The Perfect Firestorm   Leave a comment

It was like the Perfect Storm.  All of the conditions were right for a really bad fire.  The temperature was high — 95.  The humidity was incredibly low — 1%.  The dew point was minus 8, an all time record. The Santa Ana wind was blowing from the southeast.  Most of all, there was a firebug on the prowl.  He must have been elated.

At first it was just an innocent-looking plume of white smoke, like the little fires before it.

nikonfire1 Then there was a puff of black, and the river bottom seemed to explode.

nikonfire2

When we could see the flames, we knew we were in trouble.

nikonfire3

It roared through the brush, closer and closer.

ipfire1

The trees can’t know they’re doomed.

ipfire2

About this time, the fire trucks started to arrive, and the owners and volunteers moving endangered horses, and plying hoses, buckets — whatever was handy. It seemed as though every fire truck in the county was there — city, county, even the BLM.  There was at least one other fire going, though, so I know they were stretching their limits.  I was too busy to get pictures of most of it.  We’ll be forever grateful to all the people who helped out.

Here, the lower pasture has started to go.  There were burning embers everywhere, starting fires in the pens.  Luckily manure fires burn slowly.

ipfire4

If you look closely in this shot, you can see the helicopter dropping water, in the smoke near the center of the picture.

ipfire3

By this time, the worst was past.  We came terribly close to losing the house; the patio cover actually caught, but the firefighters were on it.  We still have a home, thanks to them.

Tomorrow I’ll show some of the aftermath.

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Posted May 3, 2013 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Events, Kern River

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