Firemen and Firewomen whatever the politcally correct term is, I am grateful this week for those that put out fires for a living. And those who volunteer to do so.
Particularly wild fires.
This past Monday brought a wildfire close to home. Nine miles close to home. As I drove down Main Street Monday night I could see flames on the top of the hill. Orange and red dancing. The next morning it smelled like smoke in our house and there was a haze that covered town.
Fairfield Hill is in Sinks Canyon. That's where we do most of our playing. It's where I ran like a bighorn. We love that place. It was devastating to know the place was burning up. It will carry the scars of this fire for years. For years, that hill will be black. And of course, in the long run wild fires are pretty good for and even essential to the health of wild places. (Do you know that a Redwood Tree's seed only opens up in the presence of smoke?)
But it was also scary to know that this huge out of control fire was only nine miles away. Nine miles with nothing in between us but dry grass and houses. The wind could blow the wrong way and destroy a lot more than a hill.
Now, I'm no stranger to natural disasters, my house was blown away by a tornado when I was 6. I was at school doing a tornado drill. On our way back to our classroom we were told to go back to the racketball court we used as a shelter because there was a real tornado. Later I got a note saying that I needed to walk home with my cousin/best friend/only sister I ever had and I was (we both were) excited. Like our parents just knew that we wanted to be hanging out instead of reading 'run spot run' for our nightly homework.
Meanwhile, and what I discovered as soon as I walked into her house that evening, my dad was spun around in the tornado that destroyed my house in his truck. My mom watched him go off the end of the driveway and spin around. My brother and another cousin were eating lunch and watched the ceiling fan just DROP.
We turned out ok. My dad, who very miraculously was not hurt, was in construction for years and was able to rebuild our house. But I still know the very real danger that lies in things we cannot control: wind, water, fire.
I'd been prepared all my life for tornados and big storms coming from the Mid West, but I had no idea what to do in the event of a wild fire gone rogue...err, more rogue?? I kept wondering what we would do or where we would go or what we would take with us if we got evacuated.
(Actually what we did do was get out of town! We took a mini vacation to Colorado Springs, but that was already sort of planned before the fire broke out)
But thankfully, because of those super brave men and women who look at something as wild and uncontrollable as fire in a dry place and say 'You will not defeat us today', that didn't happen. We didn't have to find somewhere to go or gather up our most prized possessions wondering whether or not we would see the rest of them.
Especially since the lives of several firefighters have been lost this year, I feel a deep well of gratitude for the intense scary work that they do.
Our fire is now 98% contained. It burned about 1500 acres, started by lightning. The road into Sinks is open again.
But other fires rage on, bigger and badder than this one. (There is one about 2 hours NW that has burned 4500 acres so far) And while I'm relaxed here knowing that this fire didn't get us, the firemen and firewomen are still hard at work keeping us safe.
Big THANKS!!! to all the fire people who keep us safe, and for me right now, I particularly want to thank those who work on wildfire, who volunteer a lot of the time.
Thank you thank you thank you!!!
What are you grateful for this week?
Also, if you want to read more about our wildfire check out county10... lots of pictures and day to day info on what was happening up there.