Monday, August 06, 2012

Fire in the Forest where I live

So Wednesday August First,  in the early afternoon, a fire started in the center median of I5 just north of the exit I live off of. The next 5 days would prove both interesting and frustrating.

 took this from up on the mountain I live at the base of - O'Brien Mtn

 A plane dropping fire retardant on the fire

This is a helicopter that came down right next to me on the road out to Position C for the Shasta Marina houseboats. It was pretty cool to be eye to eye with a true hero. I gave him thumbs up over and over again.

My house is fantastic but all the outside walls are beautiful pine but it’s very dark. So I could not really bead. It was hotter than it generally gets up here in my Shangri-La in the Shasta Trinity National Forrest, so it wasn’t even encouraging to drag them outside and bead there. The power went out about 4:30 and we didn’t see it again until Sunday at about 1:30. I immediately transferred the 1 gallon bottles I keep frozen to the fridge and it’s freezer, while a 3rd stayed in the chest freezer, which I also threw in a 12 pack of Pepsi. On Thursday, I woke up and took a drive to see what I could see:

this photo was on our local tv station web site as a the featured photo which was pretty cool:

I got permission from the marina to get water so I could keep my plants alive and to flush with. I have a well, so that means no water either. All the reports from PG&E were that their crews were working on restoring our power. I kept getting human beings instead of recordings and they assured me over and over through the day that we would have power restored by 10pm then it upped to 8pm, so that when I trekked to town – 40 miles round trip – I didn’t pack my food up and get it to fridge and freezer there… Who would pack up a chest freezer and a side by side refrigerator of food IF they were going to get power restored that night? So about 6:30, I got a PG&E update recording call saying they could not access their equipment, went on to a human being who confirmed this news. I traveled to Lakehead to Allyson’s Restaurant where the owner told me on the phone I could park to charge my electronics and my brain in her air conditioning, with a bonus, they have wifi! I sent a few of my photos to the Local news station - they are all in the photo gallery here - the last 3 pics.

Going there was informative. I found out from the PG&E crew in the staging area, that they had NEVER yet been allowed to start working because of where it was still burning. I also talked to a couple heavy equipment operators and told them that I was so thankful they were here trying to get this fire out before homes were lost.  The bull dozers make fire breaks to stop the fire from spreading.  By morning most of the food in my freezers was too far defrosted to re-freeze. I saved 2 bags of chicken parts but that’s about it.

Friday, once again the reports both recorded and live voice told me we should have power by that evening. There was apparently a meeting in Lakehead at 7pm Friday night where all of the confusion, no evacuation center, and all the bad information were addressed. I had planned to go to the swap meet with my beads on Saturday, which meant getting up at 5am to get a good parking place. I misted the sheets with cold water and tried to sleep.

Saturday, I didn’t make much more than the booth fee but at least I didn’t spend the day in a dead house. That’s what it felt like with no power. I can bead at the booth so that was nice – I beaded all morning long.

The Saturday paper did a write up about the mess:

"The National Weather Service has posted a red-flag warning from 5 p.m. today to 5 p.m. Sunday in the fire zone due to thunderstorms and dry conditions, meaning residents and fire crews can expect conditions ripe for "explosive" fire growth."

Got home still no power but they now said by 8pm August 4th but they didn’t say what year cuz it didn’t happen. About 9:30 I got a call from an actual PG&E worker on the ground here in Lakehead. He apologized for not having it back on that night but they found more equipment damage. He said it would be on by 5pm Sunday. Well I misted the sheet down and tried to sleep. I heard noises and realized I didn’t have the back door shut and the last thing I need is a bear in my back porch getting into my spoiling freezer. So I got up – got something on and went to close the back door. The adult kids of the people next door had a fire less than 40 feet from their house going. I had repeatedly offered them my bbq and they never took me up on it but in the middle of a fire close by, winds and a fire restriction, they thought it good to buy food that had to be cooked and bring it home and make a fire. Did I mention WE HAD NO RUNNING WATER???   Tree branches were overhead and it’s been so dry up here that I don’t think I got to sleep until 1 and I had to get up at 5 again…. *sigh*

Sunday was a better day at the swap meet. I sold more and it was breezy so it never got stifling hot. It was sure better than being here in the heat and the smoke. Smokey is NOT a morning person and he made sure I knew he was NOT impressed so he turned his back on me.  He would sleep all the way down on the freeway then sit up after I got off and yawn all the way to the swap meet...

Then I flipped him over to rub his belly and he stayed that way.

my neighbor who was up here and I texted the boring morning before I and the swap meet woke up. After a trip to the bathroom, I had to text her that they had flushing toilets and a pipe came out of the wall, you turned a knob and WATER actually came out into a sink! She replied that she wanted to know how we could get that…

About 1 she texted me that we HAD POWER!!!! I almost packed up and left right then! A friend had just gotten there and we were having so much fun visiting and I was beading, so I stayed till 2 and gleefully packed up knowing I was coming home to a house with power and water. I would run the AC and make it cooler than usual just for Smokey who with all that fur suffered the most up here. I took all my clothes off to get cool and he can’t take his coat off. He didn’t really suffer but it was worst for him than me for certain. So after filling up the gas tank and getting a pepsi for the road, I got on the freeway, telling Smokey we were going home! He laid his ears back on his head. He did not want to come back to the hot, humid place we left… I promised him it would be better and he settled in for the ride. It’s so nice to be home but even nicer to be home with power.

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