Remembering the heroes that saved my home

photo by Sean Hendrix
photo by Sean Hendrix
My mind and my heart are filled with appreciation. Last year on this date a raging forest fire, the Stouts Fire, burned relentlessly toward my home.

Fire crews from across the nation and the world descended on our community as the fire spread to more than 26,000 acres.

My heroesThe crews are my heroes.

They saved my home.

fire trucks at the Stouts fire 2015 It is fearful when fire surrounds your home.

Our roads were filled with fire trucks, ambulances and water trucks as ashes and smoke filled our valley.

I was afraid. Would I lose my home again?

a house burned down Again? Yes, it had happened before to me.

Eleven years before my home and all of my belongings burned to the ground.

I learned about resilience and determination that year.

Actually I think I learned to be more than resilient that year.

living in a tent  firebrinkNot only did we end up living in a tent for nine months as we cleared the land, within a few months my husband Bruce was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then died.

That year I learned I could wake up each day and face a world that was strange and surreal.

I could survive the grief of losing my husband. I could live in a bare bones home without the little things collected over 36 years of marriage.

I could learn to fix water pipes and hold my sons and grandchildren as they cried.

stouts firesSo last year when the Stouts Fire approached my home I knew I could do it again if my house burned down once more. I just did not want to.

I did not want to be brave or strong or resilient.

I did not want to smell smoke on me or buy all new pots and pans and clothes. I did not want to lose all the family photos we had collected since the last fire.

I did not want to practice meditation once more on the bare ground where a home of mine stood.

No. No. No. Not again.

fire crews in Azalea oregon Enter my heroes . . .

My home did not burn down last August and for that I am deeply grateful.

Crews built fire lines around my home. They put in sprinkles and water tanks.

Facebook-20150828-104148Other crews battled the fire so it would not spread down the ridge behind my home.

photo by Sean Hendrix
photo by Sean Hendrix
They worked for hours, sleeping for a few minutes before going back to the lines.

Mobile Laundry  Station Stouts Fire
Mobile Laundry Station Stouts Fire
Hundreds more crew members cooked, cleaned, held community information meetings, created maps and more.

Shift change meetings keep crews informed
Shift change meetings keep crews informed
They left their homes and families to come to our community to save our homes.
Words just don’t capture the magnitude of what they did.

stouts fire preparation Today as I sit in my home the water tanks, the fire hoses and the fire crews of last summer are gone.

smoke in azalea oregon The smoke has cleared and the roads are open.

home Flowers are blooming and grasses are swaying in the clear, clean summer breeze.

creatures return to my land. Creatures have returned.

Butterflies, birds, lizards and deer greet me every morning.

shaun brink I am smiling and content . . . and meditating in a garden by a home that is still standing.

To all of the fire crew members who were here last year

and to all the fire crews who this year are out there protecting other homes

and other forests and towns . . .

Thank You. Thank You . Thank You.

I am forever grateful to you, my heroes.

stouts fire rest of poststory1301

Stouts Fire Journal Part One from August 2015

Directory of All Posts on this site including the Stouts Fire Journals

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