Fire (Updated x2)

My dad called me on Sunday to tell me about a fire that he could see from the highway. I was like “eh, fire, whatever” because hello, I live in the desert. Over half of the nation is in a drought and has been for years. There’s currently 14 fires in Idaho alone! At any rate, fire, meh, whatever…right? WRONG. Monday it was still raging, and the homes of people I knew were in danger. Tuesday the fire had burned 9000 acres, and dad could see it from Main street…which is a block from his house. That “whatever, fire”? Was now 5 miles from dad’s house. Several of the outlying homes were in danger.

As of this writing, no one has been evacuated, but they’re busy moving their livestock. It’s a farming community, people. If the farms are lost, if the ranches are lost, crops, livestock…the town is lost. Fire is good for farms, yes. Farmers routinely burn their fields every year to help with nutrients, and rotate the crops so that they don’t sap the land. But fire on this scale? No, not so much. Hard to have a farm when everything is gone. There are several feedlots in the line of fire *rimshot!*, and those will go up like a twig. Manure is highly flammable, thanks to the methane gas it produces, and every farm and ranch has stores of it for their farms. If those explode…I don’t even want to think about it.

There is a crew of 500 troops coming in to battle the blaze. The town only has 678 people in the first place. Dad says the first crew came into town last night – a caravan of about 30 vehicles, with several hot shot buses. The crews are setting up base camps at the city park (3 blocks from my dad) and the high school (1 mile from dad). People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. And what do I see on my FB from someone I knew growing up?

5000+ acres burned, 0% contained, and over 1200 hot ass firefighters are moving in next door…Ill be doing some serious firefighter…I mean fire…watching this week…:) I don’t know how Im gonna contain myself from watching 🙂 and I can watch from my backyard…can we say STALKER

Seriously, woman? SERIOUSLY? People. Lives. Property. Crops. All being burned to ash, and you’re excited because the fucking firefighters are going to be staying at the HS, which is just outside your door? THIS is what’s important to you, while all the grassland that the farmers and ranchers rely on for grazing their animals is burning? That fire, which is now at 22,000 acres as of this morning, is a Level 1 severity – one of only two in Idaho, and three in the nation.  And you’re stoked because you’ll get to see hot firefighters? I hate to tell you, lady, but most firefighters that I’ve seen don’t exactly look like the ones in the calendar that’s probably hanging on your wall.  Take a look at one crew coming from Delaware. Yes, Delaware, because Idaho doesn’t have the resources to battle this many blazes. Delaware fire crew

So yes, I’m angry at people. I’m frustrated with their seeming inability to realize the severity of the situation, what it means for the town as a whole and it’s people in particular. I feel helpless. I am resisting the strong urge to pack up the boy and drive down there. It would accomplish almost nothing, except to expose us to the smoke and danger, which is pointless. I’m worried about my dad, and the people I knew growing up. Our neighbors, several of which have major health issues. How will they get out if they evac the town? Will they evac the town? With the fire so close, why haven’t they already done so as a precaution? Will dad think to pack things of sentimental value, like the wedding pictures sitting on the sideboard that can’t be replaced? Things that belong to mom that we might want to keep?

Update: While I was writing this, dad called me. The fire came down over the ridge last night and headed for town. The crews responded by bombarding the town side of the ridge with retardant and water all night long. There is a wind coming from the south, and the fire is now heading north…away from town and the outlying residential areas. Of course, this means it’s heading for forest area…but better the forest than homes, imo. Here’s hoping it doesn’t jump the line and come back.

Update #2: Dad called to update me again. None of the rain that fell in the surrounding areas fell in Oakley. Wind has picked up from the west and you can’t even see the hills. The Albion fire has started back up, probably 1,000 acres at this point, and moving fast. As we were talking, there was an explosion and fireball – he thinks the fire reached a clutch of pine trees w/sap and just BOOM! For reference, Albion and Oakley are about 30 miles apart. There are fires going on both sides of the highway that runs to Oakley at this point. Not the whole way, but…yeah. FIRE GO AWAY! RAIN SHOW UP!

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  1. Fire images « Lifes Little Reflections

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