Seeing the effect that the fires had on my hometown was truly humbling. At the same time, I also got to see how our first responders deal with a lot more than we know.
On 8/19 I checked an early morning text wondering if we were affected by the fires. My first reaction was "Fires? What fires?"
In that same moment, after realizing the nixle updates were all over my phone, we jumped out of bed because the border of the fire was right near my in-laws house.
We arrived before the fire department were actually at the house. Looking to the hills you could see the border of the fire line coming down. The firefighters were spread out doing everything they could to fend off the impending fire looming just ahead. The area was being evacuated and in order to get to the house, we had to take one of the back streets that hadn't been blocked off yet.
When we arrived, we were doing everything we could to save the home first. This was a place full of memories. A lifetime of work and dreams that my wife's parents have prided themselves on. There was a ton of family there all working together to save their home.
People on the roof, people pulling water from the pool and everyone doing all they could. Across the intersection on the hill, large plumes of smoke could be seen from behind a house.... then in a huge cloud, you could see the smoke overtake the home as fire trucks rushed up to try to salvage the situation.
Meanwhile, back where we were, my brother in law was using a tractor to drag break lines around the property. Firefighters showed up since the fire had made it down the hill and was bearing down threatening to cross the street to us.
The flames jumped across the street.
A view of scorched earth through the wall of flames.
We cleared space for them to bring trucks up and secure a perimeter. At the same time, about 6 of us were at the fire line with shovels trying to break the spread. Its a truly humbling experience to see what these guys go through with wildfires.
Ultimately we were able to create enough of a stop with a ton of work to stop the fire from getting to the home.
This is just one story of many that fortunately had a positive ending. I know that a lot of people lost homes, loved ones and irreplaceable things. My heart goes out to each and everyone one of them.
If you, or someone you know has been affected by these fires and there's a service I can offer to help in some way, please reach out to me.