It’s been an interesting couple of days. A noisy couple of days, with the constant sound of helicopters and airplanes filling the skies.
We woke up Monday morning to very gusty winds. A Red Flag Warning had been issued for our area. Contrary to what you might think, this has nothing to do with a potential Soviet Union invasion (because this isn’t 1984). It refers instead to weather conditions that are ripe for fire. Warm temperatures, low humidity, strong winds.
As far as self-fulfilling prophecies go, this one turned out to be a doozy. Shortly after 9 a.m., I noticed a funny-looking cloud outside my office window. My stomach dropped when I realized this was no cloud, but rather, smoke. With 75-mph winds whipping and bone-dry vegetation, this did not bode well.
Within an hour, the fire had exploded and homes were being evacuated. This was the scene from Skyline Drive overlooking my ‘hood.
Our home was never in danger, even though the fire was only a few miles away. There’s a lot of urban corridor between us and the forested canyons that were burning. But I appreciate the outpouring of concern from family and friends. And when another fire sprang up near Keystone in the Black Hills, prompting Mount Rushmore to close, we made national news.
They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but I’m not so sure about that.
Last night was pretty surreal. We could see flames from our bedroom window. Today, on my lunch hour, I drove to Canyon Lake, about two miles from our house. The road there kinda resembled the highway to hell, if said highway were paved with cupcake shops, hair salons, and liquor stores instead of good intentions.
Highway 44 was closed just past Canyon Lake, because the fire was (is) raging in Cleghorn Canyon just west of there. I was not expecting to see this.
National Guard Black Hawk helicopters were filling 660-gallon drums of water from the lake to dump on the fire. Every few minutes a new one would swoop in. I was so close to the action, I got sprayed with water when the bucket dropped at one point. Totally worth it for the shot! The choppers would fly off to join air tankers dropping red fire retardant on the flames. It was all quite the show.
As of this evening, the winds are dying down (finally) and the fire is 50% contained. Hats off to all the first responders battling the fire. They deserve a few hundred gold stars apiece.
Kind of an exciting-but-scary start to the week. I’m ready for boring and humdrum now!