Monday, July 11, 2016

WIldfire at the Ranch

I love the 4th of July! We had grand plans; friends coming, bbq, decorations, peach pies in the oven, homemade ice cream and intentions to spend every inch of the day in the sun by the pool. Our friends the McKells and the Browns pulled in around the same time, I was finishing up the lattice crust on the second peach pie. We were just taking the chips and balloons out to the pool when somebody spotted smoke at the bottom of the canyon. My mom called my dad and confirmed, he told her to call 911. The boys+Mom and Brooke rushed into our car with water, shovels and rakes to fight the fire. I called 911 and sat tight up at the house. I wasn't really concerned, it was a ways from the house and we'd caught it early. Before long the fire trucks were there, and the sheriff and what I assume was the fire chief came up to the house to watch the fire. If they weren't telling us to evacuate I wasn't going to freak out. 
The next 10 minutes are a little hazy for me, what I think I remember is Nathan (who'd been talking to the firemen) telling me it was time to get the kids out. I rushed inside and told the moms and we started ushering the kids into the cars. The one clear thought I had was "Brooke would kill me if I left her cat here to die" luckily Moe was slinking around nearby so I snatched him up and threw him in the car with the girls. I'm so grateful my mom's keys were on the key ring by the door or I don't know if I would've been clear headed enough to search for them. I threw Watson in the back after he close-lined himself trying to jump in on his own, poor little guy, then ran down as fast as I could to the kennels to get my dad's dogs. I remember praying on the way down that Jill's chain would come off easily. 
I used to have a reoccurring dream as a child, I would be standing calmly on the porch in my childhood home while the sun turned red and fire fell from the sky. Creepy, yes, but as I looked up at a red sun and a sky completely black with smoke my first thought was that dream and it was terrifying. I ran back up the hill with the dogs, coughing from the smoke and having to carrying Lucy the rest of the way because she was too terrified to move. I got the dogs in the back to the sound of Tyson (the sheriff) screaming at me that there wasn't enough time for another dog and screeched out of the driveway. It was so black with smoke I wouldn't have been able to get out if I didn't have the sheriff's lights to follow. Flames leapt up the side of my car as I reached back to grab my crying girls and put them on my lap. As soon as we got out of the smoke the sheriff pulled over and had Caroline and her kids get in my car. Caroline cried and prayed and we sang the kids I Am a Child of God. Clara told me to go back to the smoke so she could "fight it with her (American) flag" she was very concerned about where Nana would live now. 
I think I pretty much held it together until I rounded the corner and saw Steve, he jumped in the car and I lost it. I thought there was no way the house would make it. 
Thank the high heavens my mom had no more patience for big lawns and lots of landscaping (her whole backyard is concrete) because that's probably the one thing that saved the house. Once the fire was contained we headed back up we found that what little landscaping she had was burned and the whole area around the house was black. It was a miracle. 
I'm grateful for the firefighters and all the land my dad has cleared that surely kept the fire from spreading further. I'm so grateful that Tyson was the sheriff on duty that day, he's an ol dfamily friend and I felt significantly safer and more assured with him there. I'm mostly grateful that nobody was hurt. I've been in some pretty tight scrapes around the ranch but evacuating the house like that was the closest I've felt to "close to the end". It was terrifying and I'm so glad it is over and all is well.

(arrow indicates the house)


  1. Oh my goodness Jessica! How scary! So grateful your parents home was saved and no one was hurt!

  2. Your Dad was wise to do all that brushing.

  3. Oh no! At first I thought there'd gonna be just a little fire. That was so scary! I am happy to know that no one got hurt and that the house is okay. Miracle for sure!

  4. So thankful no one was hurt and the fire was put out quickly! How positively terrifying! Wishing your family all the best


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