My week was interrupted by what started out to be a fast moving and exciting forest fire, at least for a short while. The fire took off quick and was on pretty good by the time I got the call which was only a half hour after it started. It took me about an hour to get to the road block which was four miles from the fire. I had all my fire gear in the passenger seat of my truck and I am glad I did when I pulled up to the Highway Patrolman. He could see I was prepared and I was able to talk my way through the road block. I got through some road construction that the crew was trying to finish enough to get out of there and I was then at the fire. The fire had started right at the highway and had burned up the creek a ways and off into the timber. It was pretty well burned out where it started and headed into the woods. It had already burned by a neighbors cabin and left it in good shape by burning right above it and on into the forest. There were two small forest service pumper trucks on site and he was in good shape so I took a couple of photos and headed up to our place.
I got up to our cabin which was a little over a mile from where the fire started and it was pretty calm there but the wind was blowing from the south-southwest and moving the fire north-northeast which means it was coming up the canyon a little bit away from me. Every now and then the wind would gust into my face as if it was shifting and coming from the north. Each time it did that it felt like it was going to come right at me and give me some real excitement. Not that it wasn’t already exciting.
The view I got looking down the canyon I could see what was already burned out and I could see the fire boiling up and coming my way. There were three different helicopters dropping on the lower cabins and I got some cool shots of them.
When I first got to our place I could still see some blue sky and there was no smoke on me at all. I couldn’t even smell the fire but I could see some good flame and knew it was coming.
I got out some fire hoses and set up to make a stand before I could watch the fire any more. I could hear the bomber planes coming close by but I couldn’t always see them. I heard one coming from the east and could tell he was close. I ran for my Nikon, stood in the driveway and he appeared. Quick turned it onto video, got him in the view finder and I was on him! Just as he dropped a load right in front of my the camera BATTERY WENT DEAD! Get a load of that. Now as you read this you have to have a vision of that whole seen because it passed me by!
Now after a hour or so the smoke got much heavier and I could tell the fire had moved past me. It was up on the ridge a few hundred yards and seemed it was staying up there. A cloud cover came over and the winds died down some. I decided to hike up the mountain behind our cabin and get a better idea of what was going on. Once up a little higher I could see across the canyon and the fire was lying down. I could see the fire line and some fire fighters working their way towards it. There were some trees torching but the fire wasn’t boiling like it had been.
Once I came off the mountain I was feeling better that this fire had made it’s run right by me and I should be alright. With that thought I decided I would go for a ride to a higher vantage point and see if I could get any idea how big the fire is and where it might be headed. I took a couple of pictures from about 5 miles away and my guess at the time was about 3,000 acres. I couldn’t see all the north fire line because of the smoke but my guess wasn’t too far off I don’t believe.
When I came back down it was near the end of the day and there were Hotshot crews and heavy equipment all up and down the canyon by now. I’m thinking I am livin’ right and the fire passed me right on by. With all the support around I loaded up and went back home. Life is Good!