Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A (Rather Far Off) View To A Wildfire

I didn't take many photos. I didn't get any the first few days because: (1) the fire was not as close as the last one, so we thought we wouldn't be affected AND (2) when we were evacuated, we were sure it would only be for a day at most. I finally got my head about me around Wednesday and started snapping a few pictures.

It is hard to be prepared for the views that sometimes catch you by surprise...especially when you are driving. Thank goodness for my trusty iPhone. I think most of my pictures were taken on it.

The Riley Road Fire: Taken from 362 around Howell Road at 11 AM on 9/7/11
 Our home is located roughly two and half to three miles from where this picture is taken just to the left of the tallest tree.  A little too close for comfort.  Things looked to be coming under control when I snapped this picture as we were going on our daily recon mission.  But it wouldn't stay that way for long.

Riley Road Fire Spreads To 1488: Photo taken from Joseph and Rice Road around 3 pm
This photo was taken from roughly two miles away from the new flare up...but our home is no where near this end of the fires.
 We were going to check on the neighborhood as we went to pick Will up from school when the south end of the fire flared up in just moments.  It was a scary sight as just after I took this picture a school bus rounded that curve!

Riley Road Fire: 9/7/11 at around 10 PM
This is the view of the fire at night from roughly the same place as the first picture was taken.
Things were looking very promising as we returned to the neighborhood on Thursday morning.
Riley Road Fire: 9/8/11
Photo taken from 362 near Howell Road
As you can see, the smoke plume was no longer black but a white color.  We REALLY, REALLY thought that we would be able to go back home within the next 24 hours at this point.  But, as was the pattern of this fire...the mornings looked calm but the afternoons found higher wind speeds and flare ups that lasted into the night.

Riley Road Fire: 9/8/11 afternoon
This picture was taken at 362 looking down Reids Prairie...the street into our neighborhood.
 Things were not looking so good for the home team here.  The smoke was horrendous.  We couldn't even tell where the fires were because we couldn't see the plumes.  Our home is about three miles down this road.  And did you notice the 'Burn Ban' sign under the speed limit?  Yeah, someone needs to tell this wildfire that!

The smoke at our house on 9/8/11 (the game cam date is off by one day)
It is hard to see in the game cam picture alone...but when you look at the prior photos you can really tell how smoky it was at our house that day.  BUT look at that nice cool 67 degree temperature!  Too bad we missed all of those beautiful fall-like days worrying about a wildfire.  It is now back in triple digits!
Riley Road Fire: Photo taken from the Waller City Limits on 9/9/11
This is what it looked liked from our hotel.
Still quite a bit of smoke on Friday...but we were just sure that they would be letting us back in within 24 hours!

Not quite, but we were able to go home Sunday evening at 5 pm.  Someone was very wise and turned off our air conditioning before heading out the door.  Jim or I neither one can remember doing it...maybe Derrick did.  All I know is that because of that the smell of smoke is very faint inside our home.  Thank goodness!

It took us until this morning to get the house cooled back down...but it was so worth it!!!

This last picture is from my drive into work on Monday morning.  I found myself in this military convoy of about ten trucks hauling heavy equipment.

Military Equipment being moved out on 9/12/11.
You can still see the haze in the air...but what a wonderful sight to know that the heavy work is completed and that we are now on the downhill side of these forest fires! 

We aren't totally out of the woods yet, but we get closer with each passing hour.  This thing had so many names...The Magnolia Fire, The Tri-County Fire, The Riley Road Fire...it seemed like a mythical hydra for a little while, they would stop it here and three more would break out there.  We are thrilled to be home but we know that so many of our neighbors are still in limbo or worse yet, suffering loss.  Please continue to keep this area in your prayers!

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Always just talking of the whole area, so relieved for the containment and homes saved and family finding homes. PTL... Prayers for all the people out there a terrible experience to go through.