It’s a wonderful place to live when not engulfed in flames

Last week, for the third time in four years, we received evacuation orders due to approaching wildfires. In 2017 and 2019 my ace support crew and I loaded her car with photo albums and other important items. She and our elderly dog took off for safer venues. I stayed behind, deployed hose lines, and rode out those two fires. In 2017 advancing flames consumed homes and other structures within about a half mile of us. In 2019 the wildfire didn’t come as close.

On Sunday, 27 September we began monitoring a fire—formally designated the Glass Fire—on the far side of the Napa Valley, about ten miles from our home in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. It seemed quite distant, and not a threat to us.

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They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

14 response to "It’s a wonderful place to live when not engulfed in flames"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: October 4, 2020

    Oh, my gosh Bill. I’m so thankful you and your family are safe, not to mention your home. I’ve been thinking of you with this fire of course, but was afraid to ask. I can’t imagine how devastating this must be for you and your less fortunate neighbors.

  2. By: Seasidejanet Posted: October 4, 2020

    Such good news!!! And WoW that’s as close a call as you want to have!! Let’s all do a rain dance…….

  3. By: gregblood Posted: October 4, 2020

    I was on the edge of my seat while reading your suspenseful story. Only somebody who actually lived it could write that story so well. I’m sure glad it had a happy ending.

  4. By: BobinVT Posted: October 4, 2020

    Bill, so glad to hear your house survived. Man, those pictures are scary. Even though your property is ok, it must be so disconcerting to see so much damage so close.

  5. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: October 4, 2020

    Whew!!! It just cant get closer than that!
    Thanks for the write up and photos.

  6. By: NancyG Posted: October 4, 2020

    OMG! What a harrowing experience to go through. So glad to know that you and yours, and your home are fine. Too scary for sure. Thanks for letting us know.

  7. By: DJG Posted: October 4, 2020

    Good to hear that you’re both ok, shocking pictures.

  8. By: Suzanne Posted: October 4, 2020

    Wow, that was a close call, Bill! What great luck that your home wasn’t damaged and that you got through this safely. It must be a depressing sight riding through your neighborhood with all the burned homes and charred fields. Thanks for keeping us posted.

  9. By: The Navigator Posted: October 4, 2020

    So glad you, the Ace Support Crew and your home are okay. What a scary experience! Your story is eerily similar to the many people I interviewed for my PhD about their experiences in bushfires here in 2003 and 2006/07. From that experience, I understand that the recovery period can be really difficult as the reality of it all sets in, especially after multiple events. I sure hope plenty of money flows to rebuild not just homes but peoples’ lives and mental health, too. All the best to you and your community.

  10. By: Laura Posted: October 5, 2020

    I don’t know whether to say how lucky you are or how sorry I am that the land around you has been incinerated. Maybe both. Your pictures showing the damage are really good and they make me realize what a scary situation you were in. Glad you and your wife are OK.

  11. By: Bill Stone Posted: October 6, 2020

    Thanks to all for kind words. Gradually getting back to normal around here. Repaired fence knocked down by firefighters for rapid access between yards. Cleaning yard and house of debris, ashes, soot, and smoke. Whew! I think my legs are beginning to atrophy, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get back out on the Ogre. Stay safe and healthy.

  12. By: Alchemyrider Posted: October 8, 2020

    I went to college in Chico. Not sure which was the better takeaway. A college degree or the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

    So happy to hear that you dodged a bullet and that your property was spared.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: October 8, 2020

      Ah, Chico! Our son went to Chico State for a couple of years before transferring to Humboldt. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a staple in our fridge. We also enjoyed concerts in “the Big Room” at the brewery. Of course, just a few miles away from Chico, the entire town of Paradise was destroyed with great loss of life in the 2018 Camp Fire. It’s tough to avoid incineration anywhere in the Golden State.

      I’ve undertaken a few bike rides in/around/from Chico, but never documented them. Maybe I’ll see about digging up some old photos when I get a chance.

      • By: Alchemyrider Posted: October 13, 2020

        While at CSUC I had a friend who lived in Paradise. I remember some nice dinners up amongst the pine trees. How incredibly sad the Camp Fire and its aftermath was.

        I had my bike with me on my last visit to Chico a few years ago. Now I wish I had taken some ride photos.

        Your mention of Humboldt reminded me of a trip to Arcata with the CSUC track team. The Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka comes to mind.

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