Last Tuesday my mom called and asked if I could see the smoke. I'd been working and hadn't looked out the window in a while, but when I did I saw clearly what the news had been reporting. A fire had started in the foothills above the town next to mine - and those foothills are directly connected to the hill I live on.
It didn't take long to realize the fire was growing rapidly and I began watching the news and checking all of the usual online sources to see what areas were at risk of evacuation. The Western US is a bit of a tinderbox right now thanks to a hot, dry spring and summer, so all of who live close to mountain or natural areas tend to be a bit on alert at all times.
It didn't take much looking to discover that my neighborhood had been told by the city to prepare our to go bags in case we were evacuated. I still felt we probably we going to be okay since the winds weren't moving in our direction, but it's hard to sit there and watch the fire get bigger, listen to the news reports and not feel as if you should be preparing.
I tracked down my important paperwork and photo albums (and boxes of loose photos and hard drives) and put them in the car just in case. Once that was done I tried to make the waiting less stressful and filled the afternoon and evening with watching the fire and attempting to capture its destructive beauty in photo.
Thanks to some amazing work by some very overworked Firefighters, no homes were lost to this fire, an incredible result given how close it was to so many homes.
When I went to bed, the fire was still 0% contained, so I found myself waking up about once an hour to check to see if the fire had started moving north towards me. The fire at night was a very different thing than in the afternoon when the smoke obscured the flames.
The sunset the next morning was stunningly beautiful, but I almost felt guilty for thinking so.
Thursday we got our first bit of rainfall in more than a month, I've never been so happy for rain. I spent the day with the windows open, despite the slightly smoke smell because I wanted to be able to hear the rain as much as possible.