One year ago, as we left the office near Chapel Hills where my mother had an afternoon appointment, I looked north and saw a large plume of smoke. Since we were under extreme fire watch conditions, due to wind, heat and drought, I knew it was very bad. I also realized it must be very close to a friend’s house. At that moment, my friend called on my cell phone. She was about a mile due south of where the fire started. The next few hours were a frenzy of activity: taking my mother home, going to my friend’s place to help her evacuate her horses, and making arrangements at our place for two of her horses. She spent the first night at her house, but came to our house with her dogs, cats and chickens after her utilities were cut off.
My friend was fortunate: since she was south of the fire and the gusts were predominantly from the south that first day, the worst of the fire activity was blown away from her. This was very unfortunate for the rest of Black Forest, since the fire started in the south of the heavily timbered area.
I took this photo from the deck of our house the evening of the first day. That night, I didn’t sleep very well, and kept going out to the deck to watch the flares as the fire torched what I assume was propane tanks. Although typically fires lay down at night, this one was very active that first night.