Apr 28, 2008

I'm getting good at fire evacuations!

So I'll be the first to admit that I get easily excited in times of pseudo-crisis... and I don't mean excited in a good way!  Yesterday, there was black smoke rising from the canyon that my neighborhood overlooks.  I drove down the street a bit to get a better look and see if I could determine exactly where the flames were coming from and ... more importantly ... if I should be worried!   There were a dozen cars & twice as many people standing atop the cliff overlooking the canyon.  We could see the fire burning on the other side.  Everyone was attempting to determine which way the wind was blowing and how high the flames were.  Someone estimated they were 15-20 feet high and only a mile away!  From our most recent experience this past October, that is all to fresh in our memory, we knew that wasn't good.  And with the combination of the wind blowing, it could mean disaster quicker than we knew.  

I returned home, making phone calls along the way to friends in my neighborhood who were also potentially in the path of the fire, attempting to get some insight from them as to what their plans were: pack & evacuate or wait it out.  That is one of the most difficult things for me during fires such as this, determining exactly what to do!  When do you decide to start packing, waiting, watching? When do you actually leave & take the pets? Where exactly IS the fire and what direction is it heading?? And it always seems so difficult to get true answers to questions such as these.  The Internet & TV stations only had minimal information and nothing for those of us in the affected area.  

So I set out again with my camera in tow.  This time, I found an even better canyon overlook, directly across from the flames.  Once I saw with my own eyes that the *incredible* firecrew had things under control, I calmed down & was able to just enjoy capturing the moment.  It was fascinating to watch the guys in action!  The helicopters were actually landing in a field just below where I was standing to refill and take off for the next water-drop.  I felt like I was on top of the world with a real bird's eye view.  

Sorry for the panicky voice mails I left for those of you in the neighborhood.. :) and thanks to everyone who called reassuring me that things would be fine.  The final outcome was 100 acres burned and only 7 hours to put it out!  Gold stars for the brave firemen!  Thanks, guys!!  

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