Rachel S. Heslin
Thoughts, insights, and mindless blather

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There are planes crossing overhead, back and forth between the lake and the fire.

I can't see the flames from here. I walked out of the portable at work to head to the main building and saw the smoke rising on the mountain across from us. I called 911 and was told it was between the terribly misnomered dry expanses of Lake Erwin and Lake Williams and that crews were already on their way.

I'm a pyro. I love fire: the smell, the crackle, the hypnotic movements of devouring flame.

But not now. Not when the drought and the barkbeetles have turned so much of the forest into tinder, trees still upright to maximize oxygen flow. At least it's cooler than it's been the past couple of weeks.

I'm trying not to be scared. Shawn's down the hill at orientation for UCR. I'm going to head home soon and make sure the cat carriers are assembled and listen to the radio, just in case. If we do have to leave, I'll have to stop at the St. Laurents' and pick up their cat as well. Fortunately, the back route through Victorville only takes 20 minutes to get off the mountain (w/o traffic), and it's headed away from the fire.

It'll probably be nothing. The fire didn't look very big, and they should be able to put it out relatively quickly. We'll be fine.

But I'm still going to be listening to the radio with the cat carriers assembled.


The smoke seems to have been cleared. The radio's been playing music rather than news updates, which is a good sign. I'm breathing again.

See, my brain kept telling me that I was being silly, that everything was going to be okay, it wasn't a huge fire, the winds weren't that bad, etc. etc.

The problem is that there was a frantic little bird fluttering around in my chest that was terrified of being trapped. This whole area was designated a Federal Disaster Area back in March due to fire hazard, and it's always in the back of my mind. At least we're not as bad as Lake Arrowhead, on the other side of these mountains -- they're looking at areas of 80-100% tree mortality.

I'm okay, really. It's just that, every once in a while, the limbic system fights its way to the fore. We're fine. I'm going to go make myself some lunch.


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