Fire, Flood, and now what?
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
December was a very eventful month for me and both my husband and I feel strange from all the events that happened. Actually it all happened after my 72nd birthday which in itself was wonderful. We had a wonderful evening celebrating and looked forward to the future.
This was all to change the next day. I woke up to looking out of my window and seeing a red sky and a lot of smoke. I actually smelled it first. The fire was still about 10 miles from my house in Paradise. Before I knew it though we were getting an evacuation warning followed about 3 minutes later by a evacuate immediately warning.
We were able to quickly throw a few things in the car and went to my husband's son's house in Chico where we spent the night. We were very concerned about our house and fully expected to return to no house. About 2 in the morning I woke up and thought I could try to log into a Furbo dog camera in our living room. It was slow but worked. I could see the living room was still there. What a relief!
Later in the afternoon the next day we were able to get back to our house only to have another evacuation order issued. We packed a few more things we forgot the first time and prepared to leave. We stopped for about five minutes to talk to a neighbor. Good thing we did because when we got to the first road block the officers were leaving. We heard that the mandatory order had just been lifted.
Traffic is horrendous. We have about 45,000 people in town who had to leave Paradise. Most of their homes are no longer there. You could see fields of people camping in tents in the 40 degree weather. When we were able to drive by the fire area by our house we found that the fire was less than a mile away and if it had gotten started in the woods between the area and our house all would have gone up in flames.
If that wasn't enough to feel a little disoriented though, last Thursday just a little more than
a week after being evacuated from the fire we had a torrential rain heavier than I had ever seen it in our area. Our beautiful creek was raging and going over the bank. I let my husband know and he said he would come home. He was not able to get home, just about 10 miles, for another four hours. Many of the roads were closed and he had to take a indirect route on a back road and drive through deep water to get home. I am glad he has a four wheel drive truck. He would have not made it otherwise.
In the meanwhile I worked in calf deep water in my yard trying to divert the flow of water away from our house. I carried large concrete blocks about 200 yards and set them where I could see the creek coming over only to return and get another one to place. I continued this for four hours. Finally I was too exhausted to do any more and went into the house to move important things from the first floor to the second floor all of the time really glad I had a two story house at least. The water was holding just inches away from our house foundation and it looked like there were many more creeks flowing across our yard.
Around 4 I was glad to hear my husband's truck. He was able to get home. We went out for another half hour or so and added some things to the barricade that were too heavy for me to lift. I had tried.
We soon received a mandatory evacuation notice but choose to shelter in place as most of our neighbors did. We thought it would be more dangerous to try to drive out. The rain got a little lighter which really helped. By the next morning most of the water was down in our yard. We still couldn't go anywhere due to flooding on the roads there. See picture above.
We were finally able to drive out the next day. We saw a block of houses nearby where they had drug everything out of the house carpet included and put it in dumpsters. There houses had flooded. During the flood I heard reports on the police scanner of a couple of feet deep water in homes nearby and people being rescued by boats.
Things are so crazy here. It makes you wonder what will be next. We have to feel really lucky though that we missed the major damage of both fire and then flood. It hurts so much to see all of those that didn't though. I have to feel lucky though that I was able to have a wonderful birthday celebration and then a Thanksgiving one before each of the events.
Sorry I was not able to post more earlier. My Internet was out during most of the problems and I was too busy to even post if it was.