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Almost Lost My Home (Ponderosa Fire)

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by MrWhoopee, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Messages:
    567
    Loc:
    Shingletown, Northern California (elev. 4000 ft.)
    We first saw the column of smoke about 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. After taking a drive to get a better look and realizing the fire was coming directly at us, we started loading the valuables in our cars. We got the reverse 911 call to leave about 7:00, we were some of the first to be evacuated. Some friends came up to help get all our cars out. The fire was moving so fast I was pretty sure the house would be gone by Sunday morning. Fortuantely, the crews were able to establish a line about 2 miles southwest of the house, and so far they have been able to hold it. I know that the house is still standing because my answering machine answers my hourly calls. We are concerned about southwest winds forecast for today and tomorrow, which would blow the fire towards us, but the various fire agencies and the National Guard are here in force and cutting a massive firebreak around the north and east of the fire.

    Here's a link to a map of the fire, scroll down and click on the Ponderosa link. Our house is at the top right corner of the fire, just outside the red perimeter line (the fire has not gotten to that line). Our place is just off Long Hay Flat Rd. about a mile south of Highway 44. If you zoom in, you can even see our street (Pine Lane) and house.
    http://wv.enplan.com/

    We are staying with friends just west of Shingletown and are safe, comfortable and very well fed, though Otis is not happy, being confined to a small travel trailer. Hoping to be able to go home Thursday or Friday and get our lives back to normal.

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  2. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,161
    Loc:
    Schoharie County, N Y
    Wow, I can't imagine what you have been going through! I hope erything works out and you can get back into your house soon.
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,669
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    We're indeed fortunate here in Maine not to have those types of wildfires that we see on the national news . . . here's to hoping things work out for you folks.
  4. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,022
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    Really hope it works out for you!! The amount of work put into fighting these fires is amazing and the idea of losing a home to a fire is something I would not wish upon anybody!
  5. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    scary indeed! good luck!
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,272
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Keeping everything that I have two of, crossed. May the force (of nature) be with you.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Good luck to you. Let's all believe the house will still be safe.
    ScotO likes this.
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    That has to be a gut-wrenching wait for you.......we'll keep you in our prayers here. Stay out of danger, be patient and keep positive.
  9. StuckInTheMuck

    StuckInTheMuck Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    169
    Loc:
    沖縄日本
    At least we don't have them in the Northeast as often as they have them out west but they can and do occur. The worst case scenario would be to have a devastating hurricane that levels forests followed by a severe drought that makes the fallen timber tinder dry. It's not a matter of if the Northeast will have some big fires. It's a matter of when.

    Best of luck to you Mr Whoopee (your name is funnier than the name of your town shingletown) and to your neighbors..

    http://www.kennebunkportme.gov/Public_Documents/KennebunkportME_FireBulletins/Fire1947

    Attached Files:

  10. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    7,121
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    I can't imagine what your feeling. Fingers crossed.

    pen
  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Messages:
    13,502
    Loc:
    Northwestern CT.
    Hoping for the best! Stay safe!
  12. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    I saw the footage from the news tonight and one fire up close looked like a fiery whirling tornado. That was some pretty fearsome footage. Be safe.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,997
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I hope everything works out okay.
  14. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,102
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    Stay Safe, hopefully all will work out well................
  15. Shadow&Flame

    Shadow&Flame Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    788
    Loc:
    Central Arkansas
    Scary stuff...stay safe and hoping for the best.
  16. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,669
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    To be sure . . . but it has been a very, very long time since we here in Maine have had the epic wildfires that they get out West. Last truly big one that sticks in my mind is the Mt. Desert Island fire which consumed parts of the Acadia National Park back in 1947. A lot of things are different here in the Northeast vs. out west -- not the least of which is that we seem to be less dry in most years and the ground cover is a bit different.

    As for the hurricane scenario . . . I guess it would be interesting to see if this could lead to more incidents . . . probably could be checked in the next few years by watching the number of wildfires in Vermont where the hurricain moved through a year or so ago . . . see if the drought like condition this year or in future years makes a difference. There is a potential there.

    It could happen here again in Maine . . . but I doubt it -- at least not on the same scale as out west . . . times have changed a lot since 1947 with better fire fighting equipment, techniques and the ability to spot the fires earlier. I do remember a few years back when there was a very dry spring and summer -- lots of wildfires, but they were mostly fairly small . . . at least compared to the ones out west.
  17. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Messages:
    567
    Loc:
    Shingletown, Northern California (elev. 4000 ft.)
    Still Standing! The fireline came within 1/2 mile of the house, from the reports I have gotten. Everyone has gotten to go home except us. They are still mopping up in our area, so our roads are still closed. Hope they hurry, my wife and cat are getting really hard to live with.
    The name comes from Phineas J. Whoopee, a character in the TennesseeTuxedo cartoon series. He was the answer man whenever Tennessee and Chumly had a question. My friends christened me with the name decades ago. Still not sure if it was a compliment.;)
    fox9988 and pen like this.
  18. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,142
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    TennesseeTuxedo Will NOT FAIL!

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