Listen How Two Firefighters Died

Late July 2018 is now historically infamous in Redding.  The Carr fire started on July 23rd as a no-threat fire in Whiskeytown that officials thought would be quenched on the same day it began.  But now it’s August 2nd, and the fire has burned through 126,000 acres.  Even with help from 176 fire fighters from Australia and New Zealand, the fire still rages with 65% of it uncontrolled.

Last night before going to bed, the last thing I read was that firefighters were guarding containment lines to make sure the fire respected the very expensive boundaries they have labored to set.  Their efforts in doing so were successful, but the fire scored more than they did and swallowed another 4000 acres overnight.

The air quality steadily ranks on the low side of “unhealthy” due to particles, but the underlying ozone is green and good today.  I am going to take a little 15 minute run; it’s been strange to be sequestered in our house.

The weather is less severe today and lower still this weekend (down to highs of 97 degrees), but the forecasts say that red hot Redding heat has not yet run its course.  Triple digit temperatures are still expected almost daily with spikes of 107 and 108 next week.

The firefighters, oh, the firefighters.  Continuously they battle scorching hotness, heaving dryness and constant danger.  Marathon firefighting has got to be the most important and difficult “sport” in the world.  Every minute counts.  I keep praying they each rest and get replenished.

Yesterday from an insider Jim and I were told how the two firefighters died.  Horror of horrors, Jeremy Stoke, a fire inspector, was victimized by the fury of a firenado.  Imagine an angry cyclone made of mocking fire overturning his formidable fire truck and killing him by the rolling of the huge vehicle he was in.  He was surely burned after that, but the direct cause of death was wind, not fire.

The other firefighter, Don Smith, was a bulldozer driver hired by a private company who contracted with Cal Fire.  He, too, was overtaken by the tsunami like waves of the over-rushing fire-wind that lifted up his bulldozer as if it were a trashcan and cruelly dumped him out.

I am speaking my own concrete, vivid language.  The insider simply told us that a firenado sent Jeremy’s firetruck into a fatal, rolling spin and that Don, the bulldozer driver, apparently had no mental category for a fire producing a wind that could effortlessly lift a bulldozer.

After doing a little research, my guess is that the bulldozer itself must have weighed between 8 and 104 tons, no less than 16,000 pounds or maybe 50,000 pounds.  To indulge in the tragedy of dark humor, the Carr Fire (pun intended) treated the bulldozer like a “Hot Wheel” (this pun intended too, not for laughs, but rather for a more sobering perspective).

That’s how Herculean this bully fire is.

So Lord, we pray for the firefighters.  Please send Your warring angels to help them out.




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