We're back in the house now, but some of our neighbors had fire 30 feet from their homes.
Channel 2 did a live broadcast with me.
We grabbed my laptop, and the cat--and the cat, in panic, sunk his claws into my inner lip, and refused to let go. We set up at the vista point 1 1/2 miles away on the new highway, along with the various television crews.
Fire retardant air strikes from surprisingly small planes:
Of course, there was the retardant orange afterwards:
And yes, for those of us who are very sharp-eyed--that's an Israeli flag flying from my neighbor the electrician's home.
Lots of air traffic to deal with the fire:
Looking rather like a large and dangerous insect, you can see one of the four helicopters carrying its water bucket:
Here's one of the other choppers, after having dumped its load:
I don't think there were any injuries, but probably in case there was a need, our volunteer fire department rolled the ambulance.
Our neighbors' homes saved at the last minute:
One of the choppers carrying his bucket in front of our house.
I've never been close to catch pictures of the water bucket dumps before, and it's awesome! It must be even awesome on the ground. My neighbor Chuck was using his hose, trying to save his house when suddenly...he was soaked. This might have been the drop, since they were dropping on his house with this one:
Here's a sequence that really captures how dramatic this is:
Fire suppression involves reducing temperature, eliminating fuel, or preventing oxygen. A water drop does two of the three pretty effectively. Watching one of these dumps onto a fire turn into steam is very gratifying. Here's a great dump:
And here's a sequence that I think almost everyone can appreciate:
UPDATE: A reminder that it is an ill wind indeed that does not produce a positive benefit for someone. I started talking to someone who owns a nearby parcel, but who has never built a house on it because he couldn't find adequate water. This led me to discuss the very successful methodology that I used to place our well. (Successful: I said we would hit water at 120 feet; instead, it was 127 feet.) At this point he asked me, "What do you do for a living?" "Software engineer." It turns out that he runs a company that writes mobile app software. One thing led to another, and he gave me his email address to send a resume.
UPDATE 2: Not terribly surprising: our land line service is out.