Stand at EASE!!!
The first inkling we had that there was serious trouble was a call
from our former postmaster, informing us that the order was possible.
Then another that the order had been given.
Then, at approx. 0100, we heard a LOUD banging on the side of the
house and a Police car was outside w/ rotators rotating red and blue
and a voice telling us (as was priorly announced, by phone) to "bug
out" at 0800.
Un-COVER!!! (Silent prayer or contemplation.) In Jesus' Name I
We had been hearing about the fires (east of us) and the efforts of
the fire crews and aircrews to battle them. We had seen the aircraft
meeting each other, in rotation over the fires.
I had been watching for burning embers and fire on the ridge above us,
either of which would have shifted me into "emergency warp" and
I give extreme kudos to the firefighters, for their work, and to the
LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) who spread the word. I WAS, however,
not convinced of the necessity of the mandatory evac. order.
I could see the voluntary evac. but saw no cause for the mandatory.
Even when I obeyed the order (didn't make Master Sgt. [CA]) by
disobeying orders from legitimate authorities) I could see no "prima
facie" evidence that it was required.
The whole thing had made my wife a nervous wreck and some other people
of our acquaintance.
I had heard that people could see the fire from Fountain Springs and
was not surprised at this info. If you have a fire on a 10,000 ft.
ridge and you have a 6,000 ft. ridge between you and it, the farther
you travel from the 6,000 ft. ridge, the better angle you have to see
the fire on the 10,000 ft. ridge.
Also, though I STILL don't claim "sharpest knife in the drawer"
status, I know that fire burns faster uphill than it does downhill, as
can be demonstrated by holding one match
head-down (not for long) another match head-up and comparing the burn speed.
If trying this experiment, I suggest a lonng, fireplace match.
The main factor that can accelerate downhill burn is wind. When I
left, there was insufficient wind to cause concern, so I filed that
away in my "why" file.
At the meeting held by the authorities, at the Ducor School, I told
them that I was certain that my readers would want to know who issued
the order. Mr. Charlie Norman, the Tulare County Fire Chief identified
himself as the source. I had planned to ask more questions, at a later
date, and was visited by a Public Information Officer who said that
info. would be available.
As I was leaving, Sheriff Mike Boudreau informed me that until
midnight of the day the evac. order was issued, there had been a stiff
wind pushing the fire. THAT was the info. we were lacking. THAT made
it all make sense.
I r'c'd a call from the PIO, re-iterating that info. was available and
that Mr. Norman was available for interview. I called him and told him
that I was caught up in personal things, some related to the evac. and
would have to delay the interview. Since then, I have done my "due
diligence", collecting info from the news and have reached a
After due consideration, I have decided that I am glad that I didn't
have to make the decision to issue the order or delay it. With the
safety of so many people on the line I can't say that I WOULDN'T have
issued the order. Given the info. they had, I MIGHT have. Honestly, I
just don't know.
For myself, without my wife to consider, I believe I would have
stayed, until I saw the fire on the ridge above me, unless the stiff
breeze was blowing.
Burning embers would have been another accelerating factor.
So, bottom line, I commend all who were involved with the emergency,
including the volunteers who assisted with the evacuation and the
support of the evacuees.
The one suggestion I could make, to the authorities, is voluntary
co-operation beats obedience, every time. As 2nd ranking NCO at
Headquarters, I could give a lot of orders. Instead, I call my people
together and explain our mission and what is needed from each of them.
Given this history, if I start barking orders, people pick up on the
sense of urgency and jump.
So, "We have a fire at this location, pushed by this wind, traveling
this speed and we expect it to threaten you at approx. this time, so
be prepared to evac. at this time." would be a reasonable 1 sentence
alert, to accompany an evac. order. It contains all of the necessary
information to inspire willing co-operation, Who, What, When, Why &
Still, given the possible danger and the orderly manner in which the
evac. was conducted, I have to say HOOAAHHH!!!
On your FEET!!! Un-COVER!!
Thank You Father for getting us through all of this and sending us
leaders who could "Gett'er done!" We, still have a lot of problems,
especially with this election, so please keep us safe. We ask your
protection on our protectors, wherever and however they serve. In all
things I thank You and praise You and, especially, I thank You for the
Gift and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Lord and Savior, in
Whose Name I pray,
Sgt. Mack, out, leaving the air and closing station.
All opinions stated in this class are the opinions of the instructor
and may not reflect the opinions of the Editor and publisher.