June 2008
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Winner Best Literary Fiction Blog - 2008
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Fires in Northern California

The last two days have been an exercise in faith and anxiety. My husband and I reside in Northern California – Shasta County…where 154 fires are currently raging due to lightening strikes this past Saturday. We have been on high alert to evacuate our home in the mountains just east of Redding, California in Shingletown due to a 475 acre fire burning about 3/4 of a mile from our home. The smoke filled air is claustrophobic and except for the drone of the planes and beat of the helicopters, there is no sound. No birds. No wind whispering in the pines. In the last 24 hours we have had two “threats” where we thought we would be evacuated immediately. Our cars are packed; our trailer is hooked to the jeep and ready for some antiques if the need arises. I’ve selected a dozen books to take with me – and photos and important documents and the hard drive of my computer, and some needlework I have crafted. For 24 hours we had no power. Luckily that was restored about 12:30 AM last night. I alternate between extreme anxiety to feeling optimistic and faithful to the skill of the firefighters.

Updates on the fires are not good here. We are relying mostly on our scanner for the most recent information. To get a sense of what is happening, you can read our local news here. We are most concerned about the Shingletown Ridge Fire, but the Bear Creek Fire (now called the Kirkman Fire) is also a concern as it is a mere 20 miles directly west of us and is at 2400 acres and no containment.

I will be hopefully able to update my blog today and catch up on emails and my Google Reader…but, my concentration is not so great right now and so if I am quiet for a time, you will know why.

Prayers for all residents of Northern California, especially those being evacuated and living in fear of losing their homes is appreciated. We are hearing that the Governor may be sending us National Guard units to prop up our fire crews…and I hope that happens. Some fires which are currently not threatening homes are being allowed to burn unchecked due to a lack of resources.


  1. Eva Eva
    June 24, 2008    

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts, and I hope everything turns out ok.

  2. June 24, 2008    

    Best of luck to you. We went through something similar last October in Southern California, but never had to get as close to evacuating as you are. I know it’s nerve-wracking.

  3. June 24, 2008    

    Oh my stay safe and I hope the fires pass you by

  4. June 24, 2008    

    I’ll be thinking of you and your animals. I hope your house stays out of it!

  5. June 24, 2008    

    All good thoughts and blessings and prayers with you and yours Wendy.

  6. June 24, 2008    

    Oh my goodness! I’ll be thinking of you and keeping my fingers crossed!

  7. June 24, 2008    

    Eva, Florinda, Mrs. S., Lisa, Terri and Julie: Thank you all for your good thoughts. It is definitely nerve-wracking.

  8. June 24, 2008    

    I am glad you made a blog update because I have been wondering about you. As you know, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I can imagine a little bit what you’re doing through because of our crazy hurricane season – and the fear of evacuation and losing one’s home. I hope your fires get contained and things can return to normal for you.

    All the best,

  9. June 24, 2008    

    Thanks Jill. I will probably post an update to the Novel Challenges group later today. I am getting very mentally exhausted…the fear and anxiety take a toll after a while.

  10. J J
    June 24, 2008    

    Wow, how scarey. It’s smokey here, but no immediate danger. I hope the firefighters are able to keep the fires a good distance AWAY from your home.

  11. June 24, 2008    

    Sounds very scary! You’ll definitely be in my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe!

  12. June 24, 2008    

    J and Megan: yes, very scary! Thanks for your good thoughts.

  13. June 24, 2008    

    I will definitely keep you in my thoughts in the days to come. Thanks for the link to the Redding paper. I read through a few articles and now plan to call a friend who’s folks live in Red Bluff. Did I tell you I used to live there? From about 1968-1972. We also lived in Gridley.

    Be safe!

  14. June 24, 2008    

    Hold tight and be safe. My thoughts are with you.

  15. June 25, 2008    

    Wendy, I am thinking of you. I hope everything will turn out okay. Stay safe!

  16. June 25, 2008    

    When I heard about these fires, I wondered if they were close to you. We avoided the floods – here’s hoping you are as lucky with the flames.

  17. June 25, 2008    

    Les: Thanks. I remember you telling me you lived in Red Bluff. As far as I know Red Bluff is doing okay – although other parts of Tehama County are also struggling with fires.

    Kate and Myrthe: Thank you so much.

    Cheryl: I was glad to hear you stayed out of the floods. These fires are terrifying. I’m up early this morning (5:00am) because my chimes woke me…usually that is soothing, but today all I could think of is “wind” which is not something I want to think of with these fires. I’m waiting for the morning news to get an update.

  18. June 25, 2008    

    Wendy! I didn’t even realize that the fires are close to you! I’ll keep you in my thoughts…I won’t be able to forget about you now, ’cause all the smoke has put a permanent haze on the sky here in Santa Rosa. 🙁

  19. June 25, 2008    

    I’m just reading your story, I gonna hope that you’ll be safe and spared evacuation. Your story tugs at my heart and I’m going to keep you and your family in my prayers.

  20. June 25, 2008    

    Trish: Yup, they are really too close for comfort. The good news is that they are getting a handle on the ones close to our home and we are starting to feel a bit more relaxed.

    Rhonda: Thank you so much for your kind words. It is looking like now we will not be evacuated…and for that I am feeling very blessed.

  21. June 25, 2008    

    I have been following your updates in the challenge group, Wendy, and I do hope that the firefighters are able to gain more control of the fire that is heading your way. I have never had one as close as you have right now, but I do know how frightening fires closing in can be.

  22. June 26, 2008    

    Thanks WendyCat…it is very frightening. We are keeping an eye on the weather. The latest predictions are scary…winds picking up and become stronger in the ridge areas (which would describe our area perfectly).

  23. kelly (weaver) Baker kelly (weaver) Baker
    June 28, 2008    

    Hey I grew up in Redding, my parents and brothers are still there. I am now in Utah just wanted to say you requested prayer we will send as many as we can in your behalf and those who are also in need. Keep the faith, stay strong and now there are those who are with you in thought and prayer.

  24. June 30, 2008    

    Kelly: I hope your parents are safe from the fires. Thank you so much for your prayers. The two fires which were threatening us have now been 100% contained, so we are feeling much better now. But, there are many who are still in danger!

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