Wednesday Sept. 2, 2009, 3:20 PM
Well, we are finally back in our home.
I woke up at about 5:00 AM on Saturday, and although there did not seem to be any immediate fire danger, the smoke and ash were very thick. As the sun came up, the falling ash looked like grey snow, and it was difficult to breathe.. Finally about 7:45 AM I woke Robin, and told her we had to get out of here.
We threw a few things in the car, along with the two dogs and the cat and drove up to our place in Lake Arrowhead. We were already gone, but apparently, a mandatory evacuation notice was issued about 11:00 AM, and the sheriffs came by and told everyone to leave.
We don't have a landline phone at Arrowhead, so no internet, but we kept in touch with cell phone. Our son Greg (who lives in Humboldt County) started monitering the internet and keeping us informed. He started a blog listing all the internet sites concerning the "Station Fire," including the City of La Canada Flintridge site which has an active website that has been updated hourly with detailed information as to closures and evacuations. Some of the news reports and the website updates were getting their information off Greg's blog--pretty funny, since he lives almost 700 miles away.
We were also kept up to date via cell phone connection with a few neighbors, some of whom stayed at their homes in spite of the mandatory evacuation orders. We are very indebted to them and their willingness to share their "on-the-site" observations. \
At about 5:30 PM last evening, it came over the radio that the mandatory evacuation notice had been lifted. Unfortunately, our cat had decided that the bedspread made a much more attractive place to do his business than the litter box, so when the notice was announced over the radio, we had just put the huge bedspread and the sheeets in the washing machine at the laundermat. The washing, rinsing and drying cycle takes over an hour, and it takes another half hour to get back to our home at Arrowhead, and then two hours to drive back to La Canada.
So, we decided to stay there last night, and come home this morning. Unfortunately, when we were ready this morning to come home, the Damn cat couldn't be located. He finally came back about 1:00 PM, and we drove home and arrived about 3:00 PM.
It is nothing short of miraculous. There are almost sixty houses in our neighborhood, all of them backed up to the Angelus National Forest, AND NOT ONE SINGLE HOUSE WAS LOST.
The fire burned down to within a few feet of the landscaping, but was stopped, not only before it burned our house, but stopped before it burned our landscaping--Amazing!!! Even our pine trees were saved.
Everything is a mess. A thick layer of ash covers everything. Our pool is black with ash and soot. The house reeks of smoke, but there is no permanent damage.
Anyway, that's the latest report on the Gehr saga--we're all fine, and our house is fine, as are the houses of all our neighbors. God was keeping watch over us--and so were the heroic firemen who risked their lives to save our property.
Bill & Robin