Today has felt something like a miracle.
After a day of uncertainty, a lack of concrete information and speculation, we learned in the early evening that the town of Twisp had been elevated to a level 2 fire warning. This level means that you should be ready to leave “at a moment’s notice.”
As dusk fell shrouded in red tinged smoke and flurries of ash, the fires that have consumed over 200,000 acres but have been largely invisible from here became more real.
We donned our head lamps and spent the next two hours winnowing out our most prized or irreplaceable possessions and loading them into the car.
We had two invitations, one to camp in our friends’ yard in Mazama, north of the fires and another to stay in the vacant home of friends down river in a moist, heavily irrigated riparian zone. It was closer, so we opted to move closer to town–and the fires’ edge–for the safety of numbers and a wide green zone.
Once we parked and got out of our card, we saw them. Garish neon ref flames hovering over town like the flames in gas fired stoves. It was frankly a bit terrifying.
We fell asleep to the repeating sounds of sprinklers beating out their irregular tattoo against the shrubbery and windows. My very anxious dog woke me at dawn, only about five hours after I went to sleep. I took her outside into the breezy overcast day and then went back to sleep for another hour.
By 7:30, there was a small group of friends talking over the news in the driveway. After breakfast we drove to town to check out the generators that had come in at the pipe supply store. We ran to Hank’s for ice, but the case was empty. The parking lot was packed and a number of fire trucks and men in bright yellow jackets rested around the perimeter.
The cooler weather seems to have changed the fire. We came home in the early afternoon to see how it felt here and to clean up from our somewhat panicked escape. It felt great to be home. The sky was high and bright with a feeling like fall. It felt safe and right.
We’ll spend another night tonight sleeping down the road, just to be with our extended family and be closer to town and access to news. To rely on the safety of green grass and wet land.
We’re leaning into trusting that we’re safe here. That tomorrow we can sleep in our own beds. With the cars packed and ready to go if the fire shifts direction, we’re prepared for whatever comes.
What a blessing to have so many options.