WARNING: This is a long post, written by a woman apparently in need of talking even more about the events of the last few days....
Well, on Monday, September 5, you should have been reading about our dear friends, the Fryes. In fact, I had the post 90% written, when my husband asked me to go with him on an errand. As we left the house, we noticed some dark clouds, which we soon realized were actually plumes of smoke from some kind of fire. Being newly transplanted city folk, we assumed it was a house fire, which would soon be taken care of by our local fire department. The fire looked at least 10 miles away, so we assumed everything was okay for us to go.
As we went into the grocery store, our last stop, we looked over our shoulder and saw huge billows of smoke, northeast of the store, but far south east of our home. It certainly looked bad, but it still didn't look like anything that would affect our land. We called our children to let them know we would be later than expected, since the road to our home was now closed because of the fire. They had been at home, blissfully unaware of the growing inferno a few miles away.
As I finished cooking dinner, my husband, who had been watching the growing cloud of smoke, said we should get ready to evacuate. I confess, the smoke looked so far away, I couldn't imagine us needing to leave. He said there was enough time to eat dinner, then we needed to pack. I actually washed my dishes, put them in the dishwasher, then started it, so the dishes would be clean when I got home in a couple of hours. What was I thinking?
We began to pack, asking, “What do you take when you're leaving your home, possibly for the last time?” Honestly, I continued to think we were completely safe, and this was just a precaution; nevertheless, I tried to gather those things which were irreplaceable, necessary, or had great personal value: Bibles, some clothes, toiletries, medications, computers & hard drives (the info on them was irreplaceable, because Grafted, family photos, AND all my husband's work files are on them), and a few other things.
Randy was wondering how we would know if there was an official evacuation and we soon found out. Soon, a sheriff pulled up with lights flashing and sirens blaring; apparently, that's how it happens in our small town. We continued to pack our car, and within 10 minutes another sheriff's car came up our driveway to let us know about the evacuation. We left just a few minutes later, not even bothering to look over our shoulder at our home.
The Urbacks graciously opened their home, put us up, and fed us. We assumed we'd return home in the morning, as soon as we got the all-clear. Tuesday morning, growing fires and extended evacuations were reported, but some people were allowed to return home. There were no fires in our immediate area, so we attempted to drive home. Very polite police officers and sheriff's deputies stopped us at every road. So, back to our friends home for another day of their kind hospitality.
On Wednesday, the news got even worse. By Wednesday, thousands of acres had been burned. Structures had been lost, and worse, there had been loss of life. Also, the fire was moving even northwest, so we still couldn’t get home. However, God, in His wonderful providence had already provided for us. A vacationing family offered us the use of their home while they were away. Thank you for your hospitality!
We haven't yet answered your question yet, have we? Well, believe me, I would if I could. The truth is, we don't know if our house has been touched by the fire or not. As of Wednesday morning, we have a report that everything was fine, but that was shortly before the fires began to get worse in that area. We'll let you know as soon as we do. In the mean time, we would definitely appreciate your prayers for the protection of our home, but more importantly, that we will glorify Him, whatever the outcome.
Tomorrow, Lord willing, I’ll update our situation, and share some of the many blessings we’ve had as well as the lessons we’ve learned and are learning through this.