This is the story of the two fires that I experienced while I was in residence in Clearlake, California.
The current fire - the Rocky Fire of July 29, 2015 - current August 4, 2015, reminded me of the other Clearlake fires I have experienced.
The Wye/Walker fire of 2012 happened the same time I was flying out to Washington State. Our usual route to the Airport in Sacramento. That was from CA 53 to CA 20 north of us. We got near to the "WYE" where CA 20 and CA 53 merge and if you go left it is CA E 20 and go right and it is CA 20 to Williams. Also CA 20 connects in to CA 16 that goes south.
Well we got to the WYE and despite the fact I had two blue cloth masks on my nose and mouth, I was still choking from the smoke. They said the road was closed and to go south on CA 53 to CA 29. Then later you go on Butts Canyon Road. The Butts Canyon Road is a smaller road that winds through some very small one building towns. It winds around the mountain past a reservoir to Aetna Springs town and that then is Pope Valley Road. You end up in Pope Valley where you have a choice to go Howell Mountain Road or Chiles Pope Road. Well after that things got dicey because there was another fire and so we had to go around roads to eventually get to Sacramento. It is hard to see on this map, but there are a lot of little roads to take around Lake Berryessa and the smaller towns.
I was on the phone most of the time to my daughter who was to pick me up at the airport at SEA -TAC in Seattle, Washington.
I called her every time we had to take a different road, as roads were closed. I was still smelling smoke for 50 miles. Finally I was able to take off one then both of the masks. It was so hot and no air conditioning in the car. My son was driving and my daughter came with me.
Finally we got to the Sacramento airport 30 minutes before my flight. I was using a wheelchair at the airport so they rushed me through security and got me on the plane in time.
When I came home the roads CA 20 were opened again and the kids showed me where the fire had burned. So that was my 2nd experience of fire in Clearlake, CA.
The first was in 2008 and I came to visit my kids here in Clearlake. It was very smoky the whole time I was here. See the end of this page for the 2008 Walker Fire. I wore a blue mask every time I went out of the house. We had no problems with road closures that year on the days I was arriving or leaving.
So between these two fires and the recent one right in back of my apartment on Dam Road on July 26, 2015, we have had enough of fires! The Dam Fire was just 10 acres but it started right in back of our apartment. The kids were really scared. Thankfully they got it our quick!
The Dam Fire July 26, 2015
I moved out of Clearlake 11 days before the first fire. My heart goes out to my kids and friends who live in Clearlake and are experiencing the current Rocky Fire that started July 29, 2015 and is still only 12% contained as of August 4, 2015.
There are some fires in the middle of Washington state, in which the smoke drifts and stays in the area where I am now living in Spokane, Washington. So you see no matter where you live, there is always a fire or some natural disaster. Best be prepared, which I always do!
Clear Lake fire still burning, little riskUpdated 10:22 pm, Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Photo: John Burgess, Associated Press 2012
A California Department of Forestry firefighter works on putting out a flare up along Highway 20 on the Wye Fire, near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. Wildfires burn across the West, threatening hundreds of homes in California and killing a firefighter in Idaho. (AP Photo/The Press Democrat, John Burgess