Dog Blog

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's been a very long time between posts, so my apologies to anyone who visits my blog very often looking for new posts. I confess I'm more conscientious at journaling daily on paper than on a computer screen. I guess I spend too much time looking at one when I'm working.

On Monday I returned from a vacation cut short at beautiful South Lake Tahoe by the Angora firestorm, which is still threatening the area near Fallen Leaf Lake as well as Tallac Historic Site across Highway 89. I wrote about this area in my first novel, Howling Bloody Murder. I almost decided to go for a hike on Mount Tallac near Fallen Leaf on Sunday afternoon about the same time the fire was ignited by a careless tourist in the same vicinity. I'm so glad that I didn't!

I had planned to stay longer with Bubba and Peaches. It was Peaches' first Tahoe excursion, and both dogs were having such a grand time exploring the forest trails with me. But when the usually perfect blue sky filled with plumes of black smoke and the horizon glowed red-orange from the fire, I knew it was time to leave. When the year 'round residents in neighboring houses began loading up their cars in preparation to vacate the area, I grew concerned and did the same. I've never packed that fast in my life! It was really quite a frightening experience. I hosed down the back deck and surrounding property as best I could. I tried hosing the wood roof, too, but it was impossible to get much water on it without climbing up on top of it. Had those high winds shifted direction, our cabin could easily have suffered the same fate as others'. Dried pine needles and deadwood are everywhere at Tahoe, which creates ready and abundant fuel for the fire. Amazingly, homeowners have even been told they should cover the ground around their houses with pine needles to prevent erosion. I'm sure the TRPA will rethink that policy in the wake of this event.

I've been visiting Tahoe since childhood, and even though I know that a forest fire is always a danger in dry summers like these, I never really thought such a terrible disaster would actually occur right there in South Tahoe. You never know when and where a disaster will strike. It's so sad to see how many people have lost their homes. My first thought was for the safety of my dogs. I could probably have stuck it out because last I heard the fire is nearly 50% contained and probably will not burn in an eastward direction. However, I worried that I might be evacuated to a shelter in the middle of the night, and I could possibly have been separated from my dogs, as people were during Hurricane Katrina. I wasn't about to let that happen. Their safety and well being were my first concerns. When I left, the smoke had not yet filled the Tahoe basin, but by the next day it was very thick and would have make breathing difficult and hazardous for people with allergies or asthma, so I was wise to leave when I did.

When something devastating like this happens, you learn the value of being prepared for the worst, but you also learn what is most important in life, and it's never things. It's people and their pets.