Wednesday (05/22): The days have sort of run together. It is hard to keep to a normal work schedule with the frequent breaks to talk to various fire personnel.
The residual smoke has given me a wicked headache and I can’t imagine a job where breathing in smoke is normal. Actually I can’t imagine a job fighting fires. I never considered myself particularly afraid of fire until the Escondida fire of 2016, but the sight of those flames on Monday really scared me. I have always respected the job firefighters did but my respect jumped several levels during the 2016 fire. Happily (if that is a suitable word) the fire crews this week did not disappoint. The initial responders were my local volunteer fire department and I am, again, very thankful for their dedication to the community. Fire crews from BLM and the Forestry Department also responded and everyone worked together to do a wonderful job of containment. Three days later I still have crews on the ground ensuring that the hot spots don’t flare up again in our high winds.
The fire investigators have come and gone and a report on the fire’s cause will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. I’ve been told crews will be on the property through Friday finishing up. The few trees that didn’t fall but which are obviously dead are being cut down and ash piles are being raked.
Bulldozers are still at work (this is where one of the fire breaks was bulldozed) and the fire crews will be on the ground through Friday.
The gates to the driveway are intact but unable to be used at this point. The railroad tie used as a gate post on the north gate burned and I’m not sure how the gate is still standing. (Oddly, on the south gate, the railroad tie holding the gate did not burn but the corresponding tie in the brace, probably 18 inches apart, also burned to the ground.)
You may notice that while some of the baling twine is still intact, other pieces melted and small bits are stuck to the metal.