August 13, 2015 at 10:26 pm #6466
Update noon Aug. 13: Cathy Koehler began her email this morning with a big “Whew,” one day after the Jerusalem fire closed in on a half-dozen homes in Morgan Valley just outside UC Davis’ McLaughlin Natural Reserve. Fire crews saved all of the homes — one of which belongs to Koehler and her husband, Paul Aigner, who are the McLaughlin reserve’s co-resident directors.
Flames did not get as close to the reserve’s field station about a mile and a half away from the Morgan Valley homes. “As for the reserve facilities, 360 degrees around the headquarters is still unburned,” Koehler said.
Wildfires have been lapping around and on the 7,000-acre reserve since July 30, putting Koehler and Aigner on the edge of their seats, constantly, watching and preparing as flames were at this edge or that edge of the reserve or Morgan Valley.
Koehler estimated the Rocky fire and Jerusalem fires together had charred 3,000 to 4,000 acres.
The crisis for homeowners culminated Wednesday (Aug. 12) “in a massive convergence of fire centers from the east, south and west,” Koehler said in her email. “All the chaparral to the east and north of our house burned, and pretty much all the grasslands in Morgan Valley.
“It’ll be a while before we feel threatened by fire again. All of our house and back compound is absolutely fine. Our water line supplying the house water is probably melted … need to investigate that.”
“Once we got back into Morgan Valley after fleeing the converging fire fronts, when most of the fire had simmered down, Paul and I quenched two grass fires burning at the toe of the hill that could have run up the hill and come near the facilities.
“There is still a chance that the various slopes around the field station will burn today; there are still a lot of small fire spots out there and the typical daily pattern is calm morning, rebuilding of heat midday and flareups in the afternoon.
“Just need to see what today brings. But the worst of it is over.”
Recovery is going to take a while, Koehler said. “A lot of fences to replace burnt posts on, melted water lines in the valley, road reshaping, and preparing for erosion prevention if the predicted El Nino happens.
“It is going to be ONE AMAZING wildflower year next spring!”
See Cathy and Paul’s photo album of the Rocky and Jerusalem fires, on Facebook.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.