Fire Interrupts – A Washington Fire Story – part 4

Wednesday – August 26, 2015

Each night the smoke settles in the valley behind the house. We wait a bit this morning before going out, we are hoping it will lift later in the day like yesterday. That will be the ideal time to go out.

I wander around the kitchen each morning a little lost because my routine has been messed up. I usually grab a quick green shake, but Mom doesn’t like to keep anything perishable in the fridge because we shut it off at night and she is really picky about perishable food. We don’t have a stove for oatmeal, but it does occur to me I could get instant packet oatmeal temporarily. I settle on two fiber bars and water.

Marc keeps looking at this online map that shows the fires’ activity. One has crossed Hwy 155 up North of Nespelum. The fire seems to be coming back this way and meeting in the middle of the map, burning the areas it missed previously. Now that our area is burned, I find myself avoiding news of the fire. It’s such a heavy burden and there are so many families still being evacuated. I pray for those families, rain and the smoke to clear.

I make it down to the Library today. Turns out, whatever day it was that I went crazy putting “holds” on every encyclopedia I found interesting, I put a hold on The Encyclopedia of Hardy Plants which turned out to be a stroke of foresight, because now we have several acres we need to landscape with “fire retardant” plants, rocks, trees and bushes (if there are such). I’m wondering if that as seen on TV hydro-foam grass works as good as it says it does. I also got the Visual Encyclopedia of dinosaurs, which has nothing to do with fixing our landscape, it’s just awesome!

Thursday – August 27, 2015

Life, interrupted by fire, has been extremely sedentary. We are forced to stay inside due to poor air quality. Our generators are running air through filters in the house, but I can’t use the treadmill because it runs on electricity. I tripped a breaker yesterday, trying to use a hot plate. We’ve been eating out a lot more than normal. Anytime you shake up someone’s life, even someone as adaptable as me, it takes time to adjust. Eating out & missing my morning green shakes makes me feel unhealthy. Marc bought me some greens, but after the hot plate fiasco, I’m concerned about using the blender.

Mom went down to town late yesterday and Gramps was sitting outside without his mask. He has a hard time breathing with it on, so he doesn’t use it. Then in a moment of obvious frustration he said it didn’t matter anyway.

Marc found some masks, which we decided to make good use of.

man, girl and dog with mask

This morning I was watching Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life and I was reminded how I must be thankful and speak positive things. There is always something to be thankful for. When I woke up I blew my nose on a smoky smelling Kleenex and thought “this poor air quality is probably going to make me sick.” Then as I watched Joyce, she reminded me as a Christian I am able to speak and claim God’s word over my life. So now I say, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

My family and I were saved when the police door knocked last Thursday, and our house and property were saved on Friday, so I know I’m healed and protected from this toxic smoke today. Regarding my shaken up healthy food habits, I claim Exodus 23:25 “Worship the Lord your God and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.” I know it doesn’t mean I can eat whatever I want and God will turn it into veggies, or I can recklessly hang out in the smoke with no problems, but it does mean I will try to make healthy choices and God will always fulfills His Word.

12:34 pm – Dog starts barking furiously telling me someone is outside. It’s the Nespelum Electric and Ferry County PUD. They say they will have the electric fixed in 2 hours! Marc said they’ve pushed their dinner hour back to 9:00 p.m. so they can work as many daylight hours as possible. Thanks guys!

putting in electricity pole

2:14 pm – The electric is back on! Grandpa is back home with us too! Yay!

man on pole

4:30 pm – Marc tells me that the fire that was 20 miles away is now 14 miles away. Lord please send rain. The sky is clearer at the moment, but the wind that blows away the smoke also feeds the fire, so I’m ever aware that our improved air quality comes with a price.

6:39 pm – Mom and Marc both said when they were driving back from town they saw a huge plume of smoke to the East of the house. They think it’s the Tunk & Northstar Fires moving this way with the wind.

Friday – August 28, 2015

Today wasn’t notable except that I went outside to take pictures around 11:00 am and it was sprinkling rain on the deck! Send the rain Lord!

raindrops on deck

Technically we are still at level 3 evacuation, but since everything is burned around us we aren’t worried, but we are keeping our eyes open.

On FB I saw that someone called it Smokanogan (instead of Okanogan). Fortunately, there are clear skies tonight! It’s wonderful to see the sky again. At 9:03 pm, I go outside and take a picture of the lights of the town. It’s the first night I have seen them in over a week!

city lights at night

Saturday – August 29, 2015

This morning I woke up around 4:00 am and my throat was so sore. It was really smoky outside. Then I woke up again later hearing this weird sound, it was Marc replacing the house’s filter. He woke up and the house was filled with smoke, because the filter was black and had stopped working. In one week, the filter went from clean to unusable. The picture below shows a clean filter and the dirty one we took out this morning.

clean and dirty filter

No wonder my throat was hurting. I bet it was that way at 4 am when I woke up, but because it was dark, I couldn’t tell.

11:04 am – the electricity goes out again.

11:22 am – the rain is starting again! Maybe this is the rain the weatherman told us was supposed to come today.

1:04 pm – the news says there are severe dust storms in Spokane and lots of power outages. They aren’t sure when it will be on again. I’m thankful we have the generators going, so we have limited electricity and running water. The smoke has cleared quite a bit. Still praying for rain. Marc read me a joke earlier that 12 to 14 inches of rain in Okanogan means a rain drop every 12 to 14 inches apart. It’s not that funny at the moment. 🙂

2:59 pm – Desperation is the mother of creativity, or something like that. I wouldn’t say I’m desperately hungry, but enough to have a weird idea.

two hotdogs in a tea kettle

My two hotdogs cooked in my electric tea kettle are not going to win any awards, but my belly’s full.

4:04 pm – the electricity is back on! Thank you Jesus!

5:09 pm – the electricity flickers, but stays on.

5:57 pm – Marc just told me that Seattle is having severe wind storms. A 10-year-old girl and 36-year-old woman died from a falling tree or trees. It’s so sad. I, sometimes, think about how I’m not accomplishing or getting enough done in my life, but these two people were younger than me! Washington is having the worst fire season in history, but there are families and places out there suffering much more than my family.

Marc also said 500,000 people in Seattle have no electricity due to extreme weather! This is crazy, plus we didn’t get any rain today. I remember how the winter of ’96 or ’97, whichever it was, had so much snow, literally 6 months of the year, I came from that year hating winter and snow. In a low moment, hearing of all this disaster, I wonder if this will be the year that will make me hate summer!

I must remind myself not to complain, even though I admit I don’t understand why God hasn’t sent the rain. Today Joyce Meyer was reading the story of Lazarus in the Bible. The scripture says that when Jesus heard that his good friend, Lazarus, was sick, he waited two more days. He specifically waited. I know that God has some reason for waiting to send the rain, so I’ll keep praying for it and I’ll keep asking him to hurry and send it now, but I will also trust.

6:11 pm – I hear the wind gusting furiously against the outside of the house. Please send rain Lord.

This is probably my last blog in the Washington Fires Series. I was hoping to end with the miraculous story of a rain that quenched the fires over several states, but the rain hasn’t come yet, so I leave you with hope. Life rarely happens in the way we expect it to, and sometimes when we pray God’s answer is “no.” God hasn’t given me all the answers, but thankfully I can say He has given me one thing; peace.

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalms 9:10

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