Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fire: Too Close to Home

Alpine Quail Fire (2 of 33)
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.

Alpine Quail Fire (3 of 33)
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.

Alpine Quail Fire (4 of 33)
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.

Alpine Quail Fire (11 of 33)
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.

Alpine Quail Fire (5 of 33)
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.

Alpine Quail Fire (12 of 33)
Alpine Quail Fire (16 of 33)
Alpine Quail Fire (23 of 33)
Alpine Quail Fire (30 of 33)
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.

Alpine Quail Fire (31 of 33)
The sunset the next morning was stunningly beautiful, but I almost felt guilty for thinking so.

Alpine Quail Fire (33 of 33)
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.

Sarah McLachlan: World On Fire Pin It


Laloofah said...

We went through this very thing 5 years ago next month (we had to evacuate for 3 days and did lose some property - fencing, an outbuilding, etc, but as in your case, no homes in our subdivision were lost!) It's very scary and traumatic, for humans and for non-humans, and my heart goes out to all who have gone through it. I'm sure glad you and your house are safe and that you got rain! Your photos are dramatic, and that last one is beautiful - in more ways than one!

"A bit of a tinderbox" is an understatement! We're dry as a bone and scorched here - hope to see a rainbow like yours one day soon!

Nicole said...

Those are really cool pics of a very scary time. Love the rainbow one.

Angie Willis said...

I'm so pleased it didn't get any nearer to your home - how frightening! In England it's been raining non-stop for about three months now and, no, I'm not exaggerating!

Joanne said...

Beautiful Pictures. you captured it very well. I love the night one.Who knew something so ugly and frightening could be so beautiful!

The Felix Family said...

After you posted pictures on facebook I kept a close eye on how the fire was doing. I am so glad everything turned out ok. I bet being in a situation like that makes you stop and think what is really important.

R Montalban said...

I am so glad you are ok and that no homes were damaged. We have had so much rain, the street we used to live in was issued with sandbags to stop flooding!

Jerica said...

Stunning pictures Jam. I love the one with the flames at night and the one of the rainbow. So glad you and all around you are okay. My dad mentioned that you might want to leave your important things at Nic's house while you are traveling again, in case another fire starts near you again.

tinajo said...

Uh-oh, NOT good! It´s so sad that these fires starts here and there during summer, destroys so much. :-(

Karen said...

So glad you are safe. These are amazing photos. We see fire like this on the news every night here. Very frightening. For awhile my son could see the smoke from the Colorado fires from his apartment in Denver. So much destruction.

Punctuation Mark said...

Those fires are so scary... I remember the smell of smoke when I lived in LA!

Krystal said...

geez, i'm glad everything is ok. what an experience i'm sure that was to think you might lose your house!

Dagmar said...

I totally understand the and smoke..thankfully the sun does shine again.

Carrie @ Hazardous Design said...

Oh my. Frightening and awe inspiring at the same time. Glad you and everyone around you are ok.

iris said...

oh man, this is so sad!

I'm glad the houses were saved, and that you were able to take some amazing photos, but yeah. sad :(

blue elephant photography said...

i'm glad you are safe. the crazy thing is, that photos are so beautiful despite the whole chaos going on. you're really good jamie, hands down, i love how you capture every little thing with emotions :) miss you and take care :)

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