Life in the Valley of riches

As Labor Day approaches it wouldn’t be the same if the Valley was not filled with smoke.
On Aug. 17 I took a drive to the fire to get some photos. At the bug station I was told I would likely be told to turn around when I got closer, but I went anyway.
I was close to 10 miles in when I passed the first vehicle, a CalTrans truck with a plow. We waved at each other and I kept on my way.
As I approached a rockslide I found a parking spot and walked into the slide area. It was eerily quiet except for the crackling of burning trees and falling rocks. Not another soul was in sight. After getting 400 photos of what now looks like the same thing the wind picked up and the fire seemed to pick up steam. This caused me to get a little nervous and I headed to my car to leave. While walking back, the previously mentioned truck came by and started to plow the road clear from the rocks. Again we waved and as I started my car the fire had started going uphill about 10 feet from my car. The flames were not there when I parked so I picked up my pace to get out of the canyon.
Unfortunately, those of us that have been around the Valley awhile are used to this, and I for one have become complacent. People new to the area certainly have no idea what to expect, so understandably they might be coming close to a state of panic. My first instinct is to say, “It’s too far away to worry about it, relax.” But then I recall the 2020 Slater Fire moved five or eight miles over one night and we woke up to what I would describe as the Armageddon. The orange glow and police on loud speakers getting people to load up and move out. For those of us with horses, this takes some time to do, so it’s not a bad idea to get your “big dogs” moved out early in the unlikely event the fire moves quickly, as it has in the past.
Everyone is glued to their phones following the fire apps. It’s almost addictive; gotta have that shot of real-time info so we can be in the know.
Hopefully, the fire will halt its march north soon and we all can get together at the park for the Lions Club Labor Day event. I look forward to it as I only get the chance to chat with some folks that one time a year. This year, the party lands on the birthdays of Lindsay B. Jones, Lavina Fonsaca and of course mine. If you see those two ladies wish them a happy birthday!
Thank you for picking up this week’s paper, enjoy! ~ djm