Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Robbers Fire

I went out on to the deck last Wednesday afternoon to take a look at what might be wilting in the garden during our 98+ degree heatwave. The leaves were drooping everywhere, but this is what caught my eye:
That's not a big billowy cloud. It's a plume of smoke. I called Roger to come take a look, and I grabbed the camera. This is the Robbers Fire. It had started just a few minutes before I clicked the photo. We've been keeping an eye on the fire since then.
By Thursday there was a steady drift of white smoke across the southeastern sky. The fire had grown to 700 acres. We learned that it's burning in a very steep canyon along the American River about twelve miles southeast of us.
By Friday, the fire was 1300 acres and moving steadily northeast, out of our direction. However, we started smelling the smoke that morning, and the haze became quite persistent. On Saturday, the fire was 1900 acres and only 20% contained.
This is our hazy backyard, Sunday morning. That sky should be as blue as the top photo, but as you can see the haze has definitely taken over. By 11:00 AM, the fire had grown to 2250 acres. There are 2000 firefighters on the scene. The governor called in five National Guard units as well.
There's nothing we can do but wait and see what happens. All day and night the tankers and helicopters fly overhead. They are working non-stop. There's something about waking in the night and hearing the planes, knowing they are out there in the dark working so hard while we've been sleeping. Gratitude hardly touches it.
Late Sunday afternoon update: We read in the online news that CalFire called in the DC10. We wondered what that meant. We walked out on the deck to the look at the sky and saw this huge plane. Here's what it can do: The DC-10 Airtanker is able drop as much as 12,000 gallons of retardant in as little as eight seconds. The aircraft uses a computerized gravity-feed water dump system that is essentially a modified and scaled-up version of the system used by Erickson Air-Crane on its S64 helicopter. The drop rate, controlled from the cockpit, is governed by the opening of the tank doors.

To see it flying over our yard was a crazy big surprise.


  1. You and the others that live near the fire are in my thoughts.

  2. I sure hope it doesn't come toward you.

  3. I've experienced that quite a few times over the years. It's always scary. The worst was when we got notified we might have to evacuate and had to decide what to take into our daughter's in town. What do you save?

  4. I am wishing rain in your direction! Best of luck to you.

  5. Oh robin, how very scary. I hope they get it under control soon and you feel none of the direct effects. Please keep us informed. Only good thoughts coming your way that it can be contained.
    I do hope you have a plan B just in case.

  6. Sounds like you have a front row seat.
    Take care.
    And have your bug out bag ready.

  7. I feel worry for you and sorrow for all the beings who lose their homes or perish in that inferno.
    I understand that fires are natural; but human meddling in the environment has made them much more dangerous.
    Anyone benefiting from the work of the firefighters had better not vote for Romney!

  8. How frightening that must be, even if it seems to be burning the other way. How wonderful those firefighters are. Here's hoping they can contain the fire sooner rather than later.

  9. Thinking of you! Be safe.... MandT

  10. That is pretty scary stuff.
    I hope it can be contained soon.
    I wonder how all the critters(2 legged/four legged)are fairing.

  11. What a frightening experience; may you keep safe.

  12. Too common a scenario throughout the southwest these days. Hope the firefighters are able to get it under control. Weather conditions are so important. Heat and wind are such enemies in steep canyons.

  13. I'm keeping you both and your beautiful home in my heart, Robin, with fervent wishes for it to keep moving away from you. I can hardly think of anything more threatening, or frightening, than a wildfire. Hugs for you and Roger.

  14. the sight of that DC10 flying so low is pretty darned impressive.

    Though the fire is far away, you are getting plenty of smoke in your air - and lungs.

    The winds blew hard all day today and I kept wondering how it was blowing in the foothills just an hour away. I haven't ck'd the news.

  15. Thinking of you and those in your area.

    Astonishing to see that huge plane flying by so close to you.

    Just checked the news which said it is 50% contained and should be completely contained by Saturday. I hope so.