Wildfire

Moutaineer
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1147
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:45 pm
Location: Utah

Wildfire

Postby Moutaineer » Tue Jul 31, 2018 6:40 pm

I live in the mountains, in that territory known as "wildland interface." Yesterday afternoon about 2pm, I was minding my own business getting on with some work at home, when my phone started to go crazy. A fire had started at the bottom of the hill and was rapidly approaching and getting out of control fanned by strong afternoon winds. We had to round up the horses and the cats, our laptops and our passports and get the hell out. Couldn't get off the mountain as the fire had cut off our exit route, so we had to go up.

You actually can stuff two full sized horses and a mini in a 2 horse trailer.

Not many things more sobering than sitting up on a mountain watching the fire line rolling towards your home, while the helicopters bucket water out of the pond next to you.

After about 3 hours I got word that I could drive out. My husband stayed behind because once out, they weren't letting anyone back in. I drove out through flames and thick smoke and headed to the barn where I board Laddie. I got most of the way there when I was told we were going to have to evacuate that barn too, so I had to turn around and head out to another barn, drop my three off, and go back and help get the rest out. At that point, I wasn't sure I still had a house.

The wind changed and blew the fire east of us, so we were OK. Perilously close though--they dozered a fire break through about 400 yards from the house which seems to have saved us. Though I can see people out working on hot spots still.

I stayed at a friend's house overnight, with my two nocturnal, insomniac cats who hate each other.

We moved all the horses back to their respective homes this morning. I really wanted to get my 34 year old back in his familiar environment, I'm a bit worried about him, poor old man--it was extremely traumatic for him, he hasn't been on the trailer or off the mountain for 18 years and he had to deal with sitting in there for three hours with all his buddies while the helis were taking off and landing next to us.

Actually, he loaded like champ, as did they all, including the pony who had to ride in the head space. They even hopped right back on to come back home.

I'm so tired and frazzled my legs are shaking but I'm also too wired to sleep.

One piece of advice. If you have a "go bag", go put a cell phone charger cable in it.

piedmontfields
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1663
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:41 pm
Location: E Tennessee USA

Re: Wildfire

Postby piedmontfields » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:00 pm

Really terrifying. Fingers crossed for you, yours and your area.

User avatar
Sunshine2Me
Herd Member
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:59 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: Wildfire

Postby Sunshine2Me » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:19 pm

Oh my goodness! I am so glad you are okay! Fingers crossed the fire does not come back your way.

Abby Kogler
Herd Member
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:29 pm

Re: Wildfire

Postby Abby Kogler » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:38 pm

So glad to see the happy outcome of this post. It is such a sobering and potentially terrifying experience.

User avatar
Chisamba
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 2562
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:33 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Wildfire

Postby Chisamba » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:44 pm

I am so glad to hear that you are safe, and your animals are too. I hope there is no long term negatives.

In Africa, i know there is a lot of bush blah blah, but we always have precut firebreaks so that there are fire containment areas. DO they not do this out west in fire danger areas? they wait for the fire before cutting a break?

Tuddy
Herd Member
Posts: 497
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:19 pm
Location: Zehner, SK Canada

Re: Wildfire

Postby Tuddy » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:49 pm

I am glad to hear you are all okay.

Moutaineer
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1147
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:45 pm
Location: Utah

Re: Wildfire

Postby Moutaineer » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:30 pm

Chisamba, the west is weird, lots of private property "my home is my castle" stuff, until the shit hits the fan.

We all (who are sensible) try to maintain a "defensible space" around our houses, but honestly with the wind blowing as hard as it was yesterday, it showed that really this is a pretty futile exercise.

goldhorse
Herd Member
Posts: 170
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:20 am
Location: East Bay, Northern CA

Re: Wildfire

Postby goldhorse » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:41 pm

I am so glad that you, family, and animals are all safe. This is a bad bad year. And yes to cramming horses into a trailer. I bought my 2h slant load from a woman who crammed 5 small Arabs into it to evacuate the fire in San Diego about 8 years ago. I call it my good karma trailer.

khall
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1095
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:47 am

Re: Wildfire

Postby khall » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:43 am

Wow mountaineer how terrifying! Glad all are safe and hope all continue to be.

User avatar
StraightForward
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1308
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:04 pm

Re: Wildfire

Postby StraightForward » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:09 am

Moutaineer, so glad you, your critters and house are OK. What an ordeal! I learned the life-saving value of knowing how to load under pressure when I helped friends evacuate yearlings who'd never been off the place while a grass fire rolled towards them. It was terrifying at the time, but in hindsight, it was a fairly tame fire.

Chisamba wrote:I am so glad to hear that you are safe, and your animals are too. I hope there is no long term negatives.

In Africa, i know there is a lot of bush blah blah, but we always have precut firebreaks so that there are fire containment areas. DO they not do this out west in fire danger areas? they wait for the fire before cutting a break?


Firebreaks do precious little with the fire conditions we get out here. You may have seen on the news with some of the houses in Redding getting torched by "fire tornadoes" because the fire creates it's own weather and turns into a flame vortex.

