Wednesday, June 8, 2005


Debi's a member of Emergency Animal Rescue, and this evening she got a call from the supervisor. It seems there was a fire, a big one, and not that far from our house (although the supervisor only knew generally where it was. We were asked to make a run out to the area and check it out.

So off we went, in a big hurry because the supervisor's information was quite alarming. After we drove out of our valley, we expected to be able to see the smoke plume (and if it was really a big fire, we would have). But there was no plume anywhere in sight. We drove to within about 2 miles of the fire before we saw any sign of it at all, and even then all we could see was a layer (trapped by a thermocline, most likely) of hazy brown smoke. It didn't look like an active or large fire.

In Deerhorn Valley there's a fire station, and we stopped there to get a little information from a volunteer. He told us exactly where the fire was, and told us that he believed it was under control. The location he gave us was only about three miles down the road, so we went off to see for ourselves.

Our route took us from Honey Springs Road to Deerhorn Valley Road, then three miles or so to Manzanitas Road. At that intersection we could actually see where the fire had burned, right next to a large electrical substation. There was a tanker plane circling overhead, a firefighting helicopter hovering over the burned area, at least 25 or 30 fire crew working on the ground, and several pieces of equipment (pumpers, dozers, etc.) parked around the area. Nobody had been evacuated, and the prevailing wind would have taken the fire over uninhabited areas toward Barrett Lake. From what we could see the fire was out and under control.


After we got home, I got out my maps and did some measuring. That fire was only 6.5 miles from our home as the crow flies, though it was over 25 miles by the very indirect roads. That's close enough to be a major concern to us, had the conditions been hot, dry, and windy (in the wrong direction). As it was, we really weren't in any danger at all.

One thing that was very nice to see: firefighters were all over this fire, and apparently very quickly. By eyeball, I'd guess there was 10 to 15 acres burned; that goes very quickly in the chapparal. Those firefighters got very quickly to an area far more remote than our home. That's a nice feeling...

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