20140718-165145-60705761.jpgLOOKING FOR A FIGHT?
North Central Washington is ablaze tonight. Huge fires are reported at Lake Wenatchee, Twisp, and Pateros as I write. Air tankers fill the skies over our house. Union Valley, where we live, is only about ten miles from the Pateros fire’s edge and we’re on a level II evacuation notice. Local residents speak with the breathlessness of people living an emergency.

All yesterday we looked to the west at the towering smoke clouds rising from the Lake Wenatchee fire and we watched coverage of it on the evening news. But when I stepped outside for a minute before going to bed I noticed that the eastern sky was a frightening dark mass. “Hmm, I thought, must be quite a fire somewhere to the east.” Then I promptly lay down and went to sleep.  I doubt I would have slept so soundly had I known that cloud was Pateros gone up in smoke.

This morning we decided to clean the pine needles from the gutters and around the house even though we had just done that kind of work this May. Good thing we did. We have a pile of debris the size of a car for our efforts.

I’m not quite as worked up as some. For one thing, a strong wind has been blowing from the west all day and the Pateros fire is to our east. Nevertheless, we have the fifth wheel hooked up to the pickup and ready to head for the WalMart parking lot should the order to leave come. But I’m not leaving. Mary will drive to town. I’m staying to fight the fire. (see photo) I guess I don’t trust the fire fighters to defend our house with the same ardor as I will. That is if the firefighters ever arrive. With so many fires burning I suspect they may be stretched thin. With my metal roofing shield, paint respirator, ski goggles and garden hose I plan to defend this house in a way that would make the Spartans at Thermopylae proud. (Never mind that I’m holding the intake hose to my water pump in the photo. I do know which end is which.)