Day before yesterday, we had thunderheads building up. The rain skirted us, but we spent much of the late afternoon and early evening watching lightning hitting beyond the ridge to the north of us.
But thunderstorms this time of year are a serious cause for concern, especially during the kind of heat wave we’ve been experiencing over the last two weeks. I wasn’t altogether surprised to see helicopter activity the following day, toting a bag for dipping water out of lakes.
I got online and searched for Idaho wildfires, and saw there was a small and (thank God!) under control fire about ten miles to the north of us. Worth watching, but not an immediate threat.
Not ten minutes later, we got a phone call from an old and dear neighbor from our last home, asking if we were okay and how close was the fire? We told him what we knew, and that we were fine.
As it turns out, our old neighbor almost…wasn’t.
It seems on Wednesday, a spark from a train that passes below his house caught the terrain on fire, and it came roaring uphill. What followed was a hellish chaos as neighbors evacuated and firefighters took control. The fire burned up 20 acres of timber – tall mature standing timber – on the parcel of land next to him, but by the grace of God the firefighters were able to stop the flames before they burned any buildings, so our neighbors’ homes are intact.
Just like that, our old neighborhood was nearly obliterated. Three times in my life, we’ve nearly lost our home to wildfires. They terrify me.
This Independence Day weekend, lots of people will be doing lots of things with lots of fireworks. Please, I beg you, if you’re in the dry west, be sensible. The heroic firefighters who saved our old neighborhood don’t need or want any more work.
Meanwhile, our neighbor’s harrowing experience put a flame under us (bad pun, sorry) to pull together the bug-out bags we disassembled during the chaotic months we were moving. We need to make sure we have copies of important documents, contact information for friends and family, pet accouterments, and supplies to get us through several days with a reasonable amount of dignity.
After all, we never know when a wildfire (or earthquake) could take it all away.
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