Living Off Grid - Forest Fire

| 2/3/2012 9:50:30 AM

Parklike We heard they had a fire here about 15 years ago, a pretty bad one. I know the people we bought this land from were very concerned. They cut all of the low limbs off the trees both large and small and cleaned them up and either burned them in their wood stove or got rid of them some other way. This place looked like a park when we bought it. They had done the whole lower 20 acres and started on the upper 20. They mowed what they could and even had a fire fighting system of sorts they were working on. We heard at one time they had an old tanker truck up here.

Last August we found out firsthand what all the concern was about. It was about 3:30 p.m. and I was headed down the hill to the post office to pick up a package. It is only a few miles away. Driving down our access road I noticed a cloud of smoke just a mile away or so. It looked like it was down near the highway.
When I arrived at the post office a few minutes later someone came flying out the door with two fire extinguishers in her hand. She shouted at someone behind her that “it just jumped the highway”
Well, how smart was I? I was starting to get it. I needed to get back home – fast.

By the time I hit our access road the helicopter was circling overhead dumping water on the fire. I made it home and told Laurie to gather our important papers and put them in the truck and then go gather the horses and put them in the corral. I took the truck down to the barn and hooked up the horse trailer “just in case” and then went and hooked all the hoses up to the faucets and hydrants.  Our neighbor Tim came over to discuss what was going on. We figured we had some time before we would be really threatened if it continued to come up the hill and then turn and come towards us.

I jumped in the utility vehicle and drove across our property to get past the trees so I could see what was going on. I couldn't believe it. The wind had picked up and the fire made it even worse and the fire did go up the hill and turn 90 degrees and come right at us. I drove back to the house and told Laurie she needed to get the horses out “ NOW”! I’m sure she understood the reason for the “enhanced inflection” in my tone. The fire was coming and it was coming fast.

(Spousal Editor Laurie would like me to insert a note here): “Readers – if you own a horse, please make sure they will load into a trailer without a fuss. It can mean the difference between saving your animals or not.” 

Once Laurie and the animals were safely on their way, I went into the house and put on my Nomex (fire resistant) coveralls that I had saved from when I used to have construction work in the refineries. I went down to the barn and made sure it was all closed up and brought the tractor up to the house and settled down to wait.

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