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Monday, July 11, 2016

Watching a Fire Blow Up

After evacuating, we slept in the LabMobile last night, well away from the fire. Now we are in the little town near our house, sitting outdoors at a coffee shop on an incredibly windy afternoon. We shudder with each gust, fearing that it's the one that sends the fire up the canyon wall to our neck of the woods.

The wind is terrifying but the fire personnel seem optimistic about their containment lines possibly holding. So far, our neck of the woods is okay.

I want to tell you a little about yesterday. It was not a normal day, even from the start. All eyes were on the fire, waiting to see what it would do. Early in the day before the wind picked up, helicopters dominated the firefight as they tried to protect individual homes and specific resources from the flames. I watched from a ridge just behind our home.

Then things got much worse to my eye. The helicopters had to drop way down into a canyon, the one between us and the fire, to drop their buckets of water. I started to worry more.

Then, all of a sudden, the wind blew and the fire exploded. I felt like I could hear it, a low foreboding roar, as it ate up trees and logs and headed toward us.

The slurry bombers, one of which was a 747 airplane, came and went like clockwork. They dropped fire retardant and seeds for after the fire on a line where they want to try to stop the fire.

Then, as I watched, the fire exploded again.
When I saw the sight in the last photo, I sprinted home. Our landline was out, probably due to the fire, but we'd just gotten notification to evacuate immediately. We had a "dress rehearsal" for this 4 years ago. On that occasion, a fire blew up very close to us, and we were told to leave immediately. On that occasion, I freaked out - I seriously was useless to the packing effort as firefighting aircraft flew over our roof. By the time we were ready to leave, the fire was out.

This time, we were ready. We were out of the house quite quickly, following all the protocols (close all windows, leave all lights on, turn off the propane tank, leave signs on all doors that people and pets are evacuated).

And now we are transients. We have tons of offers of places to stay but we're staying in the LabMobile, camping not too far from home. We're happiest this way, with the freedom to get away from the terror that so many in our town are feeling. We're even exploring some new trails that are near our home.

On the day before we left, I checked a trail camera that showed footage of a certain bear family that many of you are interested in because we saw the cubs on their first days outside the den. I'm going to try to post that for tomorrow.

After that, I don't know when I'll be back online again. Hopefully soon. The rumors are that the fire lines are holding and we may be able to go home soon. Thank you all for the POTP and wonderful comments. This is scary but having so many people thinking of us makes a big difference to my state of mind.


  1. Good news so far and we will continue with lots of paws crossed for the news to improve hour by hour. Thinking of all of you.

    P.S. - Our fire evacuation plan involves loading up in the S-RV (Our RV) and staying in it as needed. Frankly, with dogs, it is easier to do that as they just think it is a vacation.

  2. So good to hear from you, KB. I'm following the news on twitter, and every image of the fire and the firefighters and every updated map of the impact area has made me feel heartsick. But every time I've seen footage of the evacuees at the school, I've pictured you and your family camping out somewhere safe and independent in your lovely LabMobile - it makes me smile to know that vision was accurate :)
    Take care, and keep hoping for the best.

  3. We are glad you are all safe and we certainly hope for the best for your home, as well as your neighbors'. And all the animals, wild and domestic.

  4. A home on wheels, safe, secure and comfy, and best of all familiar for R and Shyle.This is so good to know you are safe, and all due to two careless people. Some will have lost their homes, one a firefighter himself, nothing on the NZTV at all, so thanks to you, Facebook and Google, I have been keeping updated. Hopes that wildlife were canny enough to run and escape. Hugs to you all for continued progress to stop any further fires creeping forward. Hugs and XXX

  5. So glad to hear from you and that the news is hopeful! We had a fire just a few years ago. It came up today as a Facebook memory. The things I remember the most are how fast it spreads, how helpless it feels, and how well those firefighters do their jobs! Stay safe!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  6. this must be all so upsetting and concerning to you and the Runner. Thanks for the update and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  7. Glad you're relatively okay! POTP you all stay safe!

  8. Thanks for the update and we continue to keep you in our thoughts!

  9. So glad you are safe.
    Sending continued prayers for you, the firefighters and the mountain animals.
    xo Astro.

  10. Here's hoping you all can return home soon. The LabMobile is the perfect home away from home. We had a brush fire in the canyon on the other side of the hill from us a couple of weeks ago. I watched like a hawk as two helicopters took turns for a couple of hours dumping wather from a nearby reservoir on the flames. There were SO many fire trucks and police. I felt so grateful. They got it out fast. No wind. Otto has his paws crossed, but I think it's more that he gets his cone of shame off tomorrow. He's on hot spot restriction. My paws are crossed though, that the lines hold.


