October of 2017 was a horrific month! On Sunday afternoon, October 8th, Steven picked up his mom from our Kaiser Hospital. It was a fight to get her home, but Steven got all the arrangements made and picked her up around 3pm. Our son Shamus, came by to help get her into the house and comfortable. The wind was really kicking up a mess but we settled in for the night…….
At 2am, Steven’s phone starts ringing in earnest. His co-workers were being evacuated due to a fire. They were calling us because our area was listed as an evacuation area too and they wanted to make sure we were okay. They knew the situation with his mom and were concerned. They all had family to stay with to ride out the storm, so to speak.
We made a pot of coffee, we were wide awake now! Stepping outside onto our back porch, the whole sky was bright freaking orange! We do not have cable, by choice, so we immediately turned on our local radio KSRO. There was not just one fire but a storm of fires all over Santa Rosa, Rincon Valley, Bennet Valley, Calistoga, Napa County………… Booting up the computer, to get a better idea of what was happening, Facebook was alive with activity and the pictures were horrific. Our hometown was under attack by a fire.
My Uncle, Niece, Nephew had evacuated safely! My cousin and his wife had evacuated safely. By this time our road was a parking lot of families evacuating to safety. Our neighbors had a yard filled with their family. The frenzy of hugging and tears as they assured themselves that they are all accounted for and safe now!
By now the news started to flood the media. Kaiser Hospital was frantically evacuating patients! Thank the Good Lord Steven had gotten his mom home!!! The fire had jumped the 6 lanes of Hwy 101 and was rapidly moving in our direction. As we sat on our porch, one by one, our children checked in. Having heard of the evacuation notices not too far from us they were worried. We were fine. As were assured them and calmed them down, the propane tanks 3 miles off and the Gun Store were engulfed with flames. The popping and percussion from the blasts were felt and heard.
All of nature had conspired to develop into a FIRESTORM. Residence reported the fire dancing on top of the ground, swirling and jumping from place to place. It was burning so furiously and unpredictably in no fewer than 10 locations now. Our gas was turned off by PG&E for safety. Steven contacted his cousin who works for Cal Fire at the command center. He told us to stay put, he would give us a 30 minute window if we needed to evacuate his mom. So we did what everyone around was doing…… loading up cars with essentials and hooked up to the trailer. We gathered his mom’s medical supplies and fervently prayed that we wouldn’t have to move her.
With his Mom on oxygen and it’s now 3am and we couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. We hurriedly turned on the air purifier we had bought a few month earlier for the dust created by the house construction next door. So thankful we had it, it kept the air clean for her. The ash was falling like snow, huge pieces of paper, leaves, and debris were everywhere. The neighborhood was now on watch for cinders catching our area on fire too. All we could do was sit and wait it out.
That was just our first 2 hours of the first day of this fire! Cyn