Sunday, September 27, 2009


On Monday our whole neighborhood was turned upside down by a raging grass fire that threatened our hood and cut a 100 acre swath before it was quelled. Christy called me at noon, and told me to come home quickly because a brush fire was burning towards our house. I jumped in the car and took this picture from I-5 South. Our house is situated just to the right of this mushroom cloud.

By the time I got off the freeway they had closed off our road and blocked all access. I had to sneak into our neighborhood through some back roads (which is not easy in the dotcom mobile). It was utter madness - people were leaving cars in the road and standing on their roofs spraying water. Fire trucks and fire crews were zooming by, and helicopters and planes were dropping water and fire retardant on the blaze up the hill. There was a horse in my yard, and a very nice woman apologizing that her farm was burning and she had no where to go until her husband pulled up the horse trailer. I went in to the house and Christy was already packing valuables into bags. We laughed about how unimportant our possessions seemed to be at that moment. I packed a bunch of meaningless electronics, and my standup bass into the car. She grabbed the really important stuff - pictures and tax documents - and we drove away to get Juliet (Hank was already at Grammy's house). My daughter's school is at the base of the hill and as we arrived the kids were being loaded into buses with the full effect of the fire cloud straight above them. It was a bizarre scene. Here's some video shot at the source of the fire by our local newspaper.

We hung around town in a hotel nervously awaiting news. Luckily the fire crews were able to contain it by early evening. They applied an amazing amount of force to it in a very short time. One rental house at the top of hill burned to the ground, but mostly it damaged farm land. Support your local fire fighters! This was a great lesson for us - it's important to have an emergency plan for when a fire occurs. Our neighborhood is very lucky, a slight shift of the wind and it would have been a horrible disaster.


Simonetta said...

Very scarey! Reminds me of the horrific bushfires we had in Victoria, Australia Jan this year, where a large number of people and their families perished. Millions of dollars were raised for all of these people through donations, people donating their time and some help from the govt. A very sad situation, all of those communities are still trying to recover :( We could see all the smoke from where we live how devastating...

Daniel said...

Wow, that is thoroughly intense.

My brother and sister have both been firefighters with the forest service, so anytime there is a fire up "the canyon" we usually chase after it with the SUV and a bunch of shovels to see if anyone needs help... I find it ironic to run towards a fire then to run away from one.