July through September, 2020

On September 4 we got a text from Claire that included a picture of a small plume of smoke near the “M” (a large letter M on the west mountainside at the entrance to the canyon). We went outside to see the plume had grown to be visible over our side (east) of the canyon wall. While the fire was on the west side of the ridge, we knew it was less than 3 miles away and could move fast if it got over the ridge into the canyon. We started collecting things to take with us, watching the smoke over the ridge grow more ominous. Firemen stopped by and commented that our house would be easy to defend. We left when we could see flames on the ridge top starting to descend onto our side of the ridge and into the canyon. We started to take Claire's dog as we left, but Claire arrived and took over evacuation of the Carriage House.

Our preferred evacuation vehicle is our little RV. We camped that night in a friend's driveway on the west side of the ridge and safely away from the fire. The next morning (September 5) we were informed we could return to our house for a short time. The fire had not progressed very far down our side of the ridge and it was looking like the air tankers and helicopters were getting the fire under control. Firefighters again dropped by and told us to be out of the canyon by noon because the wind would be picking up. We quickly gathered up more “valuables” and retired to our friend's driveway for a short rest. At about 1pm we went to Arthur's house for lunch. As we drove we could look back to the west side of the ridge and see a mushroom cloud of smoke looming over it. The fire on the west side had been mostly extinguished; all the smoke was from the fire raging on our side. The wind was now pushing the fire up the canyon, toward our house, at a furious rate.

Where: 45.702747N 111.02022W Facing: SE