At 2:00 yesterday my 23 first graders began to back up after their first day of first grade only to see a HUGE plume of smoke in the air. We all knew it was a fire, and a large fire at that. What we didn’t know was how serious this blaze would become over the next 20 hours.
By 6:00 you could see flames on the hill top near my house. My husband and I immediately started to pack our valuables. We didn’t know if the wind was going to shift. We were scared, but we put on our brave faces and kept things happy for the kids. Logan and Kira knew there was a fire and that it was serious… but they were not scared.
This was a fast moving fire and within just a few short hours hundreds of people near me were asked to evacuate. We were put on pre-evacuation notice…but we never had to leave our home.
As the fire reached the tip of the mountain we all cheered for the DC-10 as he dropped retardant on the fire and stopped it from moving over the right side of the mountain.
The fire began to move again, but this time toward us! The DC-10 dropped another line of retardant and stopped it from coming down the mountain.
Many of my neighbors lined the streets as we all watched the mountain burn. Though we were all fearful of our homes being the next target for this terrifying fire, we were all discussing those who were evacuated. I know many families who actually live on that mountain, and they may not have a home any more.
As it grew darker, the mountain glowed red. My husband and I took turns watching the kids and watching the mountain burn. Afraid to go to bed, not knowing if the flames would start heading down the mountain, we stayed up with our neighbors.
Around 10:00 pm, the fire seemed to die down (or it moved further up the mountain). We decided to head to bed when we could only see two red dots on the mountain. Sleeping wasn’t easy for us. My husband woke up once and checked the mountain. I woke up several times and checked outside, checked Facebook, worried about my friends and my community.
All of the mountain schools have been canceled for today: Oakhurst Elementary School, Wasuma, OCI, and YHS.
This morning the mountain looks 100 times better, but looks can be deceiving.
According to the Fresno Bee, CalFire announced at 4 a.m. that the fire was still at 1,200 acres and containment was still at 0%!
• Resources: 469 personnel, 51 fire engines, 14 fire crews, 14 bulldozers, 8 helicopters.
• Injuries: 2 (one, a firefighter with an injured leg taken to Community Regional Medical Center; other unknown)
• Structures: 500 threatened, 8 damaged
Please think positive for my small community as many people have lost so much in the last 20 hours.
Mountain schools canceled for Tuesday, 8/19, and Wednesday, 8/20.