*A great website to see amazing photos of the events and the timeline is http://www.5280fire.com
Yesterday when I returned from work a neighbor came over to tell us that a fire was happening behind our houses. I was thinking to myself “yeah yeah – whatever…. I got stuff to do – we will check it out later.” Little did I know how close to home the flames were. I saw my neighbors out and everyone on the trail behind my house standing around looking in one direction – NORTH- towards the fire. I went out in the backyard and could hear crackling and unlike when I went camping, this crackling did not give me comfort. We quickly went to the 2nd floor of our home and from both girls’ windows, as clear as day, we could see the trail, and on the other side of the canal, the brush fire and it was spreading and as of the time we started watching, there had not been any firefighters or police on site yet.
It was a sight to see. I can see now why people say when you are in danger to yell “Fire!” instead of yelling “help” or something else. Everyone was coming out to see and climbing onto the trail to see the flames and to see our heroes in action, putting it out. I have never, in my life, seen a fire (other than a controlled camp fire of course) this up close and personal and hope to never have it any closer. I remember my parents had a house fire (kitchen fire) when I was in college and it was devastating- smoke damage, fire damage, and then all the reconstruction. I remember what havoc it wreaked on their lives and they had to live in an apartment temporarily as well. All I could think of as I saw this flames about 600 to 1000 feet from my house was, “Oh boy… what do we take if we have to evacuate?” It was a huge wake-up call for us? Should we go spray down the backyard? Should we gather the important stuff and load the car so we are ready to go? What do we take and where is everything? Maybe we should make a list so if we have a few minutes, we can gather it and our most valued possession (The kiddos) and jet out. All these thoughts really freaked me out because I realized for once in a long time, I had never thought of these things. We all think we are fireproof – “Oh that won’t happen to us.” We think we are flood proof if we live in a flood area. I personally know many in New Orleans who always said growing up, “oh that dam will never break- we will never get a flood like that.” And I remember folks in Memphis saying “nah – we are not in a tornado zone- we will not be impacted.”
In any case, the firefighters arrived on scene and you can read more about at this site with photos but it was a great effort. I can see how if they are fighting a giant blaze that stretches miles and miles how difficult it can be and with wind and tough weather conditions, fighting a forest fire can be super tough. I genuinely have a new respect for firefighters and the work they do and this was what they considered a minor brush fire. I cannot even imagine a larger scale one where MAFFS are required or aircraft to drop flame retardant. Additionally, we are all safe and our property is too and from this we have learned it is time to be ready and get organized because you just never know… we have lived here 5 years and never experienced a brush fire in literally, our backyard but here we have it. ‘Tis better to be prepared and what a better wake up call than a small brush fire to do so.