  11. Continued prayers.

    Aroo to you,

  12. Continued prayers and POTP being sent to you all and all affected by this fire. Our local news carried a report of a fire near Boulder - is this it? Thank you for this update - so relieved to hear you and yours are safe - praying that you soon will be able to return home.
    Mom Kim

  13. We are praying the the fire line holds and your family can return home within 48 hours

  14. Fingers still crossed, but it does look encouraging.

    We had to evacuate twice here in town. Once in 2000, again in 2011. Andy was up in the mountains when the 2011 fire came for our place up there. He saw it coming and got out just in time. We lost all of the trees except one on our 80 acres and it destroyed our partially built house and the greenhouse, sheds, well house, etc. So our hearts go out to you.

    Thank you so much for posting!

  15. Sending positive thoughts your way..we may not know each other but a month we were out of our home here in Victoria in Australia during the 2009 Black Saturday fires..makes me ill just seeing these fires..i know too well the toll they take..stay safe and hoping the fires are under control soon..Fozziemum xxx

  16. We're glad to hear you are all okay and will keep our paws crossed that your home is safe.

  17. So unbelievably scary. Thinking of you. Stay safe.

  18. So scary and we've been thinking of you all day. Prayers for everyone's safety!

    Monty, Harlow and Ramble

  19. My comment was lost in cyberspace but the jist of it is that I don't often pray and I usually begin with "if you are there." But I honestly believe if there is someone to pray to she understands my difficulty in grasping the infinite. I do believe in positive thinking and thoughts sent across the way and I'm definitely sending those thoughts to all of you in danger.

    I think you are very wise to stay in the LabMobile, a calm place familiar to the duo and a place which has given you so many happy hours camping. Best of luck, dear blogger buddy. You are not far from my thoughts at any time.

  20. Thank goodness you are all safe
    Prayers and Blessings!
    Outstanding photographs

  21. Crikey ..... it's good to hear from you and to know you are safe. We will continue with our good thoughts and hope that you can return home soon. AND may all the animals be safe.

  22. Thank you for the updates. It's such a scary thing to have a fire roaring out of control. Your photos are amazing,, and just looking at them,, and hearing your fear,,, is frightening.
    Thank goodness you practiced evacuations,, and your safe. And I agree,, your Labmobile is the best place to be,, We sure hope you dont get a migraine too.
    We will keep sending postive good thoughts,, that the Universe will stop the fire,, and all the animals and people are proctected.

  23. Hoping the good news keeps on coming. We are thinking of you all and your wonderful wildlife. Wildfire is terrifying and it moves at a crazy speed. It makes me very emotional reading your reports as it brings back awful memories of the many wildfires we have gone through here. Good thoughts still coming your way for favourable weather and a quick containment.
    Kiersten and the crew

  24. What luck having the LabMobile. At least you'll be comfortable and in an familiar environment. I know we always have the 'Make a Plan' ads on television when fire season arrives. Paws crossed the fire goes around you or is completely stopped.

  25. it is scsary how mights such a fire can be... and how much the flames can destroy in a short time... we cross all paws and fingers for you and your neighbors and the wildlife in your area...

  26. Thank doG you're all safe! We think about you all of time. We continue to pray.

  27. Hari OM
    Have been there done that in the great Down Under, so can totally understand your feelings on this. Keeping you in prayers. YAM xx

  28. so relieved to see this post, i have been checking twice a day to see if you posted to know all of you are ok. I feel terror just reading your story and can't imagine how it would feel. because of all the fires, a few nights ago i had a fire nightmare and because of the nightmare, we now have a fire plan, not because of wild fire, but house fire... everyone needs a fire plan no matter where they live. prayers for your home and your safety

  29. OMG. Worried for your house, glad you all are safe!

    Mojo to the firefighters too.

    Best wishes and good thoughts to all.

  30. My goodness me this is just so scary and we are so sorry for everyone.
    Thank goodness you are all together and safe.
    Prayers that all fire fighters/jumpers remain safe and all homes and residents are spared.
    Hugs madi and mom

  31. We're keeping you in our thoughts and hoping you can go home soon with no damage!

  32. You are all in our thoughts and prayers every day. Hopefully soon you will be back and home and life can return to normal.

    sending hugs!

  33. We sure have been thinking about you guys and sending you our prayers. It sounds like you did a great job of evacuating. WE hope the fire is contained and that you are on your way back home safely, we are so sad for the wildlife and the vegetation....stella rose

  34. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers
    Mr Bailey, hazel & Mabel

  35. You have been constantly on my mind, thanks for updating us.

  36. Oh my goodness how terrifying. Hope you are all safe and they put out that fire quick
    Lily & Edward

  37. I'm so sorry about your fire! I'm glad you guys are okay!

  38. Hello, I have been following your story. I will keep you in my prayers for continued safety and your place is safe from the fire. Take care!


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