I realize it has been awhile since we last spoke/typed/conversed. We were without phone service for over two months and it was just restored last week. Without phone service, as in: the phone lines, power lines, and phone/power poles were burned and melted for a 15 mile radius. It took PG&E a few weeks to replace enough of the 500 burned poles to restore power and it took AT&T much longer, obviously, to get new lines up.
For anyone just stumbling upon this blog, our town was recently devastated by the Butte Fire, a more than 70,000 acre wildfire in Calaveras county, California. Over 530 homes were lost. That may or may not sound like a huge number, but in a rural area like ours, that number affects every single person.
I’ve been thinking about what to say about the fire. I honestly don’t have words for the fear and loss that everyone has suffered. Luckily our whole street (and our house) was left unscathed, but that’s all it was– luck. We had damages and animal losses and yet we are so incredibly thankful we are one of the few who still have a house to come home to. Our tiny town of Mountian Ranch was able to save our only general store, miniature post office, and two-pump gas station (all on the same block).
Yes, we survived. Our house is fine. We are fine. The night we evacuated (Happy Birthday me!) was very last second because the fire moved so fast. Everything was left behind, including all the birds. A friend was able to help us get the goats and sheep out before the roads were closed. We were evacuated and living in my parents living room 52 miles away for two weeks. The goats and sheep had to co-habitate in their small, fenced garden. While we were evacuated, we kept getting conflicting information so we didn’t know if our house was still there until we were allowed back in.
Our kitchen floor is a little wavy from the refrigerator defrosting and food leaking all over the floor. We lost half our turkeys and all of our newly hatched chickens to starvation, I’m sure. In an emergency situation like this, you don’t think about anything but your own life and how to escape. We only have three routes out of our neighborhood and two routes were on fire and moving fast. We could see flames coming over the hill as we left. I just can’t tell you how absolutely frightening it was.
But we are okay and are working to help our community members, neighbors, friends who lost everything. And we will probably be doing so for the foreseeable future. Rebuilding and recovering are hard work. If you want to help our area and Butte Fire victims, please do not donate to Red Cross. Email me and I can put you in touch with local non-profits so that your donation will go directly to our people.
Thank you all so much for your concern and prayers and thoughts and well wishes! It means so much to us that you care. Blessings to you all.