What's Happening in Stonyford: Firefighting effort up close
Of course, this week's news is all about the fire, the Mill Fire.
It's huge, it's smoky, and it has threatened many of our homes this week. I'm writing this Thursday morning, so my actual fire information won't be up to date as far as numbers are concerned.
To this point, there are more than 1,500 people fighting the fire, more than 17,000 acres involved, and more than $4 million in cost. There are fire crews and equipment from as far away as Oregon, Arizona and Nevada.
The Sites Complex Fire was coming at us from the east, and got close to several of our neighbors along the Sites Lodoga Road. Everyone is fine, and that fire is on its way out. We're glad the road to Maxwell is open.
It is so impressive to see this firefighting effort up close, and this time it's personal. Our road has been on voluntary evacuation notice since Monday. The fire continues to burn just over the hill behind us. We've had helicopters flying overhead for days, taking water from East Park Reservoir and dropping it on the fires; bulldozers pushed firebreaks around much of the perimeter; ground crews are working hard clearing lines.
Our homes are all safe to this point, and we are trusting to the firefighters to keep them so. The smoke has had an impact on many of us. Some of our neighbors who have some sensitivity to the smoke have left the area for awhile.
Be aware, if your breathing gets difficult or your eyes are watering, you may be smoke sensitive. There are a few things you can do to help yourself. The most important is to stay hydrated. Also, eat a healthy diet. Reduce activity, especially in the early morning hours. The smoke usually lifts as the day progresses. Use air conditioning if you have it, stay indoors if you can.
There has been an informational town meeting each night this week at the Grange, led by Adrienne Freeman, information officer from Mendocino National Forest. They bring us the latest information on what has been done, and what they are doing to fight against it.
Thursday, they started some backfiring, which will increase the smoke for a couple of days. The Forest Service office is open for anyone to come in from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
One of the most interesting things we have seen is the Incident command post. It's a whole city, set up at the rodeo grounds. We got to tour the grounds. They have food service, laundry, showers, infirmary, office support, and so much more.
You can find fire info on the internet at: inciweb.org, click on Mill Fire. And it's on Twitter.
Regular Grange activities are suspended until the fire settles down — except for the quilters. The Sew What!? group met on Wednesday in spite of the fire. Might as well sew — we weren't doing any good by watching the hillside all day.
The Pineridge bluegrass concert was wonderful last Friday. I'll let you know when they are performing again.