Ruth–Watching Homes Burn
“Sandy called me from the lookout. She was on duty.” Peggy Phillips recalled how she first heard of the fire that forced her and her husband from their home. “I noticed the smoke coming over our house and I went up the mountain to see around.” She called her friend again and was concerned for her because Sandy said, “It’s crossed the river and it looks like it is going by my house.” But by the time Peggy manged return to her own home, the mountain behind her house was ablaze. “The wind was howling. The hillside was on fire.” She ran inside to save a few things and grab her medicine. “I knew I needed my insulin. I couldn’t think. I grabbed my computer. I didn’t grab my clothes or food or drink or anything.”
“My husband is a gun collector. He put all his guns and our dogs in the RV.” In between, she said, “He was trying to put out little fires all around. He told me to leave.” She headed down the road in one vehicle. “As I was coming down the road, I could see people were losing their homes.” One of the neighbors, she said, was remodeling his place. He had a fifth wheel and another trailer. Those caught on fire. “Lots of structures–barns and garages…three homes..weekend homes but homes were lost. A newlywed couple lost their double wide trailer across the river.”
Peggy and her husband, Joe, didn’t lose their house but they lost almost everything else. “Five years worth of oak firewood went up in flames…so did the chainsaw…the splitter lost its wheels but it was there.” Joe, Peggy said, “…lost a building that he had just built…all his tools that he kept just so…the mill…The chicken house is gone. The chickens are running around loose. I’m afraid they’re going to die.”
Our whole road is just trashed. One of our trees…we called it the Bee Tree because [Joe] climbed that tree after a swarm of wild bees trying to capture the queen. I looked at it last night…all the limbs are gone except right at the top.”
“I’m thankful, very, very thankful for my home,” she said. “But, I keep thinking about the things we lost….It’s too hard to start over when you are 65/66 years old.”
The latest information from the Ruth Fire as per Dottie Simmons (who blogs near Dinsmore) and her Facebook updates:
There was a meeting to update the residents at 8 pm on last night. Dottie [and Peggy both] went. Here’s Dottie’s status update after the meeting.
“1500 acres. 10% contained. Road 23 also closed as fire jumped it (see map…). 450 crew on fire. 5 Helicopters, at least 4 air tankers. Fire command center at the Flying AA. Trinity Deputies in restricted area to keep unauthorized people from coming in, and to secure properties until owners can return. Road at Ruth still closed at this time. Animal Control available to help with livestock. Contact Trinity Sheriff’s office if pets need feeding or other needs. Contact S.T. Clinic if need medications, oxygen. Will be setting up filtered air ‘clean air’ rooms at clinic & in Ruth for those with breathing problems. Red Cross continuing to maintain center for those who need food, shelter, etc.
Access to homes in restricted area no sooner than Tuesday 9/27. Hope to get it safe enough to open road in 48 hours. Power out, many damaged/down wires, poles. Falling trees.”
For a little more information than Dottie’s excellent report go to the incident page here.
UPDATE: Just a reminder there is a meeting today (Sept 25) at 3 at the Ruth Fire Hall to update those effected on the situation.
UPDATE 10:55am 9/25: The fire is now 25% contained with full containment not expected for a week. Minimal fire spread expected due to morning rain.
Photo from Peggy Phillip’s Facebook page used with her permission.
Map of the Ruth Fire from the wonderful Ruth Lake, Ca Facebook page. This is a useful page. Very informative. Social media at its best!