18 Fire

18 Fire on Bessie ButteWe were on evacuation alert last night as a 600-acre wildfire burned only 3 miles or so from our house. We didn’t have to evacuate, thankfully, as the fire was moving south, away from any developments, but it sure made for an interesting evening.

Here’s two links to local stories about the fire: Bend.com and The Bend Bulletin. I even have a couple of pictures I took myself, of Bessie Butte, where the fire was burning; there’s two resolutions: one at 640×480, and another at 1024×768.

The fire is “officially” known as the “18 Fire” and less-officially also known as the “Bessie Butte Fire”. It was probably started by a lightning strike (though there’s no official word on that yet), and began burning enough to be noticed yesterday (Wednesday) around 1:30 PM. There was a terrific smoke plume; a friend described it as though an atomic bomb had been dropped. It could be seen for miles. Almost immediately they had fire crews fighting it, and the big airtankers were dropping retardant all over the area. I even saw a helicopter with a water bucket lowering to fill up in a pond as I was driving home.

But all is well. I’ll post updates if there’s any further developments.

Wildfire

This weekend saw the outbreak of the Davis Fire, located about 12 miles southwest of LaPine. Not close enough to us to pose any threat, but today the winds shifted (a “wind inversion” over Bend, the news reported) and smoke from the fire blanketed the area, making everything hazy. So much so, in fact, that the light was tinted red-orange, and the sun was so obscured as to appear as a red disk. Eerie.

And around noon, we noticed that ash was falling, like light snow.

And the fire season opens with a bang.