Monday, July 01, 2013
The Fire In Yarnell! On Saturday night the fire was on the mountain and it lit up the sky to the West of our home! (see previous blog). At that point it was obvious there was no danger to us -- it was fascinating watching the flames leaping across the sky!
Sunday -- the fire had shifted slightly and was making it's way toward another very small community down the road, People's Valley. We drove the short 3 miles to join others in parking along the road watching the planes zooming in, dropping the fire retardant, or whatever that reddish powder is that they drop. The helicopter was busy dumping water and, as no houses were in danger, it was quite the spektical.
We returned home about 2:00 p.m. and I had a few tasks to perform on my computer and did not pay any attention to how the atmosphere was changing outside the home and the blinds were closed to block the sun and heat. About 30 minutes later I was surprised to hear a horn of some type outside our home -- it was the Sheriff stating the wind had again shifted, and he ordered immediate evacuation.
The word evacuation stamped itself on my brain along with FOREST FIRE -- and for a minute I couldn't think just what to do. The I raced to the spare bedroom where I knew one of our cats was sleeping. Luci meowed as I picked her up as she always complains about being picked up; but she didn't have much time to think before I placed her in one of the cat carriers. Angel was the other cat, my rebel, who tries to get outside when the opportunity presents itself. She was sitting on our back porch, but came inside readily enough as I opened the door for her. She wasn't as anxious about getting put into the carrier, but that's life. Amber, the dog, is always ready for a ride or walk, so she was excited and more than ready.
What to take -- what to leave?? It's hard to make evaluations and come up with sound split-second decisions! I picked up medical and bank records, but as the electricity went off I realized I didn't have my car keys. So I placed the papers on the table, grabbing the flashlight and began searching. Finally decided to just leave my car and ride in my husband's car when luckily he found them. Forgot the papers, rushed to my car with the air thick with smoke, vision cut down drastically, and the heat of the fire was evident even at our distance. There was no time to spare as I saw the flames about two homes down from us, looking ferocious and about 40-feet tall.
I worried about neighbors as I drove down the street. The couple living next door to us were very elderly with one in a wheelchair. It was a mass exodus with cars lined up bumper-to-bumper waiting their turn to pull out onto the highway leading out of town.
I am one of the lucky people who have another home, so I had somewhere to go. I know several of the people in my area live there full time. And as I watched the news once I had arrived safe and sound at my home in Glendale, I saw 19 brave fire fighters had lost their lives as they were trapped with the fire surrounding them. So far I have heard 250 homes have been burned, or about half of all the homes in Yarnell. We have no way of knowing if ours was burned, but we are thinking of it as being lost.
Will post updates as they are available.