The First Fire   2 comments

I had just gotten off the phone when Billy looked up and said, “There’s a fire downriver.”  He was right.

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It had actually died down a bit by the time I got out with my camera.  The first flames must have been forty feet high.  It didn’t take long to build up again, though.

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We called 911 and tried to report it, but everyone else in Oildale must have been doing the same.  There was no chance of getting through.  Meanwhile, it continued to grow.  The fire department, and a helicopter, had arrived.

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It looked more dramatic yet as dusk deepened.  People were arriving, eager to help, but there was nothing that needed to be done.  The line of stalls down there was not in danger, because the wind was out of the north.  We don’t normally have a problem unless the wind’s from the south.  (It seems strange to talk about a normal fire, but there have been many of them over the years.  Only the one May before last was a danger to the stables, because it was set during a Santa Ana.)

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Flares kept roaring up as it hit patches of dry vegetation.

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It began to die down as night deepened, but the fire crews worked on it until about two-thirty this morning.  We gave up and went to bed about one o’clock, though.

The next morning, I was returning from a shopping trip and spotted smoke in the river.  It had flared up again.  In this shot, you can see our fire crew — David and Christina, on the big tractors.  They were ready to cut a firebreak, if necessary.  Luckily, the fire department had things well in hand.  The news called it a second fire, but we’d bet it was a flare-up of the first one.

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I couldn’t help but wonder, trying to get through to 911 yesterday, what would have happened if someone had been trying to report a different fire.  Or a crime.  I think next time we’ll stay off the phone, unless it’s something no one else can see.  There are so many cell phones out there, we don’t have to worry about reporting it ourselves.  At least when it’s something this spectacular.

I titled this entry, “The First Fire”, because it will be.  There’s been enough rain to bring on lots of vegetation, but not enough to keep it alive.  I imagine Kern County, and all of the West, will see many wildfires this season.


Posted March 28, 2015 by stablewoman in Events

2 responses to “The First Fire

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  1. Wow. Those flames are huge. Thank goodness everyone is OK.

  2. It looked scary, but we knew the winds were carrying it away from us. Not like the big fire!

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