"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Friday, July 25, 2014

Smoke, Fire & Ash

Placerville, CA

When you live in California where we do, it's not earthquakes that scare you, it's wildfires.  We live in the mountains with forests and wilderness all around us.  Being careless can be disastrous.  A whiff of smoke, especially when it's 100 outside and very dry, brings a little panic.  That's exactly what happened as we were just a day from leaving.  We had to return home to take care of some last minute details and were almost on our way back out.

Soon the smoke settled in and ash started falling.

Two days before we were to leave a vehicle had driven over some very dry vegetation which set off a fire.  It quickly spread to 4000 acres in a couple of days.  The sky was darkening and ash had been falling like snow. 

The fire branched off and spread rapidly.  This is the ridge below
 our property.  You could see the fire glowing.
Helicopters bringing water.

It was about 20 miles south of us but once it burned to less than 10 miles and was heading our way, it made us very nervous.  The winds changed directions and we could see it burning over the ridge. They were doing evacuations, but not in our area.  We have the house empty and the trailer packed as we've been fulltime for 2 weeks, but the ranch is not sold yet and we hate to leave with a wildfire growing and only 20% containment.  One of our sons is staying to keep an eye on the place and another was there for the weekend.  They know to listen to the fire reports and to head to the grandparents if they need to.  Plus my brother lives at the other end of the road so they have support if they need it.  We stayed until late that afternoon, but it was difficult to go.

 -- I had a really cool video from someone in the area of a DC10 dropping fire retardant flying right overhead, but no matter what I tried, I could not upload it, sorry. --

As of this writing, July 30th, it is expected to be fully contained soon and some of our friends that were evacuated have been allowed to return.  Thankfully only some homes and outbuildings were destroyed and no lives were lost as far as I know.  We are a large agricultural county and there are many small and large ranches that had to have livestock that have had to be evacuated too.  So touching to see how your community comes together to help each other out during times like this.  Now we can exhale and enjoy the coming days!

The view looking down towards Placerville as we head
towards Lake Tahoe, CA from Hwy 50.

It was nice to be out of the smoke and on our way.  During this 45 minute drive I received 2 calls saying, "Hey, I think we just passed you!"  How funny.  There is a short tunnel that goes around Lake Tahoe called Cave Rock.  We weren't sure of the height so we stopped at the Zephyr Lake campground to ask.  Not a problem, the truckers use it.  So we are on our way to Salt Lake City to do some genealogy.

Beautiful Lake Tahoe (from the web)


  1. I know exactly how you feel. We watched the skies for years, I was never afraid for myself, and stuff is just stuff, but I worried what it would do the the marketability of our property if a fire came thru or even just too close. We both know fire is a natural event, an it can do some good things in the very long range, but not in my backyard!

    Hope you are having fun on the road.

  2. We aren't actually in the woods but we are definitely surrounded by them and we keep a close eye out for smoke of any kind. It's really dry and there are so many idiots out there. Glad the fire is contained and your place is safe. Have fun heading for Salt Lake. Don't forget - you can drive out on the salt flats - lots of fun.

  3. Hi Debbie, I finally got caught up on your blog. I really enjoy reading about your adventures. Fire in the woods!!! Scary Stuff. Glad you got to hit the road and get out of dodge. I hope it is all contained by now. Safe travels.

    Peace, Michele

  4. Glad y'all are safe and out of the Danger Zone.

  5. Salt Lake City and some genealogy. I would love to go there. It is a bucket list event for me. Safe travels.


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