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19 August 2013 @ 07:29 pm
Real Life Stories Of Wild-Fires.  
So, here's a story about the Idaho forest fires, as told to me by my sister who heard it from my dad's nurse, who's daughter is the one that actually lived through it.

This woman and her husband were forced to flee the area, so they packed up and went. There were two main roads heading out of town which were suppose to be set up so that all lanes were diverting traffic outwards. But one of the roads was completely blocked from traffic of news-crews and gawkers trying to come in, so no one could get out that way. Which meant that the other road was a clusterfuck of traffic. My dad's nurse said that she got a phone call from her daughter, who previously had told her that they were headed to safety. When she answered the phone, her daughter was sobbing hysterically. She said the road was impassable with traffic, there was fire on either side of the highway closing in and the air was as black as night with smoke. She said, "Mom, Mom, we can't get out. I think we're going to die here. I love you, Mom, I love you." This is what the nurse thought was the last time she’d ever hear her daughter’s voice.

Obviously she wouldn’t have been telling this story to my sister if it had ended that way, but imagine getting that phone call from your child and being able to do nothing for her. Eventually the daughter called back to say that some people had gotten out of their car and started directing traffic, picking which vehicles to go next in what I can only picture as some bizarre real-life reverse version of Tetris. They'd were now at a displacement camp just outside of the danger area, where the daughter - a trained chef - was volunteering along with many other chefs & cooks to help feed the throngs of firefighters who were there putting their lives on the line. Unfortunately, there were also people dressed up in fake firefighter outfits, looting the cars at the camp. This particular woman's husband, along with several other people, all armed with shotguns, have taken up residence in their cars, in an effort to guard their and their neighbors' vehicles from being looted.

Also, because the roads are so impassable due to traffic, no large vehicles can get in or out. The area is full of farms that couldn't get their livestock out, so ranchers have taken to opening all the gates in the desperate hope that their animals will make it to safety, guided by their own instincts to flee. The animals would mostly be branded, so there is a small chance they may get some of them back, but more importantly is that the animals have a chance to survive this way. It seems all animals everywhere in the area are fleeing, as this woman’s husband saw a bear, up close and personal like.

I was wary of re-telling this story here, mostly because it's not my story to tell, but I also feel like this story is the kind of thing that needs to be told when we talk about these kinds of wildfires. Because this is what these people go through - when you hear of them packing their family photos into the car and leaving, it’s really just not that simple and I, for one, had never thought about it quite like this before.

As I was a little uncomfortable sharing someone else's story here, please do not repost this anywhere. Feel free to link to it, but no reposting of the text, for this woman's privacy who doesn't know her mother is sharing it with strangers who happen to have an internet blog. Thanks, guys.
Shirebound: Autumn - Annwyn55shirebound on August 20th, 2013 12:14 am (UTC)
That's quite a story, my friend, and I appreciate you sharing it.
dodger_sister: cowboydodger_sister on August 21st, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
You are very welcome. I thought of your brother while I was typing it up and I really wanted to share it with you in particular. I admit to tearing up while typing it out - it was just such a compelling story.
Ironlily - Making My Marque: buffysurlyvikingprincess on August 20th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
Being blocked into potential disaster by news crews just sort of sums up several issues in our country, doesn't it?

And the fake firefighters? I hope they DO get shot. Mother fucking bastards.

Obviously, a powerful story even fourth or fifth hand....
dodger_sister: cowboydodger_sister on August 21st, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
Being blocked into potential disaster by news crews just sort of sums up several issues in our country, doesn't it? And the fake firefighters? I hope they DO get shot. Mother fucking bastards.

You would think the fact that these people were most likely about to lose their home (and they did) would be enough of a tragedy, but then the asshats of society rise up and make it worse. /shakes head/

Obviously, a powerful story even fourth or fifth hand....

I figure even if it was a little exaggerated, (which it may or may not have been), it was still a pretty horrific thing to have happen to a person. It made me tear up, for damn sure.
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on August 22nd, 2013 02:09 am (UTC)
I could feel my heart rate rising as I read your account. Why are some people so awful, and others so awesome?
Kate: Charles+Raven-here to hold youceitfianna on August 20th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
That's a scary but important story. Thank you for sharing it. Fires are much scarier than people realize. *leans on*

I still remember so clearly the one I went through in New Zealand.
dodger_sister: cowboydodger_sister on August 21st, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC)
That's a scary but important story.

