My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, August 17, 2007

Little Goose Fire

Well, never thought I'd have something quite this dramatic (or even this mehitable!) to write about, at least not so soon after starting to blog! The photos tell the story better than words can, but here's some background...

This fire was started by lightning in a remote area of a canyon a few miles south of our place last Thursday night (Aug 9), but wasn't spotted till Friday morning about a half hour after I left with Willow to visit my mother in northern Montana for the weekend. So I didn't have a clue what calamity I was leaving behind in my rear view mirror, or what I'd be coming home to!

The fire got bad on Friday - BW could see the smoke from his route and thought he'd have to go home, and neighbors started packing up to evacuate. But then it cooled off, the winds calmed, that night there was a little rain, and skies were clear that evening and all day Saturday.

Sunday morning, however, the wind picked up and shifted so that it not only fanned the fire into an inferno, but blew it straight up and out of the canyon and over "Stumpy Ridge" right toward our subdivision. (Does it bear mentioning that the wind NEVER blows from that direction?!) BW called me that afternoon to tell me that there was a huge fireball visible from our kitchen window and the neighborhood had been ordered to evacuate immediately. He'd loaded Mocha in the trailer and the dogs and everything of value that he could think of and/or fit in the pickup truck, and drove to our friends Sue and Morris' house about six miles away, where he spent the next two nights. He boarded Josie and Tess at our vet's on Monday, the day I was supposed to have returned. Needless to say, I got almost no sleep that night and was in no shape to make the seven hour drive home the next day. So on Tuesday BW checked into a Sheridan motel and Willow and I met him there when we got back to town.

We were allowed to return home briefly that evening to gather a few more things and assess the damage. We had a mixed reaction of "It could have been worse" and "OMG." It was very surreal and disorienting, with so many trees gone, fence gone, the smoke and the charred landscape and the helicopters constantly flying overhead. There were some amazing heroics, especially by the local volunteer fire fighters - despite 40 mph winds and flames 15 feet high at our house on Sunday night! We lost almost all of our fence, a lot of landscaping and vegetation, and about half of our shop building (luckily not the half we recently stacked our hay in!), but don't seem to have any damage to the house. And though cabins and outbuildings burned, not a single home in our neighborhood was lost.

It was too smoky to stay here so we've been in the motel till this morning, when we checked out and I got Josie and Tess out of hock and came home. :-) (It's still smoky, so we'll see if we can stand to sleep here this weekend.) Jane Doe & Co. have yet to make an appearance at the house, but we've seen lots of does and fawns in the neighborhood areas untouched by fire (too far away to identify, though), and someone has been eating the food and drinking the water we've left out for them each night. Lots of birds, bunnies and chipmunks running around our place, so we're confident our wily wildlife came through this ordeal unscathed. (But I'll sure be glad to see Jane and her babies sauntering up our driveway again!)

9:07 p.m. update: Jane and her 3-year old daughter Sugar showed up for cookies a little while ago! They looked and acted no worse for the wear... just hungry (as always!) :-) Hope to see their babies soon!

Mocha's still happily (and indefinitely) ensconced at Sue and Morris' and we're still waiting for the claims adjuster and trying to round up contractors and cleaning people. Less than 24 hours after we were first allowed to go check out the destruction, BW was ordered back to work lest he be fired - no pun intended. >:-(

Anyway, here are some photos. Click on them to enlarge. (The ones of the fire were taken by various people from various perspectives and most were forwarded to me by friends, so I don't always know who the photographer was)...

fire cresting Stumpy Ridge
Below is our neighbor's place, Spahn's Bed & Breakfast, just up the hill to the southwest of us. The house, an outbuilding and a few trees were saved but they lost the guest cabins and a couple of garages along with most of the surrounding forest.

Spahn's Bed & Breakfast
(Photo by David Withrow)

(Photo by David Withrow)

A before & after:
Our house on July 11, 2007...

our house on 7/11/07
And on Aug 15, 2007...

our house on 8/15/07
I'll post some more "aftermath" photos as soon as I can.

1 comment:

Will Blog For Comments. :-)

Thanks for taking the time to leave yours!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...



  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

free counters