Friday, July 14, 2006

Wildfires And Mountain Living...

Click on photo to enlarge

We've had several phone calls & e-mails from friends concerned about the ongoing wildfires near us, and wondering if Big Bear is being evacuated again, so I thought I'd post this photo taken today, at 2:59 P.M. The photo was taken about a half-mile northwest of our house, which is back in those trees, just below the little yellow asterisk I placed there.

The smoke column rising from the Millard Complex Fire looks quite ominous here looming over Big Bear Valley, but the wind is actually blowing toward the fire from my vantage point there at the east end of the Stanfield Marsh, and keeping it from moving into our area.

The most recent news I heard was that the Sawtooth and Millard fires had merged creating something like a 20 mile long front of flames, and that the two fires, now combined, have consumed a total of nearly 65,000 acres, 45 homes, and another 100+ outbuildings, mostly in the high desert to the east of us.

At its closest point, the fire is now about 8 miles east of the valley, and as long as the prevailing westerly winds continue blowing we should be OK here, but you never know, nature is always unpredictable.

We're somewhat accustomed to impending disaster though, having lived on the edge, in fire, flood, and earthquake country all of our lives, so this is just another of those semi-regular events.

It seems to me that almost any place one lives these days is prone to some sort of disaster; landslides, hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, gang violence, industrial chemical spills, terrorist attacks, war, floods, famine, fires, and earthquakes, so I guess we'll just stick with what we know.

In the early 1980s, Peggy and I stood side by side, by ourselves with a fire hose & nozzle, wet towels wrapped around our heads (a tip from the fire department that loaned us the hose), and flames all around, burning within a few yards of us, as we watered down and saved our friends home in Malibu Canyon, where were living at the time. And that's just one of several disasters we've lived through.

In the '60s, during one of Topanga Canyon's devastating floods, the house I lived in was buried by a landslide just seconds after I ran out the door, and the house we live in now survived the big '92 earthquake, structurally intact, but we sure had a mess to clean up inside, everything was upside down and broken.

So, if this fire does turn around and move in on us, you might find Peggy, Dallas, and I sitting out in the middle of the lake with a ringside seat and a cheap bottle of wine.

But Alas!

Poor Dallas is a teetotaler...

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Blogger David Edward said...

thank god for good info available online. I am not worried yet even though I live way east (shay) but the sky is a disgusting color. praying for the firefighters.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

I was wondering about you. Thanks for the update.

Best wishes


5:53 PM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

Wishing you the best of luck, Jim. It seems early in the season for fires, but that's what you've got. Thanks for keeping us posted. I hope the winds blow the way you need them to.

7:32 PM  
Blogger David Houser said...

The flames were licking at the freeway as I drove to LA last week, and we can see the effects in the sky here in Las Vegas now. Hope the winds keep that beast at bay.

And if it comes to it, dogs like beer - not wine.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Madcap said...

I'm glad you folks are alright, I hope everyone else is too. We had a forest fire creep very close a couple of summers ago, and it's pretty nervewracking. Not to mention hard on the pulmonarias.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Lené Gary said...

What a great attitude, Jim. Thanks for including the photographs. Hope you don't end up in the water except from a spontaneous urge to swim and sip wine. :)

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Dallas, indeed. But if the three of you ever find yourself homeless, come to Kansas City. I have a spare bedroom waiting for you.

4:59 AM  
Blogger Zebigleb said...

Very nice pictures on your blog
I really enloy it
Have a nice day

10:35 AM  
Blogger Norene Griffin said...

i know you have a good head on your shoulders when it comes to fires, so i tend not to worry about you too much, but i do check the news reports. i hope the wind keeps doing what you need it to do. as usual, you've taken a beautiful photo. i love the way you captured the sky half blue and half smoky sullen. what i really want to know is, what is that yellow star shape?

1:20 PM  
Blogger Birsen Şahin said...

I hope the wind fulfill your wishes my friend.

I pray for you and your family.

God bless you.

Pls keep me informed.

1:47 PM  
Blogger David Edward said...

doing OK, jim?
I have a car to lend if we get evacuated - its a throw away - no reg tags - just drive it and drop it where ever you end up, In an Urgency it would do.... bless you

6:11 PM  
Blogger sonia a. mascaro said...

Wishing you and Peggy a good luck!
I agree with you, there is no safe place, indeed. Your attitude is very courageous! Have a nice Sunday!

6:48 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

That is an eerie picture. Wildfire danger is pretty high here in Minnesota right now, and I think there is one fire burning in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, but we got some rain last night so that helped things in the immediate area. I live not too far from the historic Hinckley fire of 1894, which from all accounts was an amazing firestorm.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from England.My daughter Jo told me about your blog when we were discussing the pictures that we'd seen on the news.Do keep us informed .It's worrying when you know someone in the middle of a news story like this.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for updating. Wishing you the best of luck in all matters; hoping Dallas stays safe, too.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Sandy Hatcher-Wallace said...

I'm hoping that you two are safe along with Dallas and that the fire has been contained and your home is not being threatened.

I'm wondering if the first david's comments are not my step-brother's comments. He spoke of driving in LA with the flames lapping the highway and seeing the smoke of the fire in Las Vegas also.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

update- I saw the haze from the Boundary Waters fire this morning as I looked out across the swamp. It doubled in size overnight I guess, but they were still optimistic that a prescribed-burn firebreak would keep it from spreading. We'll see.

7:59 PM  
Blogger David Edward said...

check out my link, jim

12:42 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks everyone, so far the weather has been cooperating with the firefighters to keep the fire away from Big Bear.

Life is going on as usual, all roads are still open, and this past weekend the town was full (and I mean FULL), of tourists up here to get out of the triple digit heat down below.

Saturday, Peggy and I rode our bicycles around the lake again, but there's no pictures because I forgot to put the SD Card back in my camera, and, Sunday afternoon, we went dancing to the blues of 'The Jimmy Reid Project' at 'The Roadhouse' in Sugarloaf.


That yellow star is just an asterisk I added to the picture in Photoshop to show the approximate location of our house.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Birsen Şahin said...

Glad to hear from you.

Wish you all the best.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Norene Griffin said...

if i had read every word of your post i wouldn't have had to ask!

5:37 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

Glad to read that you're doing okay. I read your comments on Norene's blog with much interest, and I'll be linking up to you.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Guess your life has been pretty exciting. I haven't stopped to read here for a while. Still amazes me how your pictures are like paintings...even with the journalistic theme.

4:16 AM  
Blogger dragonfly183 said...

That is a really good picture jim. I'm glad you guys are safe.

Pablo you and i are goingto argue about where Jim goes if he has to leave. I have a spare room too Jim, lol.

5:46 AM  

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