Originally Published: July 3, 2017 5:59 a.m.
What would you take? The smoke and flames are approaching, you are being evacuated and you have minutes to grab things. Pets, medicines, keepsakes are picked up with heart pounding and thoughts jumbled up in a combination of shock and anguish. No time to pack grandmother’s tea set or look for old, familiar items that have been passed down for generations as a reminder of where we came from. Fire does not stop for sentimental packing. It rages toward us with no care about what lies in its path.
There is smoke in the sky, and heartbreak in the people who had to flee from their homes. The firefighters and other first responders have all been putting up a mighty fight against the Goodwin Fire that has been fueled by gusting winds, heat and dry brush. The horses are galloping as they are set free from corrals, when not enough trailers can haul them to safety. Goats and sheep are carried into vans, chickens put in cars, anything to try to get them out.
Prescott has a sad and poignant history when it comes to fire. When we lost 19 brave Granite Mountain Hotshots in the worst fire disaster imaginable four years ago, we were changed forever. The fear and anxiety continues as we celebrate (as best we can) Independence Day. The rodeo and parade still go on…but so does the volunteering and donating at various charities that will deliver help, food and care for people and animals in shelters. That is what defines us in Prescott. We have the spirit of givers and this community wraps its arms around those in our community who are in pain.
Hey, as for the guy who was flying a drone into the fire area so he could take “cool photos,” causing the planes to be grounded, I am glad he was arrested! Fire suppression is more important than a drone video for Facebook! And enough already with people being careless. The Doce Fire was started by people shooting their firearms into dry brush. Use your heads! Do not throw cigarettes out of car windows, go shooting in the dry forest, or start a campfire!
Here is a shoutout to one of the volunteers named Jay Stephens, who rescued 10 horses in one day! We are grateful. And we are proud of our courageous men and women, the hotshots, who work with picks and axes in unbearable heat to try and create a barrier and stop a raging flames. We admire the pilots flying fixed-wing tanker airplanes dropping fire retardant — flying low and steady to try and stop the burn. We all pray for your safety.
One woman who was evacuated from her home in the Yarnell Hill Fire with minutes to spare grabbed the tea kettle off her stove. It was the only possession she took. When she and her husband were driving away, they saw the flames engulf their home as they made their way through thick smoke to escape. Later, she wondered why she took such an unimportant item. Yet, she says, it is a constant reminder of how fragile life is, how things can change so quickly, and how “things” really don’t matter.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at email@example.com.