I was reading a book Thursday evening (May 11) as I waited for my Dad to arrive. It was 9:40 p.m. when I heard a horn honking and could see someone waving at me from the driveway.
"Hurry, we are being evacuated! There's a fire over the hill!" the man yelled.
I called Mom back in Texas. "There's a guy out here yelling for me to evacuate," I told her. "What should I do?"
Mom said there had been fires in New Mexico although the news didn't tell of one near us in Bonita Vista. "If the guy was serious maybe I had better go," I thought. I didn't have a car. My college buddies had left me up here earlier in the week and my parents were due to join me. Dad was already on the way. But if the fire was really right near us….
I climbed into the Tahoe and realized the man was my neighbor, Marvin Myers. "They are evacuating Weed and Sacramento and we need to get you out of here. The fire is just over the hill. You can see the light over the mountain a little way down."
We were evacuated to the Cloudcroft school. When we got there, we had to check in. They had food and drinks. Everyone was so helpful and kind—especially it being 11:00 p.m.
The news channel on the big screen TV gave bulletins of the fire. I checked in with Mom every half hour or so to see if she had heard from Dad. I was hoping he wouldn't drive straight into the fire area.
Dad finally arrived around 12:30 a.m. Friday. He met up with all the heavy equipment in Mayhill and saw the bright flames, which made him call Mom to see where I would be.
We headed over to the firehouse and talked to people on duty so that we knew the fire location. At that time we decided to head back to our house. I left the propane tank on when I left and we were worried that if the pilot blew, another fire might start. It was safe for the time, so we headed out there.
It was dark. The fire was moving east but the wind was coming down the west side of the mountain. It seemed that the fire was creating its own wind pattern. As we crested Prestridge Hill Road the awesome glowing on the horizon made me feel kind of sad at the loss of the forest area, yet it also held me mesmerized.
At the house, we did what needed to be done, grabbed some family photographs and left as rapidly as possible.
As we departed from the house my heart felt sad knowing we might never see this place again. The drive out was quiet and frightening, as we were wondering if we would be able to get out safely.
We made it. The house made it. Bonita Vista was saved. The forest fire consumed over 16,000 acres. It made us sad to know of the losses of others. We are grateful that our area was spared.
It's a night I'll never forget.