Air Attack

We’re watching a major air attack of a forest-fire flare up. It looks like the sun has heated up the Motion Fire, just northwest of us. We can see towering flames and billowing smoke. About 4 planes and 4 helicopters are circling over us, dropping water and retardant on the flames.

Pray for the firefighters. Pray for nearby residents. We don’t seem to be in danger; if I read it right, the fire seems to be going up a hill AWAY from us. But the wind is blowing toward us. It’s about 6 miles or so away. We’ll keep you posted. It’s all God’s, right?

UPDATE… July 12, 6:40 a.m.

We packed up our valuables, and stored them elsewhere (in a home away from the fires).  We packed up an overnight bag in case we couldn’t get back home.  And we took the kids for a day trip to Mt. Shasta City, about one hour north.

What a difference!  The sky was pure blue, no smoke, no smell of smoke.  The temp was a cool 88 with no humidity to speak of.  It was beautiful.  It also reminded us of how many millions of acres of wilderness and trees are unscorched by these fires.

Here is a map showing where the flare-ups have occurred… the big yellow dot shows where we live, on the west side of Redding.  We’re about 5 miles now from the fires.  Click the map to make it grow big.

The fires northwest of us are designated “The Motion Fire Complex” (named after a creek, I think) and the fires southwest of us are called The Moon Fire Complex.  The two fires have burned through 20,000 acres, with no end in sight.

Here is an excellent description in our local paper; everything they describe is within 5-15 minutes of our house.

Authorities temporarily closed the main route to our house yesterday, but reopened it till 8:30, just the right timing for us to go back home.  The big lake (Whiskeytown Lake, surrounded by mountains, absolutely beautiful) is closed.  Fires dot the hills surrounding the lake.  It’s a 6 minute drive to the lake from our house.

Today, they plan a back-burn from Rt 299 (the yellow line on the map) northward to create a firebreak from the fires as they advance southward.  The winds should shift today, coming from the south with more humidity.  That should help.

The air is smoky this morning–it always depends on the winds.  Many neighbors have moved out their irreplaceable stuff–pictures, jewelry, important papers, keepsakes, etc.  We’ve done the same.  But, other than that, life goes on.  It’s surreal.  Yesterday’s flareups were unnerving–we could see the towering orange flames shooting from the crowns of 100 foot pines… miles away, but still scary.

I spoke with a police sergeant who said it was the biggest air-assault he’s ever seen.  It was amazing as planes and helicopters dumped retardant and water on the fires.  We’re really thankful for the fire fighting crews… from over 40 states!  They live in tents and work in 110 degree heat.  Today it should cool down all the way to 106, and then into the 90’s (which is very comfortable, given the low humidity).

Today, I’ll hang with the family, finish my sermon, and preach at services tonight.  Tomorrow, I’ll preach 3 more times… and then kick back with the family and do some more writing if I can.  Then it’s all prep for some vacation/travelling/missions trip to Africa… I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for praying for us!  It means a whole lot.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply:
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake!”

(John Rippon)

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” Ps 46:1-5.


3 thoughts on “Air Attack

  1. Hey Bill, Margie and kids,
    Hang in there. We’re all praying.

    Bill, here’s a question. Have the fires caused an increase in the activity of the wildlife in your area? Have you seen more critters? Just curious.


  2. Hey Bob.
    Thanks for praying, and thanks for asking.
    No, we haven’t seen any “flight of the critters.” It’s probably because they have so much wilderness to the west of us… you could drive from here to the Pacific Coast (3-4 hours), and other than one town (Weaverville, pop 3000), it’s all trees and wilderness.
    We thought too that we might see fleeing animals, but we haven’t. They’re fleeing elsewhere.

  3. Hi Bill,

    We’ll keep you, Margi and the kids in our prayers. Please keep us posted on how things are going and if there is anything we can do to help, even though we’re across the country.


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