Yahoo!News updated information on the Fourmile Canyon fire, in its third day near Boulder, Colo.. The fire, which consumed 6,200 acres, is creating havoc . Emergency personnel, trying to contain the fire, are facing hordes of angry rattlesnakes, downed power lines, and highly combustible propane tanks. More than 3,500 residents were evacuated from approximately 1,000 homes. Four people who refused to leave and stayed to save their homes are missing. Consuming over 136 homes, this has now surpassed the Hayman Fire as Colorado’s most destructive fire.
On June 29, 2006, the entire populace in the state of Nevada took a small breath of relief: small because the state was burning. Fox News reported over 218 square miles had already burned in the still-active blazes, ranging from the California border east toward Utah. Here’s a list of what we faced that day:
Linehan fire, affecting Carson City area – 5,000 acres
Balls Canyon fire northwest of Reno, near Bordertown – 2,000 acres
Suzie fire, in eastern Nevada, 20% contained – 78,300 acres
Elburz fire, 10 miles northeast of Elko, being mopped up after burning 9,600 acres
Sneekee fire, 35 miles southwest of Elko, 50% contained – 7,200 acres
Poito fire, 12 miles southwest of Empire, Northwest Nevada, jumped Hwy 441 – 150 acres.
Sage fire, northwest of Lovelock, fully contained – 20,000 acres
North Antelope fire, southeast of Midas, burning out of control – 5,000 acres
Sherwood fire, southwest of Ely, about 15 miles north of ghost town Adaven, 70% contained- 7,700 acres
Desert National Wildlife Refuge, 50 miles north of Las Vegas, left to burn – 9,000 acres
Virginia fire, southwest of Fernley High School, not contained – 2,500 acres
At the time, I was living in Fernley, Nevada, and working in Reno, toward Carson City. Smoke was heavy in the air; people were cautioned to stay indoors with an air conditioner, when possible, as the filters would trap most of the soot and toxins. Northern Nevada is a home to many water coolers, also known as swamp coolers, as opposed to air conditioners. Those filters, which work with water, were hoarding the smoke and ash, and creating an unhealthy breathing environment for many without air conditioners. Malls, stores, and fast-food places, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, that had operational air conditioners, were very good about the sudden surge of window shoppers.
The wind caused the fires to shift direction without prior notice. Mountains, canyons, boulders, sagebrush, and sand impeded the progress of the firefighters. Teams fought with dedication and determination, pushing their tired minds and bodies to the limit; then started over. There was little rest; if one fire was contained, there were many more in need of crews and equipment. Residents started taking cases of bottled water for the firefighters to local collection sites.
Everywhere I looked, there was fire. A beautiful scene of mountains from the window in my office building showed smoke and flames. We parked in a defensive manner, with the front of the car facing the roadway. Radios were turned to all-news broadcasts of the fire situation, and newly threatened areas were announced to those who were affected.
My youngest was at home. She does not drive due to a severe visual problem. When the news came that the Virginia Fire had jumped out of control and was racing to the Fernley Raceway and Fernley High School, I contacted the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department and expressed my concern, as U.S. Hwy 80 was filled with emergency vehicles due to the different fires, and an announcement was made that normal traffic was closed into Fernley. The sheriff ‘s department made note of the situation and told me they would send someone there to get her to safety if the fire started to traverse the canal beyond the high school, which our small farm borders. I called to let her know, and told her to go outside and hose the house, outbuildings, yard and trees with water. The cats were in the house, ready to go if needed. She had the dogs on a run, in case they had to be rounded up. Our acquaintance on the other side of the road would move the livestock when he moved his. The most important papers were in a small, portable, “grab and run” fireproof safe to take, if needed. We each had packed a small case with clothing and a few things we wanted to save.
Earlier that week, we had done some serious fire protective measures, removing dry brush and leaves from around the yard and trimming dry branches. However, sagebrush and dry grasses range between our yard and the canal, so a fire, if it came, would burn swiftly. The wind was encouraging the flames to feed a little faster than usual; the rain was helpful, but not strong enough to put the fires out.
The animal shelter had a list of homes in unaffected areas that would accept displaced animals, and what size or type of animals were acceptable. Once our place was determined to be safe, we asked to be put on the animal hotel list. Luckier than some, while being placed on the same scale as most, we lost nothing. The entire state is fortunate to have survived the flames of 2006.
Third Age news staff, Fourmile Canyon Fire Destroys At Least 92 Buildings
Yahoo!News,Colorado Wildfire destroys more than 130 homes
Fox News, Wildfire-Weary Nevada Residents Get Help from Rain, Lower Temperatures
Jarid Shipley,Wednesday’s showers a welcome relief for firefighters