I went out on to the deck last Wednesday afternoon to take a look at what might be wilting in the garden during our 98+ degree heatwave. The leaves were drooping everywhere, but this is what caught my eye:
That's not a big billowy cloud. It's a plume of smoke. I called Roger to come take a look, and I grabbed the camera. This is the Robbers Fire. It had started just a few minutes before I clicked the photo. We've been keeping an eye on the fire since then.
By Thursday there was a steady drift of white smoke across the southeastern sky. The fire had grown to 700 acres. We learned that it's burning in a very steep canyon along the American River about twelve miles southeast of us.
By Friday, the fire was 1300 acres and moving steadily northeast, out of our direction. However, we started smelling the smoke that morning, and the haze became quite persistent. On Saturday, the fire was 1900 acres and only 20% contained.
This is our hazy backyard, Sunday morning. That sky should be as blue as the top photo, but as you can see the haze has definitely taken over. By 11:00 AM, the fire had grown to 2250 acres. There are 2000 firefighters on the scene. The governor called in five National Guard units as well.
There's nothing we can do but wait and see what happens. All day and night the tankers and helicopters fly overhead. They are working non-stop. There's something about waking in the night and hearing the planes, knowing they are out there in the dark working so hard while we've been sleeping. Gratitude hardly touches it.
Late Sunday afternoon update: We read in the online news that CalFire called in the DC10. We wondered what that meant. We walked out on the deck to the look at the sky and saw this huge plane. Here's what it can do: The DC-10 Airtanker is able drop as much as 12,000 gallons of retardant in as little as eight seconds. The aircraft uses a computerized gravity-feed water dump system that is essentially a modified and scaled-up version of the system used by Erickson Air-Crane on its S64 helicopter. The drop rate, controlled from the cockpit, is governed by the opening of the tank doors.
To see it flying over our yard was a crazy big surprise.