Yesterday was a morning like any other. We sat on the back deck with our coffee, figured out what we were going to do for the day, and then I came in to write my blog. I had just finished when my husband remarked, “Do you smell smoke?”
We are ever vigilant here, particularly in the summer months when fire danger is high. Running out onto the back deck we scanned the horizon, and sure enough, right down the road there was smoke. My husband jumped into the car to investigate. He came back two minutes later running into the house yelling, “Call 911!”
I grabbed the phone and relayed the information to the operator, giving them the address, which was two houses down and across the street from us. There was a camper on fire and it was traveling out into the brush. They got on this right away, and we soon heard sirens.
I grabbed my camera and went out on our back deck where I snapped this photo.
From our back deck
My heart was pounding and I felt very shaky. I went up the driveway and looked down the street. This shot shows you how close this was to us. The distance is about 900 feet, or to really give you perspective, about the length of three football fields.
From our driveway
Our neighbors down the street were hosing down their front yards. No one was home at the property on fire. Two of the neighbors went over there and removed the horses and brought them to a neighbors house behind the fire. The fellow there and his neighbor were busy hosing down their properties. Our volunteer group cordoned off the street to divert traffic in front and to the sides of fire. The sirens kept coming.
I went down the street a bit and took this photos from in front of our neighbors house.
The sound of the fire was loud. I could hear it crackling as brush went up in flames. The smoke coming up thickened.
The smoke thickens
I watched as the flames shot up a digger pine. Then we started hearing explosions, seven in all.
We hear explosions and the color of the smoke changes
At this point we went and got everything ready in case we had to evacuate our home. This involved getting the dog’s ramp so we could get him into the car, and finding the two cat carriers. We also had to gather together important papers. I headed back outside and up to the street. This time I brought the video camera. Here is a short film of this event. The sound on the film is that of the fire.
The fire was put out in about an hour and a half. A nerve wracking hour and a half mind you! Later in the day after the fire fighters left, I went down the street and took the following photos of the devastation. You might see these photos and the details better if you click on the photo to isolate it and then click on it again to enlarge it. I did not go on to the property but took these photos from the street.
The charred remains of the camper
Up close to the charred remains
Another charred area
Here is the same tree which I saw go up in flames. It is amazing to me that only half of the tree burned.
Half of this tree is burnt
Hoses were left behind in case this flared up again.
Hoses left behind
We were lucky this time. Lucky in the fact that there was no wind. Lucky to have such a quick response by our fire department. Lucky that two other fire stations came to help. And, lucky that we smelled the smoke and reported it. Lucky that another neighbor driving by called this in as well.
What started this fire? The camper had an electrical cord running to it and there was propane in the unit. Conjecture is that there was a short in the cord and leakage on the propane, which is an explosive combination. We will find out later, more likely next week when the community is holding an emergency evacuation meeting.
Again, our thanks go out to Mosquito Station 75 and their crew as well as to those volunteers who coordinated quickly enough to keep us all safe!
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