On Sunday, July 22, as we were getting ready to head home from church, Jake got a call from a friend, informing us that there were several fires in our area. The closest was about 2 miles North of our home, on the land where some dear friends and neighbors run their cattle in the summertime. As we got closer to our house that day, we could see a little smoke, but not much. We could see smoke in a couple of other places to the West of us, which soon disappeared. The smoke to the North also seemed to lessen that afternoon and we thought things were all taken care of. About 45 minutes later, I heard Caroline, who had been sitting by the kitchen window, say, "Moooooooooom??????" When I went to see what the matter was, we could see huge black billows of smoke that seemed to explode every few seconds as trees were taken out by a fire that seemed to be rushing toward us. I had already packed the car with our necessities. The men had cut firelines around our houses and filled buckets of water to prepare for the worst. We learned that the fire was still about the same distance and our good friend, who works as a firefighter for the Forest Service, paid us a visit late that night to let us know we were in no danger.
Monday morning was pretty smoky, but the helicopters and buckets were on the scene.
Monday evening, the smoke was pretty scary looking, but we were again told that the fire seemed to be moving East and West with the wind change, but was still the same distance from us. This is the view from our yard:
Tuesday morning, the smoke seemed less. Around noon, Clayton and Cooper and I headed to town for immunizations - leaving Caroline and Connor at the ranch with Jake. When prepared to return 4 hours later, this is what we saw from town - about 30 miles from our house:
From Highway 385, looking West probably about 15 miles from home:
From our back porch:
The wind had turned East and the fire had gotten away from the firefighters, raced out of the woods and up to the "top". I was stopped twice by deputies on my way home, as they were trying to keep as much unnecessary traffic as possible out of the area. As I drove towards my house, I could see that the fire was heading North East - away from our property. But it was heading toward friends and neighbors homes and had demolished the summer pasture for the friends I mentioned earlier. It was awe inspiring and frightening to watch the orange flames lick the prairie and see trees just burst into a bright glow as I drove. When I got home, I could still see huge flames shooting toward the sky as tree after tree was engulfed.
The wind changed West again, and fortunately, the fire turned into a burned out area from the fire we had in 2006. . Because of the limited vegetation as a result of that burn and also with the blessing of a little bit of a rain shower the fire slowed and they were finally able to get a handle on it. When Jake and I went to town later that evening and then returned, we couldn't even see flames, personnel or vehicles anywhere and we were told that by then, most of the firefighters had been able to finally go home. How grateful we are for those who spent countless hours away from their families, in unbearable heat and rough terrain and conditions to protect our homes in this area! And how grateful we are to Heavenly Father for hearing our prayers and protecting our home and all involved!