Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Early Fire Season

It's that time of year again. I'm not talking about the first flowers of spring, or the early hair-pulling of tax preparation. I'm talking about fires.

There are two burning in the Prescott area right now - one of which started as a controlled burn & jumped the lines. That one is about 10 miles from my house. I'm not especially worried, but I have to say that I flashed back on the Indian Fire of 2002. That fire started a little over 1/4 mile from my old house, right smack in the middle of the national forest. We had to evacuate & I was sure our house was gonna be charcoal. We were lucky. No, really. Our house had been red-tagged, as in "screw it, let this one burn, we can't defend it." Less than a year later, we moved to the other side of the mountain, closer to town, at the edge of the tree-line rather than deep in the Ponderosa Pines.

Two fires this early in the season is giving me the heebie-jeebies. We had a super dry winter with almost no snow or rain & spring is pretty much here already. Add in the fact that Arizona's in the midst of a multi-year drought (I think we're something like 8 or 9 years in), and I'm worried. It's time to get the run-away box and emergency suitcase packed & ready by the door.

Think I'm kidding? When a forest fire gets up on its metaphorical hind legs and starts to run, there's no time to worry about getting your important papers, meds, or clothes together. You grab your shit and go. Last time I had just enough time to collect the dogs, dump the contents of the desk drawers into a suitcase and toss in the laptop and whatever clothes came to mind, all while the fire fighters stood in my driveway telling me to hurry up, get out, get gone. For whatever reason, my panicked mind skipped right over shirts and socks. Plenty of pants and undies, but not a single pair of socks. It was both hilarious and freaky to think "this may be all I've got left" as we waited for news about which direction the fire was going, how many structures were lost, etc., etc. I didn't like it very much, but it helped me get my priorities straight pretty damn quick.

I can hear a plane flying over my house right now. Betcha a dollar it's a slurry tanker making a last run before the sun goes down. Like I said, I'm not worried about this one, but I'm not getting caught without a plan - or socks! - this fire season.


At 10:08 PM, Blogger dink said...

I can totally relate to this angie. I live in a very bad fire area too. There have been 3 bad ones in the 15 years I've been here. They're scary.

I know that plane sound well. I'll keep the good thought for you.

Yeah and get those socks ready!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Stephen Blackmoore said...

Gotta love fire season. We have a thing out here called a Red Flag Warning, when the humidity drops and the winds kick up, and we get some pretty impressive winds. The Santa Anas blow all this dry air down from the north, and when shit goes up it goes up big. Nothing like the dryness you get out in Arizona, but for us, we get these weather mood swings. El Nino dumps a 100-year storm on us and all the plants go batshit crazy, making the next three fire seasons like soaking charcoal in gasoline. Fires that jump the freeway so you're watching this tunnel of flames get closer and closer until they finally shut down the road.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger angie said...

I grew up with hurricanes and tornadoes, so the forest fire thing was new to me. Of course, L.A. is pretty much the land of disasters, Stephen. Forest fires, earth quakes, mud slides, the occasional riot, Brittney Spears, etc.,etc. Guess you're gonna have something no matter where you go.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Shane Gericke said...

Sorry about your fire stuff. I have elderly relatives in Cottonwood who worry about fire season. Not enough to move, but still ...

You're brave to live there. Beautiful country, but it can be nerve-wracking!

Shane Gericke

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angie, I have to give you credit. I wonder how many people plan ahead. You are realistic and I admire that. Be prepared, as the Boy Scouts say.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

One of my friends used to work in the parks fighting forest fires. Believe it or not, it was so dry near here that a whole town was evacuated because of a fire in January.

You're dead right about what you do, though.

Some people live with a couple bags packed, just in case...

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Granny J said...

A scary reminder.


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