backbone thru windshield

Evacuating Pine-Strawberry due to the Backbone Fire.

This is what it looked like leaving home. But not what it felt like. A picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes. We’ve seen hundreds of pictures and videos of every angle of the Backbone Fire. Do those pictures show the tears, the stress, and the frustration?

Friday afternoon, the world, our little mountain world, started moving very fast as word spread — well, like wildfire. Phones were ringing, texts were flying and social media was abuzz with mostly good information.

It was “Go” time in Pine-Strawberry, the first-ever total evacuation as a lightning fire 12 miles away became a hungry monster consuming its way to our paradise.

We left with what we thought was important. Our family, our friends and the furry, feathered and even scaled critters we call family. We gathered what we could.

But we left our home. The place we felt safe, in spite of fiery threats. The place we rested, hid from the world, partied or celebrated family traditions. We worried for our neighbors, animals we could not take. Yet we drove away.

Some stayed. Pine-Strawberry Fire Department has all hands on deck, and they will be there for the duration. Uncle Tom’s Kwik Stop, Ponderosa Market and Pine Provisions are just the three I know about so far that kept some staff and stayed to service those personnel from so many different agencies.

Some homeowners stayed. Some are assisting, some are just there to protect their property and some had nowhere to go. Most are being pretty quiet on social media, because they are busy.

We — the majority left, knowing firefighters would risk their lives for what we left behind. We cried, we struggled; we have sat for hours scrolling social media for every scrap of information.

I had a plan that included two people, four horses and two large dogs. I had a plan. Many did not and thank you to all who are helping them. Our plan changed a bit, but thanks to family, and friends who are like family, we got out in time and safely. We are safe to wait this out.

But we are imposing; relying on others. We paid it forward by helping and housing other evacuees from fires past. Now it’s our turn, it doesn’t make it easier.

I will continue to cover this fire from inside the hearts of our Pine-Strawberry family. And I will ask this. Please only post or share confirmed information. The Backbone Fire Type 1 team has excellent access to information.

But the gal who retired just two months ago from the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department, our own Stacy Figueroa, is back at the job keeping us informed. Please go to her Facebook page, Stacy Figueroa PSFD, follow and share. She is keeping us informed and we know we can trust her.

I hope all living beings are safe. Know this, things can be replaced, but you cannot.

Thank you to all fighting the angry flames to protect the sticks, blocks and mortar we left behind.

I will see you on the other side of this. We have more backbone than this fire.

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