Saturday, August 22, 2015

Evacuation level one

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.



16 comments:

  1. Mary I'am so sorry, these fires are affecting so many people in this beautiful state of ours. One cabin has been lost in east eagle but it was not our friends, they are far from being out of danger. I think you made the right decision for now, I would have done the same, my pets are my kids. Praying that your home will be safe. Smoking in the wilderness and dropping the butts? Are you kidding, people like this have no right to be here, they have no respect and if caught? Well I can't even say what I think the punishment should be.......

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    1. I left Eagle in good hands. It's been too smoky to fly. They are just doing structure protection.

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  2. Thinking of you even more--I had no idea fire was that close to your neck of the woods. Dogs and cat(s) safe now?

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  3. Everybody is fine for now. It's all up to the wind.

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  4. Know that area....picturing the Hurricane River house...and you. Seems to me you made the right decision....you can cope with what needs to be done so much better from there. And when J. gets to know where you are, he will feel much more comfortable, too.

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  5. So sorry to hear the fire is now close to your home too. Glad you went home to protect your pets. I'd do the same. Thinking good thoughts for you and hoping for cool temps and rain.

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  6. Hi Mary, I know how you feel, the Sockeye fire was 2 miles from my cabin and the only thing that saved my place, was the wind out of the North. Had it changed? Well, a different story. Hope it turns out well with you and everyone affected.

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  7. Everyone must be so exhausted. i trust you and yours will stay safe.

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  8. I'm sure your kitty appreciated your return. Did you hear about this lucky kitty? http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/aug/9/cat/

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  9. Mary probably knows this, but others might be interested in this web site:

    http://www.geomac.gov/viewer/viewer.shtml

    Once in GeoMac, use the drop-down top right to choose a fire, or in the far right drop-down, choose GoTo a place name.

    Under Data Layers*Active Fires you can turn on two satellite heat sensing
    displays. You have to zoom in or out a bit to get them both as options. A
    mouse scroll wheel zooms. The data is updated a couple of times a day. If you squint, you can see the update time near the very bottom.

    You can also change the Base Map to street. Even if a fire isn't listed in
    the drop-down, you can go to that map area and see it. For example, if you go to Joseph, OR, you can see the heat images of the fire up Hurricane Creek.

    The drop-downs work better in Chrome than FireFox on my Windows.

    Tom
    Fairbanks, Alaska

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  10. What a horrible situation for all. Stay safe!

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  11. Touch decision Mary. When my place went to level II I couldn't get home if I'd wanted to since the highways were closed between me and home. A friend called me to ask what I wanted saved. The fire is moving away from us now. The wind holds all the cards for sure.
    Take Care

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    Replies
    1. I heard they just got a new one in John Day. :(

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Yes, it's small though (of course they often start that way.....). But we had a bigger start in that area last week (suspicion on that is a miner doing welding) and it was tromped on quite quickly. Starts right now are human caused. Later this week that may change....

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  13. Mary, you trusted your gut, so yes, it was the right decision for you. Sending positive vibes. Stay safe!

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