I feel like people don't really think too much about the details of having this happen to a person, but when you hear it like this, from a terrified mother, it really hits you. More people should be telling their stories, this is the kind of thing we need to hear about as well.

I still remember so clearly the one I went through in New Zealand.

I didn't know you were in a fire in NZ.. /hugs you close/
Kate: Wellingtonceitfianna on August 21st, 2013 08:02 pm (UTC)
I've read some powerful articles about people who've gone through fires or firefighters which helps to ground it.

Oh yes, it was long before I knew you. My last year in New Zealand I was living in an apartment building that everyone living in it attended my university. First four floors were undergrads and then then other nine floors were international students and graduate students. I lived on the twelfth floor, it was a good place to be. Two weeks before I was to go back to the US, a student lit a fire in the bottom of an elevator shaft. We were all woken up and hurried out of bed around 3:30 am, so I had just gotten myself into bed. As I left my room, I saw smoke in the hallway. We waited in a church community center next door before they let us up to get the basics we would need. We were then sent to a different dorm before we could get the rest of our stuff. Since I was moving out, I was allowed to collect all my stuff but they had us do it in stages since the building was still pretty ashy. Everything had a thin sheen of ash on it but the sprinklers only went off on the lower floors as that's where the fire was. I don't think there was any major structural damage but I lived in another place for my last two weeks. It was strange and terrifying and whenever I think about fires, it comes back to me.

It happened in February 2008 I think if you go back in my journal's archives. It was all very surreal.
dodger_sister: cowboydodger_sister on August 21st, 2013 11:27 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, that's sound terrifying. To be woken up like that and actually see the smoke in the hall and everything. Your adrenline had to racheted up a few notches for sure. Now that you mention it, I remember you saying you had to live some place else for two weeks right before you moved out, but I don't think I ever got that it was because of a fire.

How's your week going? Are your parents off for their trip yet?

Kate: Jane thoughts consume meceitfianna on August 21st, 2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
It was and it still comes back to me at odd times.

My week's going okay, my parents left on Friday so I've been on my own since then. I've been slowly getting things done, paying bills, moving my life to Delaware. The movers showed up on Saturday and were not prepared for resort traffic so it all took longer than expected. They hoped to arrive at noon, ended up arriving at 2:30 then there was trouble getting their truck into the unloading area of the storage place. When they got going it went quickly and done. Since then I've been kind of lazy, I sent some emails I've been meaning to but haven't gotten back into full job searching mode yet.

Today sucked as I woke up from a bad dream about having to deal with my old work and helping a replacement. But no one would listen to me or believe me when I told them things. Then I tried to return my Comcast stuff here and they said I couldn't, so that still has to be done. Tomorrow I'm going to have lunch with the local children's librarian who's a friend and mentor of mine and see if I can help out at the library. I'm also trying to sort out seeing some friends in the area and a trip to New York for a thing with my New Zealand university.

Stuff's happening just slowly and that's okay. Its nice to not feel this push of must get a job, must get this and this done. My parents completely support me taking a breath and being in their place is already helping. I can walk to places to eat, I can work at my computer in the back garden. The only downside is they don't have cable but they have an Apple TV and Netflix so that works.
dodger_sister: cowboydodger_sister on August 22nd, 2013 12:08 am (UTC)
Today sucked as I woke up from a bad dream about having to deal with my old work and helping a replacement. But no one would listen to me or believe me when I told them things.

Ugh, no. You are out of there, it shouldn't still be haunting you! I hope it doesn't turn into the thing you dream about whenever you have a stress dream, like I still dream about junior high school and no one will believe me that I graduated high school years ago!

But other than that, it all sounds pretty good. Nice and easy going and some good decompressing time, which is sorely what you need. I think it's great that your parents are giving you a chance for that and not being overly pressure-y just yet.

(J came in the room while I was reading this comment and said, "Oh! How is she? Tell her I said 'hi'!")

Pippin was very excited today and came and sat in front of me with a toy mouse in his mouth and then chewed the tail off it for me to see and then did his 'hunter's' howl for five minutes. He thinks he is so tough but it was just adorable instead!
Kate: Blair and Serena smilingceitfianna on August 22nd, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
I know but its like a bad relationship, its going to take time to be completely rid of it. My stress dreams have always been school related, this just adds a new twist to them.

It is good and I think it helps a lot that I'm the youngest. All of my older siblings have had points where their plans didn't quite work out and they came home for a bit. My parents know this is only a pause and how awful this past year was.

*waves at J* Aww, Pippin, he's so silly.