Friday, August 15, 2008

On the night of the Sixth of July....

Back to the Homestead. One of our batteries had melted so that we didn't have electricity. Always remember to add water to lead acid batteries. Oops. We had no running water to the cabin. No lights. No refrigerator. A camp stove to cook with. Our stuff was strewn everywhere--with the attending chaos of not knowing where everything is.

As we ate a simple dinner that night, in the dark, I told Joni: "Just think, from here on out it will get better everyday." Should have known better, as one lesson I have learned in life is that Things Can Always Get Worse. They did.

The fires had been 100 percent contained two days prior. That's when all the evacuation orders were lifted. However, on the night of the Sixth, forty mile an hour winds erupted, creating a firestorm and a Crown Fire. A Crown Fire is a fast moving fire that jumps from one mature tree to the next. It's not the fire you want to have, as they are dangerous, get immensely hot and move very, very fast.

We awoke at 6:00 am to the Sheriff's bullhorn blaring us to get out immediately. Groggy, we gathered a few essential papers. We leashed the dog; put the cat in the carrier. I wanted to leave the two pet mice behind, but Kylie and Jazmine looked at me like I was evil incarnate to even suggest such. I packed the mice into the van.

So we drove to the High School in Oroville where the Red Cross Shelter was set up. Animals were housed there along with people.

This is a photo of our beds:

We were in the shelter for a couple of nights, before we were able to procure a hotel room (tough to do with 15,000 people evacuated, plus a few thousand firefighters). They gave us updates everyday as to the status of the burned area of the fire.

Below is a photo as the fire got close. Eventually, the map showed our property has having been burned over. How ironic to plan a move for a year, and then when you finally get set up to live there, a fire comes along...

The roadblock to the Concow area.

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