Good Story #1 – Paradise, CA area

Here is the first good news story I saw about the Paradise, CA wildfire.  I think this story touches me so much since this could have been my mom.  My mom wasn’t driving the last few years she lived in the Paradise, CA area.

Expect to smile before you get to the end of the story.–500800521.html

Later – Heather







Paradise, CA update

This is a totally written from my heart post.  Please bare with me.

I am assuming, by now, you have heard about the huge wildfire that started Thursday morning and has gone through Paradise, California and the surrounding areas.  #Campfire  (worst tag name ever)

My mother-in-law currently lives in that town, my husband and I grew up there and my parents used to live there.  We know MANY people who still live there – friends, acquaintances, family of friends, friends of my mother-in-law and my parents former neighbors and others.

My mother-in-law escaped from Paradise, CA.  She left within minutes of the emergency call with the minimum – medicine, some important papers, some food and two days of clothes.  It took her over 4 hours to get out of town due to the gridlock.

Paradise is on a ridge and there are only three main roads out, but two were blocked due to fire.  Over 27,000 people live in the town of Paradise and probably about 30,000 live in the area above Paradise with no direct roads out without going through Paradise.

The inside of her car still smells like smoke.  If you have seen a video of someone driving with flames, etc on the sides of the road that could have been my mother-in-law, but she was in solid traffic, which was mostly stopped.  She had to drive/ sit next to burning cars, burning trees, burning buildings, etc.

It will be a miracle if her house survives, but she is alive and currently at our house.  We are very thankful that my father-in-law died seven months ago or they probably would not have gotten out of the house in time.

We have heard that some other people we know are also safe, but we haven’t heard from everyone.  Per the news over 6,500 houses and 200 businesses have been destroyed already.

Some people, who don’t live there, think the fire probably spread so fast due to people not clearing their brush, etc.  That is NOT true.  My mother-in-law lives on an oversized city lot with no brush.  I will say that the ‘public’ forests in the outlying area have not been logged, etc in a long time.  Also, there were 50 mph gusts and 30-35 mph sustained winds.

What I am thankful:

  • That my mother-in-law and the others we have heard from are safe
  • For the fire fighters and emergency people who got so many people out safely
  • For the community – I am already seeing posts of former high school classmates that are offering help, when they are allowed in
  • I am thankful that my mother-in-law is still able to drive
  • I am thankful that we had discussed what my mother-in-law would do if she had to evacuate – where she would drive to so we could meet her (we live too far away for her to have driven to our house by herself)
  • I am thankful that my mother-in-law only had to worry about herself
  • I am also very thankful for her car and that she had plenty of gas in the car

What I am asking for:

  • please pray for Paradise, CA – the people who evacuated, the people who didn’t survive, the families / friends who are still wondering about their loved ones
  • please donate to the emergency funds
  • Please hug your family and call your extended family and tell them that you care for them.  This life is short and you never know when / where a disaster will occur.
  • Please forgive me if I don’t post much lately.  My heart is just not into it right now, but when I do it will hopefully be the good things in life.




Yosemite Rim Fire and smoke

Well, the family finally got a vacation this summer and we were ‘unplugged’ for over a week and it was SO nice.  We didn’t have a television in our first place and only turned it on once in the second place and we didn’t even read the paper.  I will blog about vacation later.

We arrived home at 1:30am last Thursday since we decided to fly out of the Sacramento, Ca airport and drive home over the Sierra Nevada mountains afterwards.  We saw a full moon on the way over and smelt some smoke on the way up, but there were no signs of a fire, etc.

We got up Thursday morning to pick up Pepper (Golden Retriever) from the Kennel (that is definitely a story for later) and nothing really seemed different.  After that I started getting on the computer and found out about the Yosemite Rim fire (which is about 100 miles as a bird flies from us).  I didn’t think too much about it other that praying the firefighters stayed safe, praying for some much needed rain, etc.

Well, by Thursday afternoon smoke was coming into our valley (usually we can see the Sierra Nevada mountains from town, etc) and it felt like ash or something was getting in the eyes when I walked out of the grocery store.  By later Thursday afternoon we had Ash raining down at the house!  Since we had to put some items in the car that afternoon I was wearing a baseball and a mask and you still could smell it.

Long story short is we STILL have smoke in our valley (it hasn’t cleared so we are now on day 6) and we have some ash around the yard.  You feel like there should be a snow storm outside since all you should do is stay in the house and Pepper is NOT happy about this – she got a walk a day at the kennel, but she can’t run around outside and play (if I let her outside she is mostly laying in the grass for a while).  

They are saying the smoke might not start to clear until this Sunday (assuming the winds change directions).  

We still have ash pieces in my car and it is pretty hard to breathe outside (it even smells some in the house even though we haven’t opened any windows).  I am wondering how long it will take for the smoke smell to go away…

The good news is I saw a small patch of blue sky with fluffy clouds this morning right after I got up.  It was definitely covered up within an hour.  (So, I know this smoke is not permanent – I hope!).

I had taken some ‘now’ photos, but I would need to go digging for some ‘clear’ photos for you to understand the difference.  A friend posted some photos on Facebook yesterday and said I could post them without giving her credit (I don’t think she even knows I have a blog – maybe I will have to tell her…).  Anyways, thanks Karin for the use of your photos.

with smoke

So, which would you rather be living in?

Valley with smoke from the Yosemite Rim Fire

with snow

Valley on a ‘normal’ Spring Day

(And, yes I know we don’t have it as bad as the people in the path of the wildfire or the firefighters, but I have never seen anything like this in the 20 years we have lived here.)

Later  – H