Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wind, Fire, Wind
The whole day from start to finish was full of challanges, but with heavy winds you never relax or rest properly, the wind gets into your deepest levels of psyche and slowly wear away at the nerve endings until you're ready to pull your hair out. Craig and I had a meeting in Longmont yesterday afternoon. I picked him up at home and we made our way back down into Boulder, the wild fire had already started but the roads were open..the thought crossed my mind that perhaps we shouldn't be going to this meeting but it was an important thing and we needed to make it happen. So on the way home we could see the fire was huge, the views west to the foothills are solid as you drive to Boulder from Longmont, the fire looked like a city of lights. When we got to Lee Hill Rd. it was closed and the officer directing traffic made it clear there was "no going home tonight", well with all due respect, yea right Mr. Officer! There's more than one way to get too our house than Lee Hill. So we put some gas in the little tercel and headed up to Gold Hill, dropped down Lick Skillet and then came up the back side of Lee Hill, no problem, we were home and that was good. It pays to know the back roads in BC.
Once home we tried to relax, eat, not worry about the fire, it was a good 5 miles as the crow flies from us, 7 or 8 by road and the wind was moving east rapidly but was supposed to die down by later that night. We've had other fires close by over the years and you learn to be prepared but not to panic or rush out the door, it's just a part of living in the mountains out here.
We went to bed around 9:30pm but about an hour later the phone calls began from concerned friends giving us updates, they meant well but it really didn't matter. We wouldn't need to go anywhere until we got our reverse 911 call to evacuate and we felt confident that wouldn't happen. The fire would have to eat it's way through a lot of territory and houses to get to us.
Around 1:30AM the phone rang again and a friend of ours who lives up here and works with the VFD called to let us know Boulder Heights was being evacuated, she was very concerned though she hadn't gotten a reverse 911 yet nor had we. We took this seriously though and got up and struggled to get together everything on our hit list for evacuation, meaning, bikes, gear, dogs, pictures, paperwork, artwork and clothes. Not neccasarily in that order but you get the idea, the things that meant something to us and that we couldn't easily replace. However we noticed that it was pretty quiet outside and I was starting to think we should just stay put when our friend called back and said that she had been to look at the fire line and it wasn't as bad as it was earlier and she was going to stay at home until told otherwise. The strange thing is that when you called the Command Center they were telling everyone mandatory evac but noone ever got a reverse 911, a case of left and right hand not communicating? Probably. We went back to bed around 3AM but it was difficult to relax and fall back to sleep, so it was a long night and dramatic in its own right. Much thanks goes to all the fire fighters and civil servants who spent an exhausting night fighting this one.
I sincerely hope the winds die down and we get some snow soon, we really need it, we shouldn't be having these kinda fires in January.
The wind will go hide in the ridges of the mountains for a little while but I'm sure it will be back, roaring down and out into the flats, knocking everyone around, messing with our minds and central nervous systems and laughing all the way.