"Thank You" Banner
The call came in at 1:30pm, from a neighbor - "Get out! There's a fire across the road. Get out, now!!"
Fire crews were already on-site and others were being dispatched from nearby communities. Moments later, the air tankers and helicopters began arriving in a synchronized force - many with water, some dropping pinkish-red fire retardant; all working non-stop. Not unexpectedly, the power went out.
We could see (and hear) the ground crews working to put out the hot spots as several areas continued to smolder. Bulldozers were on the ridge line, blading a firebreak to protect a cell tower, and to keep the fire from returning to our side of that ridge. After dark, the eerie glow of helmet lanterns could be seen as the crews climbed up the hillside - they worked with chainsaws and shovels throughout the night.
Every couple of hours, we would turn on our generator to help keep food in the refrigerator and freezer from thawing. We read by flashlight, reminisced about the last fire that came through that same hillside, the steepness of the terrain and how different it was not to have an engine unit stationed on our property. We went to bed but awoke every hour to check the hillside for any ember's glow.
Day 2: The fire crews were blessed with a cool morning fog.
The power was out and the roads remained closed, with a voluntary evacuation still in place. Then, we heard that the fire hadn't grown much more and was 60% contained - great progress!
I wanted to be sure that we had some way to thank everyone that had worked so hard to contain the fire. I try to do a bit of sewing on the weekends so I pulled out some fabric from my stash, found an old sheet and cut out strips of colorful fabric to spell out "THANK YOU".
Without power, I was unable to iron the fabric. I pinned strips in place and manually worked my sewing machine. At one point, we turned on the generator and I was able to do some real sewing. It was a slow but heartfelt effort. My husband fashioned long staples out of wire hangers and we anchored the banner to the hillside for the departing crews to see.
The fire is now 80% contained and there are 343 fire personnel nearby - 15 fire engines with 16 crews. We know the crews will soon head home. We are grateful for their commitment to getting the job done, keeping the fire contained so it didn't spread out of control, and especially working so hard to keep us all safe.
THANK YOU for your heroic efforts in getting the fire contained, in setting up roadblocks during the fire then opening the roads when it was safe, to the law enforcement teams making periodic visits to confirm that we were aware of the fire and that we felt safe, to the crews that restored our power, to our neighbors for their initial call and to family, friends and co-workers that checked in to offer assistance, a place to stay and moral support. THANK YOU so much!
Day 3: An update shows the fire is 95% contained with 55 fire personnel and 5 fire engines on-site.
Day 4: 100% Contained!
What a heartfelt and meaningful way to express your thanks; you've got to know how much that cheerful message of gratitude meant to those tireless fire-fighting heroes! Debra 2/9/2018
You cannot imagine our grateful tears, Debra, as we used it again a few weeks later, after the October 2017 Atlas Peak fire. Thankfully, our home was spared.
How scary! We once had to evacuate our home because our neighbor had fallen asleep while cooking. His home caught on fire and the fire department was worried about the smoke and possibility of our home catching on fire. Thankfully, the neighbor was OK and we were OK. Glad you are safe! Kelleyn 8/312017
Thank you for your good thoughts, Kelleyn. How frightening to be evacuated due to a neighbor falling asleep while cooking. We are currently under a Red Flag Warning (for the next two days) with hot, dry weather and strong northerly winds.