Butler Fire & Why I Never Show Bravado


Above: Photo of heli-attack picking up water near the Big Bear Dam during the Butler Fire…courtesy of So Cal Mountains

I’ve been dreading this fire season because the whole backside of Fawnskin has not burned in a long time, and well, now it is. I had figured it was just a matter of time.

Anyway, I like being on the ranch but I’d rather be home. I tend to not dismiss fire danger–especially wildfire. Not only do I have fire fighters in the family but something you all probably don’t know is that I was at the forefront of the animal disaster preparedness movement. I would rather error on the side of caution because I have been there on the clean up and recovery and it is heartbreaking. I prefer NOT to be a victim who remains.

People who spout bravado usually have not lived through a disaster. Last night at the Serenity Place Gallery reception a local told me she would just stick around if the fire hit and park by the lake. How naive.

I have to say you better think about your family and friends if they do call for evacuation–and like the guy knocking on doors of those who decided to stay during the last threat said–think about being identified by your dental records. You better make sure that your things are in order–like a will and how you want your body to be handled, just in case.

Anyway, it took me longer to make calls to people rather than to leave the house. All those important papers and records are in two boxes. The laptop and such goes into a bag and those clothes that I thought I should pack to have ready to go last week–well, they are still in the laundry. So, I threw a few things in and left anyway.

All in all it was a half and hour–too long. If you don’t have such things packed I would suggest you do it now. If you do have to leave and have animals, take them with you because you usually will not be allowed back in.

Was I too apprehensive? Maybe, but I’d rather be wrong and at ease than stick around and then have to hassle all the traffic and stress. We shall see. When I saw the smoke coming over Gray’s Peak I didn’t think it was foolish–especially with all the visitors up here this weekend.

Many visitors began leaving shortly after the Butler Fire was announced which is sad for the economy here. However, just as many seem to have made the commute up and were unwilling to turn around just based on the long drive to get up here.

AM/PM always has a bunch of interesting tourist stories if you are ever interested.

BTW: I think I would begin getting concerned when they stop allowing people up into the area.

In case you didn’t hear, Gray’s Peak was evacuated last night. I just heard that Pine Flats has a spot fire now too.

Today the containment was reported to have moved from 5% to 15% which is better–but not good enough. I am optimistic but cautious. My office work is easy to do from anywhere since I moved everything to laptop last year. Good thinking because during the last evac it was a hassle to load up the computer and related work stuff.

Anyway, dangers from fire not only include the smoke, because it make breathing tough, but also the heat generated from the fire can do some damage as the temperature can heighten drastically.

Back to the local bravado, it got me thinking and got others to share some stories. One was of one guy who stayed behind in another area hit by fire. He figured he could jump in his pool to cool down–when he did he was scalded. So getting into the water–well it probably is not a good idea. Also, fire uses large amounts of oxygen to burn and can suck it out of the area. Unless you have oxygen tanks don’t plan on breathing easily.

So, I am here enjoying all my animal nieces and nephews and planning on doing some work without having to lose focus. I am pretty confident things will proceed well but I am not one to take chances with wildfire.

My buddy, who is one of my three evacuation plan options, called to tell me to come on down but I am going to wait before relocating off the mountain.

You can read more about fire storms and wildfires here



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3 Responses to “Butler Fire & Why I Never Show Bravado

  • 1
    G.G.
    September 2nd, 2007 08:35

    Just a note, there are always conflicting reports on fires. I am still seeing the 5% containment on most of them.

  • 2
    Anonymous
    September 2nd, 2007 20:37

    Goodness—you sound so panicked and negative. Of course, we all know that there is risk from fire, and all locals know that we should have things prepared. You sound like you are a bit unnerved over all this. REALLY UNNERVED. Relax, know what you have to do “in case of”, but don’t get yourself all worked up over it!

  • 3
    G.G.
    September 3rd, 2007 06:56

    Panicked and negative? How about trying to get a message across to those who are not prepared at all. If I was panicked I would have left the valley.