Wednesday, September 24, 2014

California Fires and a Little Town Called Weed

Oh my dear California, so dry you have been and beset by fires.

Cal Fire says they have answered at least 1000 more fire calls than usual by this time of year.  The KING fire, that is believed to be arson, started east of Sacramento on September 13th and is only 35 % contained as of today.  It has already hit over 90,000 acres.  Some news reports compare it to cities - it's said to be a wildfire bigger than the entire city of Las Vegas - to help us get a sense of how much terrain that is. There are fires near Yosemite too.  Another dear town that has suffered is Oakhurst.

On August 9th we set out to drive up into northern Idaho to a family wedding and a visit in the new home family had recently made there.  Our planned route to Idaho was up in the air for a few days as the most direct way via Highway 97, off Highway 5 at the town of Weed, was closed for while due to fire.  Fire was already on our minds as my brother's northern California ranch had a front row seat for the "Log Fire,"  one of the several blazes that got started from the July 29th dry lightening strikes.  It came very close, but the ranch itself is unscathed.

Out on Highway 97, the firefighters contained the flames and reopened the road, so we stuck to our original plan to go north to Weed and over on 97 instead of getting ourselves to Reno and then north into Idaho.
 That afternoon we stopped to rest and eat a bit in the shade of a tree outside the log cabin

that serves as the Weed, California visitor center.

A small part of a welcome sign mural

We had driven past Weed on Highway 5 many times, but never stopped before  We were charmed and heartened by our brief visit.

Our view from the town of Weed as we ate our carrot sticks and almond butter sandwiches.

Then we drove on out of Weed, but not without noticing what a fine little town it was. I wish I had taken more pictures.

 And as we headed out highway 97 we saw that fire had indeed swept through on both sides of the road.

Unfortunately little more than a month later, fire raged through the town of Weed on September 15th and the  town of 3000 took a very large hit.  They called it the Boles Fire.
News Photo

The people of Weed lost around 150 homes, their community center, their library, and several churches. The town mill was damaged, as was the elementary school.

You can imagine all  the efforts that are being made to rally round those burnt out of their homes...blankets and meals and money and somewhere to stay and the coming alongside with friendship, hope and energy.  It will be a long haul and hard.

  Life is full of reminders to count our blessings and check our priorities, isn't it?

I watched a video today on Cal Fire which first began serving in 1885.  I sure feel grateful for those who serve from Oregon to the southern border.  Thank you.


Pom Pom said...

Hello Jeannette! I feel so bad about the fires. So many suffering. I am so thankful for the fire fighters, too. Pretty photos of Weed!

DavidDavid said...

Oh, that is sad news about is one of my stops on the way to Tule Lake!

Haddock said...

Feel sad, especially so as California is the first state in the US that I stepped down on.

Neal said...

It is sad when these fires occur, especially the ones caused by humans. I know some of the water bombers our of B.C. have been down there working with the California fire fighters on the big ones. Neal