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  • Writer's pictureJane Wheeler

The Fire on the Hill

Did you ever have one of those days… where the last thing that happens is the final “thing” that pushes you over off the cliff?

Yesterday was that day for me. It was Tuesday….

Tuesday is my get up and go day. I leave around 8 in the morning and come home

usually between 5-6.

Yesterday I noticed as I got about 20 minutes out of Gr. Prairie heading home, that the sky was totally covered in smoke. We have not had fires in a couple weeks, we have a couple still burning but not the constant start of fire after fire like we had.

This amount of smoke was so vast that it was unusual. I called Brian as he works out that way, and he said a huge fire had started in the Lymburn area, south of Hythe. That was the direction I was headed so it made sense. The smoke went across the sky for miles.

I got past Hythe and the sky got bright and blue and sunny again. That was when Brian called and said to come and get his truck because there was actually 3 new fires and he might be called out all night moving big equipment to crews to work on getting the fires under control. He then told me where the fires were and one was in Tomslake. I live in Tomslake.

He assured me that he had seen the fire from the other side of the lake and it did not look anywhere near our house. As I approached the BC border, indeed I saw the smoke.

There was a fire somewhere close to our house.

When I got to our road, I went up to our cow pasture to take a look. It appeared to

almost be 2 fires and they looked “just over the hill.” One was closer than the other and to me, and it did not look far away. I met a neighbor up there looking as well and we both took pictures and talked about the fact that we might start to pack a few things.

Should the wind switch to head our way, we wanted to be ready.

I came down and stopped in at 2 more neighbors, discussing what we should, ought to do. I got in the door, let the dogs out and headed for the bathroom. That was when I noticed the plume of smoke straight down our driveway. I could literally see the fire from my bathroom. Okay, not the fire, just the smoke but it was still too close for comfort at the top of that hill.

I did the only thing I knew to do - Pray! Then I sent a couple pics to my “tribe”, my “peoples” – there is a group of us that have each other on a “text speed dial” – it is our lifeline. We know that we can text a prayer request and it will be instantly started to be prayed for. These are people that believe in the power of our God to answer prayer. I have no power to stop a fire, neither do they but together with all of us knocking on heaven’s door, it raises the request to a shout! I needed a shout, I needed some back up.

I was pretty fried and as the evening went on, I got more and more tired. The amount of emotional energy this kind of drama takes is more than I thought. The fact that Brian was not here probably did not help my emotions at all.

I was wondering if I could possibly try to hook up our holiday trailer. I have never hooked it up, I have never hauled it and I really did not have a sweet clue how to do it. I was praying I would not have to. I started to throw a couple things in our truck, like water and got some dog food ready, packed a bag.

Brian on the other hand was out working, driving near the fire up north and said that he had to drive closer than 40 feet from a wild fire. Nope, do not want that job! He was working to help save folks up north from fire and the poor man could not be in two places at once. I did not really need him, not yet, but I assured him that if I said “come home,” he best be making tracks that way!

I found the whole evening to be surreal. I would go to make some supper and then walk to the bathroom and stare out the window. I knew that if I had to go quickly, that Brian would not make it home to help so I was mentally preparing a list of things to collect.

I ate my supper all the while wondering, thinking and checking my list.

I drove back up to the cow pasture with the dogs and took another look and video. I sent it to the neighbor who cannot see it from where she is.

I went to see the chickens and ducks and wondered if I left, should I leave the gate open or ??? I collected the eggs and wondered if I should take the eggs with me if we leave.

All the while I am constantly looking down the driveway or out the window to check on the fire.

My neighbor and I had text exchanges talking about the fire and how close, and what did I think.

It was probably around 9 at night that I noticed the fire seemed to turn from angry to starting to look more like just smoke, no plumbes now. I watched intently to see if I could see “red” at the top of the hill, the bottom of the smoke. No red, simply white smoke now. I kept checking it every 15-20 minutes and it looked less and less intense.

10:30 and Brian gets home, which was a nice surprise, I was not sure he would be coming and I see he is hooking up the holiday trailer first thing. I guess he knew I would not be able to and wanted it ready. If I have to actually haul it, well that will be a “prayer request” text for sure. I have never done it before and I will need the grace of God for that procedure!

I have prayed in my head, and outloud and told the wind to “be still”, it stops for a while and then picks back up. I have read the stories in the Bible where Jesus commands the wind and the waves – they know who He is.

All feels calmer here, perhaps because I am not alone, perhaps because folks are praying, perhaps because the sky is smoky not firey and perhaps it is all of the above.

This morning as I peered down the driveway, only white smoke floating above the hill is visible, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and a thank you to God for keeping us safe. The holiday trailer will stay attached to the truck and be in the “ready” position, but I am praying we will not have to use it.

Brian left at 4 this morning to go get more equipment out to the fires, God Bless the truckers and ground crews who are back at it fighting fires!

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