Monday, July 22, 2013


 Friday - July 19, 2013

I awaken to the smell of smoke drifting through the open door to the north deck.  I would have rather smelled breakfast or coffee.  I love the aroma of brewing coffee but I do not like the taste.  

Walking out to the deck, I see a light covering of fine, white ash and large chunks of dead embers.  I was thankful that they did not ignite the roof or the deck as we slept.  

I have enlarged this photo to show that this ember was hot when it landed in the drive.  

The decomposed granite of the driveway can be seen as tiny white specks in the lower right of the large ember.  God's mercies rained down on Pine Cove right with the hot embers.  

Looking away from the fire, the view is deceiving. It looks so serene and peaceful.  

Yet looking toward I-10 and Banning, California, there is another scene.  

 But the DC-10 is back to drop more fire retardant to delay the fire's progress toward the south ridge.  

Two Air Force reserve C-130's with a capacity of carrying 2,700 pounds of fire retardant.  

Health officials warned of risk of prolonged exposure to smoke and ash.  We were using saline solution and eye allergy drops often to relieve our itchy eyes.  We also were taking decongestants and antihistamines.   Thank goodness we had our wet bandannas.  

The fire has now covered 24,500 acres.  Thirty-three hundred firefighters are now battling the  fire and did slow the fire down overnight.  

The cost of fighting the fire has reached eight and a half million dollars.  Thirty-three hundred firefighters are hard at work.  Ninety-five percent of the fire has been on federal lands, thus far.  

But the fire has developed into two fires.  One on the southern edge and the other closer to Idyllwild and Pine Cove, where we the north.  This northern fire is the one that would like to get us.  At the southern edge Palm Springs was being threatened.  

A voluntary evacuation was issued for Pine Cove.  We elected to stay until a manditory evacuation was declared.  After seeing those embers, we wanted to protect the roof and deck.  

These photos are of the smoke from the fire directly behind the cabin one mountain away.  

Again, you can see the pillar of smoke rising into the white cloud of moisture and ice crystals.  

With about ninety-eight percent of the clearning completed, we were able to follow the guidelines for preparing homes and cabins for fire damage.  

All window coverings had to be removed.  All decor was removed from the walls and furniture was moved to the center of the cabin.  

The cabin has huge windows and doors on three sides, making it extremely difficult to push the furniture away from immediate danger.  

And, firefighters do not want to stumble over furniture to protect a home.  So, we piled high!  What a mess.  

The recommendations were that occupants fill garbage cans and other containers with water and place them around the residence.  We overfilled the hot tub to help provide extra water.  

Every available container that was of any size was filled to the top with water.  

It was also requested that ladders be made available for firefighters use. Jojo placed them where they would be immediately seen.

 One request that Jojo did not feel comfortable with was that they asked that if we evacuated, we leave the cabin unlocked.  

Jojo was concerned about looting, so signs were made giving firefighters permission to break glass if they needed to enter the cabin. 

No bushes around the back!  

The smoke continued to rise and darken a beautiful blue sky.   The concern about a sudden collapse of the cloud continued.  What a disaster that would have been for Pine Valley.  

After a short break, it was back to the fire prevention. 

There were some mighty tall Pines and Live Oak hovering over the house.  At first look, it looked impossible to do anything about them.  Jojo's chain saw was too small to accomplish such a task.  So she did what she could do....she tackled them from the top. (she always a monkey.)  There has never been a task too big for her to attack.  

When she came down from the roof, she was exhausted. Unknowingly, while on the roof, she had some black embers on her hand and had rubbed under her nose giving her a beautiful mustache.  

That is one tired lady!   Did I ever tell you all how proud I am of this daughter of mine?   

After showers and a bite, it was time to tell the moon goodnight and to thank God for another day of safety provided for the firefighters and ourselves.  

The moon was not hidden by smoke and ash this time.  But we were faced with the possibilities of thunderstorms with lightning during the night.  If lightning struck in the forest, there could be another fire for the overworked fighters to attack. 

Good night, God bless!


  1. This is horrible...I pray you have the strength to do what you need to do. God Bless!

  2. Your daughter is one amazing woman. You have every right to be so very proud of her.

  3. You two are both amazing for being able to tackle all those jobs. I didn't know anything about how to prepare a place if a fire was near.

    All the water sources were a great idea.

  4. Thank goodness for the rain! I am thankful that Idyllwild and Pine Cove are safe.

  5. So good to get this update, Nan. Glad to see how well you all have done and that things are ok. My grandmother lived in Sierra Madre, on the other side of the San Gabriel mountains for 60 years, right at the edge of the brush. I can't count the times she spent long nights on her roof with a hose, but I don't think she ever did the kind of preparation that you did. It was interesting to read how it is done and what is needed. Stay safe.

  6. How terrible. Thinking and praying for you.

  7. Good luck with the impending fire and hope all goes well for you guys.

  8. WOW...some amazing photos ! You all worked so very hard to preserve the cabin! I especially like the photo of Nancy Jo with the mustache.......LOL! We hope to see you before you leave Southern California! Maybe today!


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