Sunday, August 30, 2015


The helitack crew has found a 1979 Huffy exercise bike at the dump. They are determined to put 11,000 miles on it. At every moment, someone can be seen pedaling madly on it. Once it breaks.
"Noooo!" Cory yells. The water tender driver saves the day by taking it to his shop and welding it.
Bruce has come over from New Zealand to help out with fires. "Timesheets! We didn't come here to do timesheets! We're here to work!" he exclaims. He gets off the phone with his liaison officer. "Dealt with that international incident," he says.

Hurricane Creek has been raised to a level 2 evacuation. The deputy guarding the road tells me that people are hauling things out. "If it were me, I'd be hauling stuff out," he says. I hesitate. I haven't taken anything out. Should I? The winds start to blow. At the helipad they reach sixty miles an hour. We struggle to hold down the abro yurt. The toilets blow over.

Jerry texts me that on his fire, they are sitting it out at a safety zone. On this one, the division calls for a Chinook. The pilot lifts off, says no way, and returns. The winds are just too strong.

We are grounded, unable to help. Then I hear something I haven't heard in months. Rain! It patters against the yurt. The Huffy is brought inside the tent. A rainbow arches across the field.
Later one of the fire guys comes in. The fire was kicking our butts, he says. We were fully engaged. It was crowning and torching. Then, forty minutes of rain.

We are saved.

I know that by choosing to live in the woods,  we accept this risk. If the house had burned, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. It was just getting the pets out in time.

I don't know why the rain came precisely at the right moment. There are things about the world that I don't understand.

At the helibase the Huffy pedals on. We won't be here much longer. Fall is in the air. The fires of summer will be over. We will go back to our real lives, ones that don't include evacuations. I'm ready.


  1. I hope you get enough rain, soon enough, to allow you and J to return to your pets and home. Thanks to you both (and L) for your work. Pedal on!

  2. So relieved for all that the rain has finally fallen. Do hope it will be enough.

  3. Thank you Mother Nature for the rain!!
    I was at the command base outside of Medical Springs today.
    My husband and his client and another camera man were interviewing some of the guys for a small web documentey on the fire and the men and women who put there lives on the line. They were escorted into Boulder Park and up 77 a ways to film and talk to some of the fighters but they did not go up East Eagle.
    I went back to West Eagle and hung out with my dogs for 4 hours while they did this. Once again thanks to you and all your brave coworkers Mary, from the bottom of our hearts!!

  4. The stripes on the bike look identical to the stripes on my dad's bike he used to ride to work back in the day. Glad to hear you finally got some rain. I'm done with all the smoke in the air and ready for Fall. Oh, but wait. I'm ready for my Real Summer.


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