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Monday, June 16, 2008

Stay Safe Everyone

Normally when I walk my dog each day it looks like this outside. Sometimes it's cool, sometimes it's hot but the skies are usually clear and blue. At the very most there might be a light cloud cover.

So imagine my shock when Kitai and I left the house for our walk and saw this humongous dark cloud of smoke making it's way directly towards us. We live miles away from the Martin wildfire that's been burning for several days in the town of Bonny Doon near Santa Cruz. I'd seen it on the news but honestly? It felt like a world away on tv. All it took was a shift in the wind and the smoke was upon us. (ETA: Turns out this was most likely smoke from the "Indian Fire" in Monterey County)

Within 20 minutes our neighborhood was in the dark. The sky was full of smoke and the sun was obliterated. It was amazing how quickly it happened. 

That day the sky had been blue all morning and afternoon, can you believe behind all of that smoke was a blue sky?

I can't even imagine what the smoke must have been like for the residents in the Santa Cruz mountains. I read the fire was contained two days later. One news story stressed the importance of green belts around structures you want to protect when wildfires break out. Here are some great tips about how to protect your home if you live in a rural area:

- Create a 100 ft. green belt around your home, barns and storage sheds
- Keep trees pruned up off the ground and remove underbrush
- Landscape with fire resistant plants
- Move woodpiles away from your home
- Keep roofs clean from needles, leaves and pine cones (I bet his would include keeping gutters clear of debris)
- Ensure driveways are safe and capable of being used by large fire district equipment

This information is from the Lake Chelan Fire Department's website.

Stay safe everyone!

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