Tuesday afternoon and it’s HOT.
So hot, in fact, that when we got home from our summer movie, I had the kids get out the kiddie pool and fill it up with cold water.
It was their idea to put the chickens in the pool, not mine.
They didn’t all enjoy the water, but I think it did cool them down a bit. And it got the kids outside to play in the water, as well.
But when I looked to the East, I saw something that alarmed me.
And by the look of it, that fire was not too far away.
I got onto facebook to see if anyone near me knew where that fire was, and a friend in Alpine told me the fire had just started in the Alpine Cove area, which is about 4 miles Northeast of our house. And I heard the sirens. Lots and lots of sirens going by.
Within minutes, the fire was huge, with the smoke going higher and higher in the sky. Within an hour, it looked like a volcano was erupting.
Most of the kids had seen the smoke earlier, but were inside watching tv in the cool of the air-conditioned house, and didn’t know that the fire was raging out of control mere miles from our house. I brought them outside to look at the smoke, and that freaked them out a bit. By then I was tuned into a live webcast for the news and was keeping on eye on facebook and the KSL news website. They were evacuating people.
(not my picture)
Because the fire had spread QUICKLY up the mountain, and it’s rugged and rocky terrain, they were using helicopters and planes to fight this fire. The constant sound of the helicopters was both comforting and frightening at the same time.
(also not my picture, but one I saw on the news. Amazing!)
Our neighborhood emergency captain saw me outside and said that we were to be on alert. “Get your bags ready,” he said. So, without starting a panic, I got the bags ready. I pulled out the emergency 72 hour bags and told the kids to find their bag and go through it. They each checked the clothes in their bags and realized that those clothes would probably not do them any good. Cole had a pair of size 10/12 pants in there. Really? It can’t have been 5 years since we put those together! I KNOW we checked them about a year ago. Megan couldn’t even find her bag, so I told her to not panic and just go find a duffel bag upstairs (they were still out from girl’s camp the week before) and put some clothes into it. I remained calm, although about then, I sent a text to Ryan and asked him if he was perhaps coming home.
People I know were being evacuated, even people who used to be in our ward. While the winds were moving the fire up the mountain, they were afraid that the winds would shift during the night and bring the fire back down the hill, or help it spread south.
(not my picture)
As night came, we felt mostly safe, but still worried what the change of the winds would bring. When it was dark it was shocking how much of the flames and the fire you could see.
(not my picture)
In the morning, we woke to the smell of smoke, but not overpoweringly strong. It was the fourth of July! We felt safe leaving our home and going off to our planned activities, which included the tiniest neighborhood parade and a big pancake breakfast with my parents. After that, we came home quickly and then went to a family gathering with Ryan’s family. When we drove past the high school, I was shocked to see ALL the firefighters and the camp set up there at the headquarters. Trailers, tents, and many many cars. It was like a huge family reunion of firefighters and National Guard had set up at Lone Peak.
When we came home, the helicopters were still going, fighting that fire.
That night, instead of watching fireworks, we watched the fire. It was eerie. Fireworks have been banned in Highland and Alpine for now, and we didn’t really want to go too far away, so we watched fireworks in other cities from the back yard and watched the fire.
The next day–it rained. What a blessing and an answer to prayers. It rained for most of the day, giving the firefighters a real break in containing that fire. It also cooled everything down and gave our poor lawns a drink. I wish it would rain like that every week, but we will be happy with that one day of rain, at least.
So for our 4th of July celebration, we were celebrating our freedom and counting our many many blessings. We are so thankful for the firefighters who sacrifice so much to keep us safe. We are thankful for neighbors who pull together in times of crisis, and we are thankful for the rain.