To be entirely honest, even though I live up here, I still have a hard time getting my head around just how large and just how dangerous some of these forest fires can be. The fire up here, still safely distant from us, has now reached sixteen thousand acres in size — it’s a number that sounds big, but it’s still strangely hard to comprehend. What helps to put it into context a little, though, is the scale of the response.
But even knowing those numbers, I find it difficult to picture a fire that needs over a hundred fire engines and almost two thousand people to work it — and which, even with those hundred plus engines, is still only fifteen percent contained, and still growing. To the credit of the fire crews working it, the growth of the fire has slowed sharply since the beginning, so I can only imagine they’re doing a fine job.
It’s strange to imagine it being so close, though. Part of me would like to drive out in its direction, to see it — but another, altogether more sensible part is content to leave it be, and to make sure the fire crews have all the space they could possibly want to work it. I’ve already seen a forest fire once, from a distance, when my wife, myself and our friends stood on a porch, cheering an air-tanker as it dropped — and that fire was only a tenth of the size of this one. I don’t suppose I really need to see another.
After some progress against the fire, it seems there’s been a setback, possibly because of higher winds — instead of moving towards the empty desert area, it’s been driven north-east back into the mountains. The fire has grown to over 23,000 acres, and is potentially threatening a few of the residential areas now.