The scattering of fires, burning out of control, are being lumped into the title Douglass County Complex, and several of them are burning within 15-25 miles of our house. If the wind shifts, or the fire changes direction, we might have to evacuate. If they tell us to get out, what we can take will depend on how much time we have. Suddenly we'll be facing a hard reality. What will we attempt to save, and what will we be forced to leave behind? Those are decisions we hope we won't have to make, but the possibility that we might have to is a real one.
Our safety and that of our animals is a priority. After that...what? Our personal papers are in a safe deposit box, so those aren't an issue. Here is my mental list of things I will grab: Our two computers, because they hold thousands of photos, and all of my manuscripts; my jewelry box of good stuff including things belonging to my grandmothers; the silver teapot my dad bought for my mom back in the 70s and that she has given to me; a Brown Betty teapot that my grandfather bought in England during WWI and brought back for my grandmother; my collection of Dorothy Dunnett books which are out of print and one is signed. After that, depending on time and space in the trucks, two pieces of furniture: an antique dressing table my grandmother gave me when I turned sixteen, and a Victorian library table that belonged to my aunt who was murdered in her house back in the 80s. Then clothes, and whatever else we can throw in the trucks or the tack room in the horse trailer.
As the days go on, we monitor the Forestry reports, check web sites for updates, and keep fingers and toes crossed. In the meantime, ash falls on everything, smoke makes the air hard to breath and burns the eyes, and bombers (so far, one DC10, two DC4s, and a twin engine) full of fire retardant and helicopters dragging water buckets fly right over our house.
Here are a few photos. I started taking them Friday morning, when the smoke wasn't too bad, but things got slowly worse as time when on. Today the smoke is horrible and has engulfed the whole Rogue Valley, causing the EPA to issue a hazardous air quality warning.
The red stain on the bottom of the bomber is from the fire retardant.
Our two horses, trying to figure out where the smoke is coming from. They are wearing fly masks, to keep flies out of their eyes and ears. They can see through them just fine. It also keeps the falling ash out of their eyes - a use I doubt the manufactures originally had in mind, but they work.
Helicopter taking the empty water bucket back for a refill.
Bomber flying through the smoke. The photo is blurry, as Robert grabbed the camera and took the picture as quick as he could, because the bombers were traveling really fast.
Smoke curling through the valley. By Sunday afternoon, it looked like a volcano had erupted behind our house, the smoke was so dark and thick.
Robert, last evening, out on our deck, reading the reports of the fire in the local paper. It's really no fun when you have to pick pine ashes out of your wine. At least they can't get into his beer can.