Saturday August 22, 2020 Guerneville CA.
Another fire day
First thing this morning the fire truck guys came in at my house to check on things as they were going to help protect the houses if the fire got away from them and came our way. They checked us out and continued up the road to check more houses out.
Fire prevention around the houses
My brother Barry came in when my brother Tom came back as he’d left the area for the night. We all worked on cleaning stuff away from all the houses and were beat.
Dirt bike ride
I wanted to take my brother Barry out on a dirt bike ride as I knew he’d enjoy going to all the old places we used to ride in our younger days, but he needed to help Tom some more but I was too beat to do that, but I could still ride the dirt bike so off I went up into the hills to see what was going on.
Fire’s slowly moving into the state park
I left and rode the bike up onto the top of Bald Mountain here where I could look down into the state park. I thought the fire guys dropped water on the fire down there near the park last night but the guys said they didn’t so it was still slowly creeping down into the park but not too bad. Things were a bit smoky looking down on the park.
This is looking down he hill towards Robert’s house and also the upper end of Hulbert creek where the fire was slowly creeping into. I’ll go down to Hulbert creek a bit later as a hot spot is developing down there.
I moved on and decided to go check out Bull Frog Pond, a state camp spot.
Bull Frog Pond
On the way down I ran into these park guys falling some burning trees and I chatted with them a bit before continuing down to Bull Frog Pond.
I rode on to Bull Frog Pond going around some fallen trees on the road.
Headed to the hermits house
I decided to take a shortcut to the hermits along the trail that goes by the pond there so I got on it and ran into this that says killer tree. I quickly scooted through there. That lets me know there is a tree that burned here and might fall over at any time.
Can’t go, turn around
Pond Farm Pottery
I saw fire trucks at Margarite’s Pond Farm Pottery. They were cutting lines around the structure to protect it as the fire I just saw on the trail was burning this way. I stopped to chat for a bit then moved on down the main road.
Hermit’s road in
When I got to the hermits road the gate was open so I rode on in, but when I got to here I had to stop and think about it. I did ride through and it was very hot. Once through I decided it wasn’t safe and turned around and started back down the hill.
But I was thinking if I waited a bit the fire might quickly pass over so I turned around again and went back to watch it. It was working on crossing the road so decided to come back a bit later maybe with my brother. You can see things got hotter and smoky, not safe.
Well it was a good time to ride back up the hill and go check out what’s going on in the Hubert creek area as there’s some house down there of people I know. I was a long way in and I found people at the Buchanan place. I’m sure I spelled that wrong.
He wasn’t there and had left but there where neighbors and other people there working on holding the fire back that was heading for the house. I think they’ll make it as the fire was moving very slow. I talked with them a bit then wished them luck and rode back towards the park coming down in the theater part and rode on home.
Gotta have some fun
I headed down through the park and broke every law I could, speeding and going through all the stop signs just because I could.
At the parking lot entrance I saw these guys over there doing something with a horse so I rode over but that was a mistake as the horse didn’t like the dirt bike much and they were having a real time trying to get the horse to load. I apologized and left as quiet as I could. As it turned out I was back here in less than a half hour and they were still trying to load the horse.
Chasing down my brother
When I got home Tom told me my brother Barry just took off up into the hills on his dirt bike so I hopped back on the bike to see if I could head him off going back up through the park and I found him up there by stopping often and listening for his bike noise.
The fire was burning up to their house and they were ready. But for now they were calm and taking it easy under the tree just waiting for the fire to hit there. I think they will be ok as Robert was pretty well prepared for a fire, they had the big fire hoses out and ready to go.
Barry and I chatted with them for a bit then I said good luck and we rode on to the top or Bald Mountain. Like me, Barry hadn’t been to the top of this since the old days abut 50 years ago.
Now that the smoke had mostly cleared from when I was up here an hour earlier we could see what the fire was doing in the park.
Fire in the park
Right now you could see the fire had moved into the park proper. The smoke in the middle is on the ridge between the picnic grounds and the theater. Not good but it’s still not in the big trees on the valley floor.
The fire is burning slow here which means it shouldn’t do too much damage to the big old trees when and if it burns down into them. There are no fire fighters in the park and it’s real rugged where it’s now burning and air support is too busy in other real hot places on the fire.
Air tankers big time drops at Mount Jackson
It was almost 7PM and we could see across to where there was a real hot spot at Mount Jackson and all of a sudden the planes started coming in and making drops, lots of them as this hot spot if not stopped can burn down into Rio Nido, Guerneville and beyond and maybe come back and get my house. They’ve had a lot of trouble in this spot as it’s so rugged. They really worked that spot over and were doing so as we left to continue our ride. The red spot is the fire drop not the fire. Mount Jackson is in the smoke just left of center. It’s now a big communication sight and used to be a fire look out tower.
Trying to get to the hermits house
We continued down the hill towards Pond Farm and tried the trail again but it was too much fire there so we turned around and went up the road the trail left from to here. Now this house was here less then an hour ago when I came by but now it was gone.
We rode up the road some more to check things out for old times then headed back to the main rode down the hill which goes into the park.
They saved the Pottery place
Tried the main road in to the hermits but
So Barry and I took the road to the hermits house that I was on earlier that I had to turn back on. The fire was approaching the park where the Stewards work shop is about a quarter mile below this spot with lots of dry grass leading down there. We’ll check that out on the way down but right now we were on the way to check out the hermits place. That tree was flashing off as we went by so we stopped and watched it do it. this is just above the Stewards work shop area.
We tried to ride up the road to the hermits and were making it but ran into a tree across the road that neither Barry or I had the energy to move so we had to turn around again and couldn’t check out the hermits house, maybe I can do that tomorrow.
Stewards work shop area
One more spot to check out
From there we went home for a short break but it was going to get dark and we still wanted to check out one more spot.
We wanted to go up Sweetwater springs road to see how things were fairing and a friend wanted me to check out some houses to see if some peoples houses were burned or not.
Fire burned up above the mine but not below it
We rode up to the old mine. The fire hadn’t burned it or anywhere below this spot so the houses I was to check on are below this and safe for now.
We used to ride this road in the old days as it’s one of the places we played. I said to Barry doesn’t riding this road remind you of old times. Yes it does and it was a lot of fun.
We rode up to a friends house, Bryce Austin’s to see how it faired and it was still standing and didn’t burn but all around it, it did burn.
We rode down to Bryce’s orchard and found his tractor had burned.
Oh, oh, the sheriff
It was getting close to dark and the bikes didn’t have any lights so we had to get down the hill and back to our houses so we headed back down the hill making good time until we got down by the old mine when we ran into a sheriffs car which put his lights on us right away so we stopped.
The cop that got out was a bit nasty and said do you know looters ride motor bikes in situations like this and did we know this was a mandatory evacuation. I explained we’ve been doing fire work, but he wouldn’t have it and said he’d arrest us and take us to jail if he saw us out again after checking out our ID’s.
I explained and it helped
So my brother took off for home but I stayed for a bit explaining what we had been doing for the fire guys and neighbors to the other cop which had his head on better than the first guy. But the first guy was listening and calmed down and even smiled a bit and then I left and went on home tired out from working so hard this morning and having so much fun today.
Nice day, even though I almost got arrested.