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
(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
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
#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:
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.