Monday, June 16, 2008

Martin Fire Fallout Update

The whole renegade thing of driving between barriers? I intended to be neither brave nor defiant at the time.

Let me make a few things clear from my previous post:

#1) I totally understand the need for police barricades to secure an area which is unsafe to enter.
What I do not understand is how it is safe to let these residents pass the barrier on foot - each with a personal justifiable cause to reach their homes - without escort or reassurance that their children [grammas, cats, dogs, chickens, ponies, photos, laptops, etc etc - I lump them all together because they were treated, in this case, equally] would be safely removed from the blaze. It was an oversight and I am treating it as such. I have been a part of this community for seventeen years. I will not drive away from my community when it is on fire. Unless I really, really have to. Unless we are on fire.

#2)I totally understand the need to keep the roadways clear for the many dozens of emergency vehicles.
I never once blocked the road with my tiny car. I pulled over for ANY and ALL official vehicles. I used the back roads whenever possible (seventeen years, people - I know all the roads) to stay out of their way. I bow down to the firefighters, and I did nearly just that. When I was 'allowed' to drive around the mountain again, I stopped to thank as many firefighters as I could.

I would also like to point out that neither I, nor anyone else at all would ever even think of blocking the major roads on our mountain. That is, except for one local woman who is indebted to me forever for not outing her lucky enough to remain nameless (JJ), who literally BLOCKED the main route off of the mountain with her GINORMIGON horse trailer while she CHATTED with a friend, causing elderly neighbors trapped behind her to panic in their own packed cars with the fire within view, when she so very easily COULD have pulled into a clearing just 100 feet ahead. But did not. For an eternity.
(It may have been seven minutes - definitely more than five. But this is an eternity when you are trying to evacuate an entire rural area which is ON FIRE.)
(OH HAI STOOPID WOOMMIN. U R N my revenge nightmares. Oh, did I mention PTSD? I think I've already said too much.)

#3)My family was never put in grave danger by our decision to stay at our home.
I would never put my children in danger. They were in the car immediately following the laptop before anything else at all. They were never in danger of their lives, not once in the whole ordeal. This is why we were able to help people. And this is why we were able to stay at home later on. We have a view spot (ten minute walk away) which is higher than many of the fire lookouts that were posted. We could tell if the danger increased.
Also, we have far more than just one way off of the mountain. While we live in a remote area, there are many veins to take us down or up and over and off of this mountain. Rest assured, we know them all. All except for one were open for exit.

#4) I am both flattered and afraid of the truth of my most favorite commentary on this whole thing by a friend to date, suggesting that I am: 'an antiestablishment gal to the bone'.

#5) The hot firefighters: I did not touch one of them inappropriately while hugging them in thanks. NO, not even ONCE.

#6) I still get choked up when I see the signs. Today I drove up and over the hill on my way to the bank. I counted twenty three thank-you signs in just four miles. I hope to have time to photograph some more of them before we head out on our mini-vacation (more on that later; I got distracted by the ransacking) on Wednesday. Oy.

So, a few weeks ago, this road by our house looked like this:

Today it looked like this:

Last week, our favorite hiking spot looked like this:

Then we watched it go up in flames:

And then, poof! there goes the ecological preserve (sob):

Driving through the burned site today:

My favorite, but still eerie picture, of the burn line. Ashes in the air, the red burned madrone* manzanita (see below), and the blissful green of the treeline:

*Edited to add: The red skeletal trees you see are a very rare manzanita (not madrone). This ecological preserve was home to the beautiful and endangered silver leaf manzanita, now even more endangered.


Lin said...

I try and take comfort in the fact that occasional fires are'supposed' to be normal occurrences for our mountains, and I'm assuming yours too. That fire stimulates growth and recharging of the soils and native plants, but ohmygod it is a hard thing to do. Just looking at these very familiar pictures of devastation reminds me of the mountains around me last fall.

And as far as the beautiful Pacific Madrone goes...and here's a quote..."Although drought tolerant and relatively fast growing, the Pacific Madrone is currently declining throughout most of its range. One likely cause is fire control: under natural conditions, the madrone depends on intermittent naturally occurring fires to reduce the conifer overstory."

Here's to your future even more beautiful mountain.

L xoxo

furiousBall said...

i'm just happy you and your short people made it ok. the shots you took are really cool, the before and after difference is jaw dropping

furiousBall said...

i'm just happy you and your short people made it ok. the shots you took are really cool, the before and after difference is jaw dropping

nakedjen said...

your pictures just made my heart break. i was just there with you. i'm grateful for that.

we know how very dear that whole mountain is to my heart. and soul. i carry it all with me.

i am grateful that your family is okay. so very grateful.

and i know bonny doon will also rise from the ashes. more beautiful and magnificent than before.

Cindy said...

#4. Yeah--we knew that. :)

Jenk said...

I'm glad to know you were able to help people. I'm happy for your community that they are able to go back home and that their homes were safe.

But, I totally don't believe #5.

gwendomama said...

#4. i guess so, hadn't really thought of it that way before...
#5. they were REALLY hot.

Lunasea said...

Oh man. I can't even imagine. So glad everyone's OK, but geez. I love those mountains.

Denise said...

Love u G!