• Andy and Family

Watching the fire maps and alerts while preparing for evacuation

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

We live in SOU's family housing units. My mother-in-law was in town for the weekend and was leaving Tuesday morning. We had planned for a labor day trip to Hyatt lake but paused because the gas station clerk said there was a fire up north of Hyatt (Grizzly Creek fire). On labor day night smoke filled into Ashland and our cat kept waking us up, we think because she was smelling the smoke and was alert.

On Tuesday morning my mother-in-law left before sunrise. I was working from home and actually monitoring the Grizzly Creek fire when I received a text message from a graduate school cohort member. She was asking about the local fires and I assured her that the Grizzly Creek was being worked towards containment. Then my nixle alert system messaged be about the Almeda fire.

We prepared for evacuation, we were four minutes from where the fire started. We could see the smoke rising in the west as winds thrashed the trees outside our apartment. Our dog was alert and cautiously followed us around the apartment, watching us pack our camping gear but confused because we were anxious. For the next several hours we watched the alert systems and text messaged friends, family, and my cohort members to stay in contact and maintain a sense of connection that was shaken. Even though 40mph winds worked around outside the complex, it felt really quiet and ominous for our neighbors north west of Ashland.

We communicated with friends living in Talent and Phoenix. They were able to evacuate. We waited and worried and watched the fire maps and alerts with our car packed, comforting our three year old son, hoping that everyone west was able to get out of the fires path. The sky was oddly clear outside our apartment the night of the fire, winds still blowing. It didn't matter though, our hearts were heavy in preparation for the short and devastating fire season to come, thinking and hoping everyone was okay, unable to know for sure.

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