When the Murphy Fire burned in southern Idaho, it jumped the Bruneau Canyon in one place, something people previously thought was impossible.

I work with someone who's been looking at the interaction of large fire breaks (like 300' on each side of the road) and they don't do much in extreme fire weather conditions. Usually the best we can hope for is to reduce vegetation along roadways enough that the fire engines can get in and backfire off the roads with lower flame lengths.

Not to say that fire breaks don't have their place, and a brownstrip can stop a little spot fire, but these larger fires are a whole 'nother beast.

Still, I see plenty of homes with zero defensible space in fire prone areas and could not be paid to live there. If one home has defensible space around it, and the other doesn't, guess which one the firefighters will try to protect first?
The UDBB member known as AQHA Hunter

heddylamar
Herd Member
Posts: 470
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Maryland

Re: Wildfire

Postby heddylamar » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:37 am

I'm glad you were able to evacuate and were spared, Mountaineer! Hopefully, your oldster resettles. My mare was amazingly resilient at that age.

Re: fire breaks: My aunt and uncle's farm was spared in a 2012 fire, while several of their neighbors went up. All had significant fire breaks and similar geography -- nestled below a plateau. On top of the ridge is scrub and tumbleweeds, very little else.

It's amazing how little can feed a fire.

WheresMyWhite
500 post plus club
Posts: 915
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:37 pm

Re: Wildfire

Postby WheresMyWhite » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:24 pm

Mountaineer, glad you and all your "flock" are safe!

Wildland fires are scary as they can burn so hot and fast.

Good that you had defensible space as that can often make the different to the firefighters if they will defend your property or not.

You are correct, LE cannot make you leave but they can keep you from returning. Bear in mind in the two more recent fires in my old neck of the woods... Waldo Canyon and Black Forest in Colorado, in each, a couple died because they did not evacuate fast enough despite numerous warnings from LE. I get wanting to stay but there is a definite risk if you do.

Kyra's Mom
500 post plus club
Posts: 553
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:04 am
Location: Sunny? Southern Idaho

Re: Wildfire

Postby Kyra's Mom » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:38 pm

:shock:

Damned fires. Like Straighforward said...fire behavior out here can be way off the charts especially in these dry, dry, hot, hot conditions.

I am glad your house is still standing and that all the critters are safe.

Susan
from susamorg on the UDBB

Sue B
500 post plus club
Posts: 657
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:55 pm
Location: Spud country (Idaho)

Re: Wildfire

Postby Sue B » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:26 pm

(((Moutaineer)))
So glad you and your entourage are safe.

Chisamba, also some states prohibit the formation of defensible space citing damage to native flora and fauna. Doesn't happen here in Idaho but such rules make me crazy. My sis lives in california. She wanted to remove some eucalyptus trees because she worried about them catching fire. Permit was denied on the basis that some bird or other needed those non-native trees. Two years later, the trees were removed after fire swept through their area (thankfully sparing their home) after it jumped an entire freeway! Crown fire involving eucalyptus.

User avatar
Chisamba
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 2562
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:33 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Wildfire

Postby Chisamba » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:29 pm

Even in Zambia the defensible space, as you call it, was not always effective, i just wondered if they attempted to have them. wild fire can be so destructive and quick.

Moutaineer
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1147
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:45 pm
Location: Utah

Re: Wildfire

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:41 pm

Oh, WMW, he didn't stay home with a hosepipe, he was up the mountain too. Once the humans and animals are out, it's just well insured stuff, not worth risking life and limb for.

Silverado
Herd Member
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:28 pm

Re: Wildfire

Postby Silverado » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:51 pm

Glad you are safe.....what a terrifying experience.

Moutaineer
Bringing Life to the DDBB
Posts: 1147
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:45 pm
Location: Utah

Re: Wildfire

Postby Moutaineer » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:16 am

It rained today, for the first time in weeks. Which is of course good and bad news, as we have to worry about the run-off on steep slopes now all the vegetation is gone--but it was a great relief to be cold and wet this morning!

Lucky is still a bit quiet, but seems to be coming out of his shell a bit now--not standing with his head in the corner of his shed ignoring everyone, at any rate, but he dropped a ton of weight. The other two old geezers seem just fine.

Sue B
500 post plus club
Posts: 657
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:55 pm
Location: Spud country (Idaho)

Re: Wildfire

Postby Sue B » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:04 pm

I am soooo jealous, Moutaineer. We're are just a couple hundred miles apart and yet we haven't had even a hint of rain in many weeks. Meanwhile, the hills are again on fire from lightening strikes. Aparently the Elko/Wells NV fire joined our Grouse Creek fire to make one giant conflagration. Won't be in the news though cuz it's mostly Nat'l Forest/BLM/range land. Nobody cares about that. Lol So now we have grain dust from harvest mixing with smoke from fires and a nice breeze stirring everything up. Gotta love late July to mid-August.


Return to “The Observation Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 26 guests