Fire 1 Darren Reese

Since the last time I posted, we’ve had a forest fire on the mountain. Our house is on the other side of that ridge. A man who lives nearby took the picture.

About 8:30 last Wednesday night, our neighbor called and asked if we’d looked outside. When we walked out onto our deck, we could see flames leaping into the air just south of us. It was sickening. 

We spent the next day and a half wondering how far into our property the fire was going to burn, how many trees it would take with it, and whether or not it would reach the house.

The volunteer firefighters who stationed themselves between us and the fire will have a piece of my heart forever. They came as soon as the fire was called in, and they stayed all through the first night and up until the fire was contained the next night. They literally put themselves between the fire and our house. Their presence was the only thing that made Wednesday night bearable as we sat and watched the flames get closer and closer. We later found out that the winds blowing the fire in our direction had been as high as 50 miles per hour. For awhile it felt like we didn’t stand a chance.

We had to wait until daylight for the state and federal forest service people to be able to start doing their thing. Our house was the closest structure to the blaze, so all the different agencies set up their command post in our front yard. 

Fire 3

They brought in bulldozers and sent crews out into the woods on foot to dig fire trenches and try to slow down the fire’s progress. I wanted to hug every single person who came to help us.

Fire 6

They finally started to get the upper hand on Thursday evening.

Fire 12

By that time we’d moved all of our “important possessions” to my father’s house a few miles away, and the only thing left to evacuate was our animals and ourselves.

I’m telling you about this because, for one thing, I can’t imagine keeping something so significant out of the blog. Some of you are friends and already know what’s happened, but others of you are people I’ve come to know through our interaction here and on your blogs, and it would be weird not to tell you about it. My focus is knitting, but the blog is also about community. The other reason for this post is that the blog serves as a record of some of what’s going on in my life these days, and this was huge.

Here’s how things looked on Friday.

After Fire 2

After Fire 4

Despite appearances, the forest service people tell us that, at least on our property, most of what burned was already dead—underbrush and dead trees that just hadn’t fallen. They say that once the still smoldering sections go out, the forest should start to recover, may actually use the fire’s effects to its advantage. That would be good. We were very, very lucky.

It’s taken us until now to start to get back into a normal routine. After the panic and fear subsided, Paul and I were both overcome by a crazy exhaustion that left us limp. I didn’t even knit. 

After Fire 16


  1. Jay

    This is not to trivialize what happened to you or the forest but there are trees like the pines that need the fire to regrow. The pine cones don’t release their seed until the first gets so hot that it expands and the seed comes out. So even though mother nature destroyed some of the forest, in another couple years it will be even more beautiful. Regardless, I’m glad you’re both safe.

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