Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Dump Fire

We flew back to California from Baltimore on Sunday and went right to our Claremont house from the airport to do a walk through with our renters. The next day we spent cleaning, painting and getting the house ready for our stuff to arrive. Tuesday the movers came and moved all our stuff in. By Wednesday both of our cars had arrived, and on Thursday we drove up to Salt Lake City to visit family.

As we were driving through the California and Nevada desert Julia remarked, "I can't tell if it's windy because there aren't any trees! Maybe the trees got broken and fell down." That's when I realized this Virginia girl who is used to having a million trees around had never been in a desert before.

As we were driving up to Utah I saw on my smartphone that my Dad had posted pictures on Facebook of a fire that had broken out in the hills above their home.

He took the pictures soon after the fire started, but as we drove up to their house later that night we could tell the fire had spread. I went to bed half thinking we might get a wake up call in the middle of the night to evacuate. Robert took these pictures late that night.

Morning came and we had not yet been evacuated. I slept in and woke up to find a very smokey outside. My mom wanted to take Julia for a walk, but we all told her it was way too smokey outside to be going for a walk. I went to get some breakfast, but before I could even get some syrup on my pancakes my brother Richard came in from outside and told us he had just talked to a Saratoga Springs firefighter who was going door to door telling everyone they were issuing a mandatory evacuation for everyone to get out ASAP. 

In the next twenty minutes everyone gathered the stuff that was most important to them. Most everyone packed an overnight back. Since we had just gotten there the night before all Robert and my stuff was still in bags so we just packed everything we brought back up into our car.  My Dad grabbed the important documents. My Mom packed up the pancake breakfast and snacks to go. My brother Chris grabbed all his electronics and my little brother Michael grabbed just his fishing pole. Soon, we were all out of the house. We knew the firefighters would do everything they could to stop the fire from getting closer to the homes, but there was still that small fear that maybe everything we left behind might be gone when we came back.

This is what it looked like as we were packing up and leaving. There was ash coming down on us and firefighters all over warning people to leave.

This is the video I took on my phone as we were leaving the subdivision. At first there was a long line of cars to get out since no one was directing traffic, but while we were in line a cop showed up and started getting things moving. I submitted my video to an online Utah news organization, who later told me the Weather Channel picked it up and would be playing the clip. I never saw it (or got a chance to even try to look for it), so I don't know if they ever used it or not.

What my parent's subdivision looked like as we were driving away. Their house is way at the top in all the smoke.

We decided to go to my grandparent's house since we had planned on visiting them that day anyway.While we were there I realized that we all smelled like smoke! So we spent the day there (and everyone took showers) until it was time to go to my cousin's Quince Años, which will be the topic of another post soon to come. That night they still had not lifted the evacuation order, so we spent the night with Robert's parents at a hotel room they had reserved since they were in town for Micah's blessing. This was all on Friday, and we were planning on having Micah's blessing on Sunday at my parent's house. Yeah, the place we were all evacuated from. So we were hoping they could get the fire under control soon so we could still have the blessing there and meanwhile brainstorming for other places we could have it.

The next morning they had still not lifted the evacuation orders, so Robert went golfing with my cousin Steven and then we hung out with their family for a while and then joined up with my family that afternoon. The city of Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain held a press conference at 5:00 pm that day and announced that everyone could now go back to their homes. Yay! My mom really did cheer. 

This is what the mountain looked like on Saturday, everything was burned.

This picture is from my brother later on that week after the fire was all out and they drove up to where it had been. The closest houses that you see there is my parent's subdivision, and they are right on the back side of it closest to the fire.

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