Watching Fire Trucks Go By and Now Watching For a Forest Fire, Mandatory Evacuation Ordered

Tuesday August 18, 2020 Guerneville CA.

Paddle and fire day

Seemed like a good day to go for a paddle down at Jenner so off I went about noon.

Lots of fire trucks

A fire truck’s lights showed up in back of me as I entered the town of Jenner so I let it by. Little did I know I’d see a lot more trucks and be in the mist of a forest fire at home before the day was out.

I put my boat in the water and headed up stream when another fire truck went by across the river on the road there.truck1


And soon another one. I think there were about 15 or so of them during the  next hour.truck2


Paddled up the river

I paddled on up the river to my usual spots stopping along the way and enjoying the day as it was a nice one.

Eventually I started back down the river after crossing over to the other side as I wanted to check for birds on the shoreline along the way.

There were a few bunches of them. These are merganser ducks and cormorants just resting on the beach.birds3


I can see this fire’s smoke

As I paddled down the river after deciding to go to the river’s mouth area. I thought I could see smoke up ahead on the hill just about center. Yup it had some blue in it. Glad it’s over here and not by my house.smoke4


Headed to the open mouth

I was headed down to the open mouth area behind this egret I went by.egret5


I noticed quite a number of pelicans on he end of Penny Island. Here’s just a few of them, more later.pels6


There weren’t many harbor seals by the mouth today for some reason.seals7


And here, where there were hundreds of birds the other day, there are just a few.birds8


Open mouth area

I hung here at the mouth for a bit watching things and making sure I didn’t get pulled out to sea as it was low tide and the river water was draining into the big ol ocean.mouth9


As I headed back to Penny Island I spotted this big billed duck of some kind. I’ve noticed it hangs around here a lot lately.duck10


Lots of brown pelicans up ahead

I’m headed back to Penny Island where I can see a few hundred brown pelicans resting on the shore and some in the water too.pelicans11


Here’s some of the brown pelicans on the island to give you an idea of how many.pelican12


I made it back to the boat ramp and put my boat on the car and headed home.

Oh, oh, this is not good

As I turned onto the road to my house from the town of Guerneville, this greeted me so I pulled over for a picture. No one said anything about this fire which I later learned started yesterday. My house is up ahead on the right about a mile, so the fire is still fairly far away.fire13


Dirt bike ride to check out the fire

Once I got home I jumped on the dirt bike to ride up into the hills to have a look to see what I could see.

I checked the water level at the tanks about half full and rode on up the hill on that road.tanks13


Hard to find a look out spot

I had a hard time finding a place I could see the fire area out of the trees. This was the best I could do, lots of smoke and off to the right out of sight I could see the fire cresting the ridge that is the south side of East Austin Creek. Too close for  comfort.smoke14


Bull Dozer needs moved

On the way home I went by the bull dozer parked in the trees and thought that’s no place for a dozer if the forest fire comes through here.

So I found my brother Tom and got a ride up the hill with him so I could drive it down the hill to his garden where there weren’t so many trees.

Here’s where the dozer was parked and Tom letting me off in his truck.dozer15


Kids stuff

Well what the hey. Any kid loves to operate a bull dozer so off I went headed down the hill on this road.dozer16


And through here on this road almost down.dozer17


Garden area

I made it to the garden area and drove on into the garden in the back there and parked it where there are no  trees. It’s hard to find a spot with no trees when you live in a forest.dozer18


We continued to tidy things up as much as possible in case the fire came through here.

Mandatory evacuation ordered

At around 7:30Pm the county declared a mandatory evacuation order for our area as well as a bunch of other places. Hummmm what to do. If I go I need enough food and water to provide me with no corn type stuff, so I started to prep my van just in case so I’ll be ready to go if things get a lot worse.

Tending the critters

Someone also has to stay as long as possible to take care of the chickens and animals as they  need feed and water, but not to worry as I’ll leave if need be.

Noisy sirens, lots of them

Around 8PM sirens started going up and down the roads. They sure have quite a few new types I haven’t heard before. It took awhile to settle down once they went further out the roads.

Quiet before the storm

Right now things are real quiet,  even though a few hills over, the forest fire is raging.

I think it will go around us but one doesn’t know for sure. Fires don’t normally burn down into this river valley, at least not historically.

So more drama then one needs right now but I think things will be ok.

I’ll consider all my options tomorrow if all goes well through the night. And I’ll be fine in my van if all else goes bad.

Otherwise, nice day. :O)

4AM fire update

The ridge to the north of us just lit up which put a scare into most. It’s about two miles away. We can hear a lot of big pops as the trees blow up from getting so hot.

Back fire

Watching it I think they started a back fire on the ridge top as there is a good dirt road that runs along it. They start a fire on the ridge top and let it burn down the side so the forest fire doesn’t have anything to burn when it gets to that spot at the bottom. The wind is down so it’s a perfect time to do it. When the ridge top first lit up you could see some flames but they soon died down as I think the fire started to burn down the backside which we can’t see from this spot.

All is well

So far all is well but we likely won’t get much sleep tonight. If it moves this way we have a good route out away from the fire.

So I’m off to bed to see about some sleep. Maybe.

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4 Responses to Watching Fire Trucks Go By and Now Watching For a Forest Fire, Mandatory Evacuation Ordered

  1. rachel says:

    Hey Bob – loving your blog as much as ever.

    The big billed duck is a surf scoter. I’ve seen that guy hanging out on the south side of the estuary alone a few times myself.

    Be safe.

  2. Ken Solbakken says:

    Stay safe Bob, if you have to evacuate you’re welcome to hold up at our house. It’s close to A Place to Play.


  3. Arrowhead Gramma says:

    Hoping that the fire has settled down and you didn’t/don’t have to evacuate. Evacuating is a frightening thing. We have had to evacuate twice since 2003 as we also live in a forest area. So far this summer we have been fortunate in our area.

    My prayers are with you, your brothers and all living in your area and that your properties will be spared.

  4. Nancy K says:

    As an old cat driver, I was smiling when you took it down the road. I do love to operate heavy equipment. On the other hand, that fire is a scary thing. Seems half of California is lit up. I sure hope it misses you. Sending good thoughts.

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