So…there’s this fire…

We knew this was a possibility.  If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ll know I post frequently about being grateful for every last snowflake and every drop of rain.  How my biggest fear, and realized possibility, is a forest fire in our “backyard.”

And so here it is.  Now.  On the mountain behind us.  It’s difficult to explain exactly where we live.  I had to drag (nicely, of course) the Jackson County sheriff over to the map on the wall, at the Community Meeting last Tuesday night, and point out our precise location.  I then attempted to get a confirmation from said sheriff that we would, in fact, be included in any notices going out to the Parsons Draw area for voluntary/mandatory evacuations should the fire breach the two contingency lines.

It did.  And we didn’t.  Luckily we have an inside track on firefighter/emergency medical personnel communications and the dear husband was alerted to the voluntary evacuation order sent out yesterday afternoon.  As well, we’ve made a new friend in the Parsons Draw area (natural disasters will do that…bring people together) who also called to let me know what was going on.

As if the gigantic, enormous, humongous black smoke plume that I saw framed over the apartment/garage wasn’t enough to let me know that perhaps things weren’t going so well up there as they had been.

I don’t even know where to start.  There’s so much tumbling around up there.  I’ve got the “go-bags” packed and they’ve been ready to go since the fire started (June 19th).  Not a problem there.  I do keep adding to the pile, occasionally.  As I find something, or remember something that would not be able to be replaced.  I’ll need to stop soon though, as there may be no room for the dogs.  And they trump all the rest. (I should really stop using that word, as forevermore it will be associated with an orange buffoon, aka CheetoJesus.)

Anyway.  I’ve been told varying things by the Men-in-my-Life-that-are-in-the-Know.  In one conversation alone “just take what we can’t replace and that can be loaded in 5 minutes” to “I’m thinking we could get the house packed up and loaded on trailers in a day.”

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Repeated by another man this morning, who is our eyes and ears in the field.  I think he was trying to be both reassuring (as in “you’ll be fine”)– to have your valuables and irreplaceable items ready to go–to we’ll all help you pack everything up and take it away.

I told the dear husband, actually several times now, I’m taking my cues from him as to whether or not to be worried.  Whether or not to escalate to DEFCON 5 or stay at 2 or 3.  He just looks at me blankly.  He’s all over the board.  One minute he’s talking about packing the entire house up.  The next he’s telling me, in that exasperated voice with a raised eyebrow/eyeroll, to not worry.  That there’s a 10% chance it will get here in 12 days.

What evs.

It’s fire.  Noone knows what it’s going to do.  Least of all itself.  Mother Nature doesn’t even know.  She’s so confused right now with all the craziness in the world that she doesn’t know which way is up, or north, for that matter.  Too hot and dry in one place….many, big fires.  Too cold and wet in another…massive hurricanes and storms.  She’s busy right now and can’t be bothered by little ol’ me wanting to know if I should pack all the books or not.

It’s a Red Flag Warning day today.  It was dead calm a couple of hours ago, but the winds are picking up.  The fire is fueling to the east (that’s toward us) and to the northeast (toward Parsons Draw).  Hot, dry and windy.  Ideal conditions.  Throw in a few hundred thousand standing, dead beetle-killed trees and we’ve got some scary hours ahead of us.

I’ve spent many, many hours on the inciweb http://inciweb.nwcg.gov these last 3 weeks now.  Good Goddess…three weeks.  I want information.  I want numbers.  I want maps.  I want data.  I pinned the Operations Leader down last Tuesday night and asked him what were the chances it would reach us.  He hemmed and hawed a bit, looked at my husband (as if my husband was going to bail him out..which he didn’t…and which there were probably some eyerolls involved by the way) and finally stumbled over some words.  He eventually said “computer model” and I pounced.  I said “Yes.  Numbers are good.  Give me numbers.  Data is good.  Computer models are golden.”  I seriously think he was wondering how my dear husband survives. (Men.)  He finally spit out “10% in 14 days with the most extreme weather conditions.”

That was on Tuesday.  That was 5 days ago.  I’ve got 9 days to go.  The weather is extreme right now.  It grew 1000 acres yesterday and breached their contingency lines.  If it gets on top of the ridge, it will shoot down the ridge and be at my back door.  I’m not stupid.  (Gold stars to anyone who can name that line from a Tony-winning, sold-out-until-2017 musical.)  {OK, I’m just going to give it to you:  Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr upon meeting him: “He said I was stupid.  I’m not stupid.”}  ({A serious sign I’ve been listening to Hamilton too much if I’m now quoting it randomly.})

Wind is picking up here.  I need to take a look out yonder and do a once-over through the house.

Life in the forest.  We’re not stupid.

Blessings be.  On you and yours and all of the firefighting personnel putting their lives in harm’s way.

About madranchwife

Mother, Mad Ranchwife(as in--at times-- crazy, nutso, loco, off-my-rocker insane), Veterinarian, Physical Therapist, "Liberal, pinko, gay-loving, Subaru-driving Socialist" (as I've been called), proud to be a totally tree-huggin', climate change believin', granola girl environmentalist, ObamaGirl, Pro-Choice (don't even get me started here...), and in my younger days a feminist vegetarian as a result of time spent at CU Boulder (this lasted approximately 14 months, until all the Jimmy Buffett I was listening to caused me to crave a cheeseburger). Now I just get pleasure out of swimming against the stream and ruffling a few feathers here in the wild west state of Wyoming!
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