Cal-Fire plane was playing hop-scotch on my hills, I smelled the smoke.

With 15-20 mile an hour winds swirling from the south and south-west, we thought that the fire was behind us.

But it was not. It was coming from the west and it appeared to be very close.

Momentary panic set in as we rushed to grab the animal carriers and the computers.

That has always been our plan.

Pictures and documents are on the cloud. Animals and us and we are gone.

But then we realize that there are three Cal-Fire planes circling but no tankers. The smoke is white not black. There have been no phone calls either from Cal-Fire or the neighbors. There is no evacuation.

So we watch and wait.

And I go on the internet. Cal-Fire lists all MAJOR incidents but  minor local ones are put on their twitter feed which goes to their web site.

And that is how we found out the the yellow house was in trouble.

We walked up the road after a couple of hours (and the smoke was gone) to see how bad.

This is what we found.

The yellow house was GONE. Nothing left at all.

The amazing thing is how quickly Cal-Fire responded and how efficiently they worked. The fire could have touched the sagebrush and there would have been no stopping it. But it didn't. Because of Cal-Fire.

These guys are good.

I am glad that my neighbors are ok.

But I am thrilled that our fire protection is first rate.

We may be secluded and we may be isolated but we have protection when we need it.

Thank you, Cal-Fire.

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