Saturday, June 21, 2008
Lightning is Mean
You guys probably all think I'm a liar because I always have some crazy story to post. I guess you have no way of knowing if I'm telling the truth or not other than trusting me. And you're just gonna have to trust me about this one.
Remember how when my house almost burned down and we were running from the flames I said that it felt like War of the Worlds? Well, it did again today. Except for a different reason.
I couldn't sleep last night till after 5am. Because all the sudden around 3 am a chopper went bombing by then started flying loops. I wondered if they'd found the turd who set those fires (which are set to be contained by today) and if they were trying to catch him. Because a short while later there was this thumping sound and in the moonlight I studied the shadow of the birch tree outside my window. The shadow suddenly disappeared. I blinked a few times, wondering if my sleepy eyes had tricked me. The thumping grew louder and another chopper flew over, scanning the ground with a searchlight (which had shifted the shadows).
I turned on the scanner and listened for a long while yet still couldn't tell what was going on. People were being arrested and a CDF man was unconscious. Yikes.
I woke up a few hours later because my sister and mom wanted to go shopping. You see, there's such a thing as Mother's Day and Father's Day, but there's no Shash and Alex Day, so Alex and I declared that Shash and Alex Day is tomorrow. We were gonna go to Toys R Us to buy a fun pool toy to use in celebration of the day.
I was slow in getting up since I had little sleep and was complaining on the drive there since we all had short tempers for some reason. There was an uncharacteristically dark, tropical storm cloud brewing and I was hopeful for some rain. As I studied the grass fields on the side of the road I wondered aloud how grass burns (like, does it burn hot then exhaust its fuel and die out?).
Everything happens for a reason. We left late for a reason. We were in a bickering mood and focusing on the view out the windows than each other for a reason. I was thinking about grass fires for a reason.
A dark SUV headed towards us in the opposite lane. Suddenly the frame lit up with white light. The ground then jolted as thunder clapped. A few seconds later we noticed a man pull over. On the opposite side of the road was a broken power line, part of which was dangling above an oak, on fire.
We grabbed a cell to call 9-1-1 then my mom cried out in alarm. A few feet away the ground was on fire, licking a house fence. "We can try to help," my mom immediately stated as she pulled over. I grabbed my water bottle and Alex grabbed her Juice Squeeze and we ran over to the fire in our sandals and tank tops and shorts, getting as close to the burning heat as we could (I should add that it was 104 or more out). I felt like an idiot waving the water from my water bottle onto the flames, but there wasn't much else I could do.
A young man in the truck behind us pulled over and leapt out, beating the flames with his jacket while my mom and another man got a hose from the house's yard and started spraying the flames. I ran across the street where I could see a hose a few feet away on the other side of a wrought iron fence, but couldn't get to it because we were in a rich neighborhood and all the rich people fence and gate in their houses. I ran down the street crying "Is anyone home?!"
I heard a shout from the flames (Alex is reading over my shoulder as I type this and she says it was her) that they had a hose so I ran back. I almost laughed when I saw the man holding the hose. I kid you not, but he looked very much like none other than Lucius Luvin! He even talked like him.
The young man then saw that we had things under control, took his singed jacket, proclaimed that he hoped he still had cable at home, then took off since his truck was jamming up traffic. Poor Lucius was freaking out, saying "Oh my god, oh my god... my house is nearby... I better get home and hose down my weeds! Here, take this!" He handed me the hose and sped off, never to be seen again. Poor Lucius. :(
My mom said that there was a little boy in the house, watching from the window, looking scared. We had the fire pretty much under control so I asked someone to go tell him it was okay. One of the men who were helping said that he'd tried to tell his grandma what was happening when he'd run to get the hose but that she didn't speak English.
A woman showed up from two doors down and had been able to make it through to 9-1-1. "All circuits are busy," was the response everyone kept getting when we called. She said they were on their way. She'd watched the lightning bolt strike several times, hitting the ground.
The engine showed up and the three guys who piled out looked impressed and said "Looks like we've got some new volunteers!" They had me direct the hose in other areas and dug up some of the hillside to make a firebreak, just in case. The chief studied the telephone pole at the site and said that it looked like it'd been hit, the lightning conducted along the lines then found ground, setting the grass and berries and poison oak ablaze.
"We'd give you a sticker if we had one!" they joked as they told us we could go. They thanked us several times and said, "See, this is what we need. A community effort." I was just so grateful to have finally been able to kick some flaming ass. I'm sick of being a scared potential-victim of fire. It was awesome to kick the shit out of it. Or water the shit out of it. Whatever.
I asked one of the guys about the choppers last night and he said some crazy stuff's been happening lately with the fires and shootings. Yikes. It really does feel like War of the Worlds -- insane weather, people going nuts.
Ha. My sister just commented on the "a community effort part." We're not from that town (which is rather wealthy so our town considers them all snobs. Our high schools hate each other) and we were the ones who helped, yet the one Lucius from the area took off!
We continued on to Toys R Us and saw that another fire had been started near the road at the base of a telephone pole. We bought our pool toys then headed straight home. Lightning was flickering in the clouds.
The dark belly of the clouds was over our house for a while and we could hear the thunder (at one point we thought it was headed for our enemy town and Alex chanted "Ha ha Lucius!"). I nervously sat outside, watching it move, attempting to mentally speed the cloud on, while the scanner reported lightning strike after lightning strike. So far most of the fires are south of us. Yikes though. I can't live like this all summer! The Sierra Nevadas have weather like this, but not here!
Again, Al Gore -- you and your Global Warming are jerks! >:-[
Here are some pictures of the crazy cloudage in 100+ degrees.
Posted by Kellie