September still feels like it never happened, but it did. The surreal 10 days we had here in the western part of Oregon were enough to cancel out the remaining 20 days. I sit here today, very grateful to be able to be in my home and to see the brightly clear blue sky and the very white-with-snow, Mt Hood.
In my dreams, I had been through the drill many times. Fire approaching, hurry up and pack! In those dreams though, it always felt like I had a long time to gather things. How different was the real thing.
We did have enough time to evacuate. There was no fire breathing down our backs, though the smoke was very thick. It was maybe miles away yet, but the fierce easterly winds were fueling the so-named Riverside Fire with a vengeance through acres and acres of fir trees. Being night time, we had to pack and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
I was frantic in my search for our family album, the one we like to browse through and enjoy the babyhoods and childhoods of our kids. Why hadn’t I looked for this album before? The thought had crossed my mind several times that I needed to have it at the ready. Afterall, living in a mobile home court means being vulnerable to other people’s accidents. All it would take would be one spark . . .
In fact as we did indeed hit a Level 3 evac notice (Go Now!) that next morning, neighbors were scurrying around loading cars and trucks, and we learned some sobering news. One of the mobile homes had their wood stove stoked and running! This in the 70°F night during a heat spell. One spark would have done us all in.
At any rate, a month has passed now and we are fine, though the fire was only 5 miles away. The wind miraculously stopped at some point in the early hours of September 11th. I am keeping the photo album handy now. I hope we don’t have to go through this again any time soon. And my heart goes out to the people who’ve lost loved ones, pets, livestock and/or their homes.
Pictures are from the day before evacuation and evacuation day both.