I pace with my cell phone outside the abro box. There's a fire a few miles up canyon from the Hurricane Creek house. Rumors swirl. Someone tells my friend to get our dogs out now. Someone else says it's a ways away. The sheriff issues a level one evacuation notice. I am two hours away, committed to this fire in Baker.
I've learned through this long horrible summer that there are three levels of evacuation. One equals ready. Two is set. Three is go. In other parts of the state, the time between these two levels has been minimal. Our team leader has already evacuated, up in the mess that is northern Washington.
Still. Am I being too cautious? I don't want to leave this fire assignment. It's been good working closely with others rather than typing on a lonely computer. I can make more money in the six days I have remaining, money we desperately need to build our house,
My husband is unreachable, committed to a fire that has blown up to 60,000 acres. I think about our pets, trapped up a dead end canyon. It's very possible this fire will stay in the wilderness. I don't know what to do. Dispatch says, "well, it's still pretty far away, but with the way things are burning this year..."
I decide to go. I get a ride home. Smoke chokes the canyon. The road is closed, open only to residents. It's eerily calm. The deputy guarding the road says that the firefighters followed a trail of cigarette butts up the trail. Seriously?
At home, I wonder if I've done the right thing, I look at my sleeping kitten. I decide yes, I have.