In this town when you see the flashing red lights of the forest service in your rear view mirror that’s when you start to worry.
Good thing I drive an all wheel drive SUV. I yanked my Subaru into what may have qualified as a dirt turnout; all kinds of dogs yelping and flying over each other in the back of my car (Okay, maybe there were just two, but it always feels like I have a herd of mutts back there) The green forest ranger truck went flying past me, easily doing sixty in a forty five zone and I thought, shit, not again.
Our last big forest fire was in 2007 and our local residents don’t forget. We don’t forget our friends and neighbors houses burning to the ground. We don’t forget the charred remains left over in the forest for years. We had a sad reminder in our backyards, abandoned fire hoses left behind, in some of the yards that they did save. Even now, eight years later we hike through the forest that burned almost ten years ago and its a desolate wasteland in places and it’s so sad when you remember the pine trees that used to fill this forest.
Once I established that the dogs were okay (They are fine; they fall over a lot when I drive, especially being that it’s in winding mountain roads) we continued back home. I kind of forgot about the fire truck and didn’t even tell me boyfriend about it.
Ten minutes later I was getting out of the shower all I could hear were sirens. It sounded like every fire truck in Big Bear was flying by our house. Something bad was happening out there. The winds had been gusting and blowing hard all day; which is weird for a summer day in June. If there was a fire, this was the absolute worst day for it to happen.
By the time I came outside to talk to my boyfriend and our neighbor the news had made Facebook. There was a ten acre fire at Jenk’s Lake, where I hike a few times a week. By the time we went to bed that night the fire was at one hundred acres. By the time we woke up the next morning it was at a thousand. Now mid afternoon it’s at ten thousand acres. It’s unbelievably hot today and the wind is till howling. If it wasn’t for the wind it would be a glorious summer day; maybe a great day to go out on the lake. The view from the lake dosnt make the smoke look so bad, but when you off road behind that mountain ridge you can see the entire San Gorgonio Wilderness going up in smoke on the other side. Wildfires in California and the western states are not uncommon. Click here to see why this is more the case here than in the East.