I love looking out of my office or sewing room windows to watch the changing beauty of this long ridge. So you can imagine my distress when I got up to close the windows and saw this!
I'd smelled smoke in the night but wrote it off as lingering from Friday afternoon's lightening fire up on the mountain just north of Maple Mountain (that is behind our house) that was put out very quickly with water dropping helicopters.
Apparently teenagers playing with fireworks, in an unauthorized area, started this blaze just one street west from us at about 2 am. Fortunately, they were smart enough to call 911 when they realized what they'd done! (Poor stupid kids! I'd ask them what they were thinking, but obviously... THEY WEREN'T!) Folks who live up on the mountain-proper got a wake up knock at about 4 am telling them to be ready to evacuate.
I can't say enough about all of the many people who sped into action to save the many homes that are located on the foot of this mountain! There was a perfectly choreographed team of workers who got this fire under control.
This big orange dragonfly-looking helicopter was my favorite!
They set up a staging area just down at the high school for all of the responding agencies. They had a portable pool, about the same size as an above-ground pool, where the helicopters would hover and refill their water tanks.
When this fellow opened his *bombardier doors* a huge waterfall would plummet to the ground, dousing the fire. It frequently looked like water shot out of a cannon.
Then there was this dashing little fellow! He was much more methodical. He would circle around and hover over the hot spot then let go. I observed that he had the ability to release all or part of the load.
As soon as the water was dropped he was right back into high gear and speeding away for another fill-up. I didn't realize until I looked at the photos on my computer that he had this cool paint job on his 'copter! I love how he flies so fast that his paint is dripping!
Many of the neighbors brought out their lawn chairs to a shady spot to watch the show. One group even had a pizza party! Finally this little guy joined the fray.
He had the same kind of upside-down-badminton-birdie shaped bucket.
This pano from my sitting spot belies the size and scope of MY mountain and the fire. Each of the peaks has a small ridge with a canyon on the other side. The fire burned up the draw to the left of the middle peak and around the back of the mountain. You can see the red line of fire retardant that was dropped while I was driving (hence, no photos!) It was so interesting. I watched the duo of tiny spotter plane and huge tanker making repeated drops. The spotter plane would fly first and drop a marker (of water?) that the tanker would use as his drop area.
I just heard on the local news that the fire has burned to 145 acres and is 15% contained. This call was a little too close for comfort.
Thank you again to all of the people, in the air and on the ground, who responded to this fire.