Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Strange feeling, to know that just six miles away there’s a
2500 3200 acre wildfire rampaging through the dry forest along the Middle Fork of the American River. We’re not in danger, but the fire’s presence is obvious in the veil of smoke hanging in the air, and in the frequent rumble of tanker planes overhead as they bank around to drop load after load of fire retardant.
And even though we know we’re not in danger, thanks to the prevailing winds and the remoteness of the canyons that are burning, we’re touched by a peculiar anxiety. You start to imagine the what ifs. You picture yourself packing up a few things to evacuate, dreading that coming-home scene where you find a black wasteland where your house used to stand.
It’s not going to happen this time, you tell yourself, but what about next time? And, in the night, when you smell the smoke seeping through the closed windows, your mind tricks you into thinking this could be the next time.
This is the closest we’ve ever been to a big fire. Californians know it happens, and they know someone loses everything each time one strikes. And each time you dodge one of these fierce metaphors, you count up your blessings and learn to take nothing for granted.