July 25th, 2015


To Yuba City and Back, With Wildfire

I had some business I needed to do in person with my mother that I'd been unable to get done last week on my way home from the Bay Area and that needed to be done before the end of July, so Lisa and I drove to Yuba City this morning. Little did we know that we'd be dodging a wildfire on the return trip.

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As we left Marysville heading east on CA-20, we shortly noticed a huge smoke plume in the distant mountains ahead. I stopped where the Marysville - La Porte Road turns off to head up to my home town of Challenge and took a photo standing on the rear bumper of the Astro.

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The fire turned out to be the Lowell Fire, which apparently started sometime this afternoon and spread rapidly in the drought-dry conditions. At the time I took the photos, I didn't know exactly where it was, and (mistakenly, as it turns out) thought that taking CA-20 (the "natural" route) home would take us right into the fire zone. We therefore detoured back to the south on CA-174, which was a drive I've wanted to do before but never had done. Today would have been a good day for this but for dodging Cal Fire equipment coming the other way Code 3 lights-and-siren on a narrow two-lane highway. In fact, rather than avoiding the fire, we were driving closer to it.

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Fortunately for us, we got through the affected area with nothing more than irritated eyes from the smoke. We got home just short of twelve hours after we'd left. It was a long day, but not an impossibly long one. Still, I'm looking forward to not having to set an alarm tomorrow. For the next six weeks or so, such days are going to be few and far between.