Burning five miles from our home, sometimes filling the sky with ominous crimson glowing smoke, sometimes filling our lungs with a pressing smoky sensation, this fire is on its third day of life. Today we dread another “red flag” day, wind gusts predicted at 40 mph. And the winds, called Nevada zephyrs, don’t blow straight, they swirl.

No homes have burned, and none are threatened now; its course is away from the city. A constant hum drones over the house as tankers, spotters, and copters assail the flames. The tankers especially fly very low, their bellies full, dropping long sprays of retardant like bad graffiti artists on the hillside. Helicopters thump with long tails and heavy buckets, circle again and again to dip in ponds, carrying water to pop one little blemish, when it appears the whole face is on fire.

The first night, Brad woke me at 2AM, “Wake up, now. You have to move, NOW. Can’t you smell that smoke? Go inside NOW.” He closed all the doors and turned on the air conditioner, while I struggled to comprehend what was happening. I knew there had been a fire earlier in the day, but the breeze had stopped and the smoked settled low in our little valley, fogging the air.

Last night as we watched, it crested yet another ridge, trees exploding in flame, shooting hundreds of feet into the air. It’s burned more than 2000 acres and is only 10% contained. More drama today, I’m sure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cathy, Your discription of the drama with the wildfire is amazing. You should really consider writing your own book, possibly a novel. I love to read your captions, they are amazing and really pull me in to what you are telling. You really have a talent for writing.
Anyway, you and Brad stay safe. 5 miles away sounds very close. Take care. Love, Aunt Gwen