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If you follow the news, you have probably seen my little town’s name featured the last few days. A human-caused fire started just a few miles from Twisp and rapidly burned some houses and took the lives of three fire fighters. It’s been an enormous tragedy.

We evacuated for two days while the fire behavior and wind were erratic and there was a possibility it could come over the ridge to our house. Luckily for us, it did not. The fire line is about a mile and a half away, as the raven flies. We returned, even though the whole valley was on level 3 evacuation notice, to see what was going on and to make our place safer. We keep our bags packed in case we need to flee again. Friday evening we went to Patterson Lake and watched the aerial fight to slow down the fire’s approach to a forested neighborhood. The pilots flying these planes are tremendously courageous to do what they do. Who ever imagined that DC10’s would be used for fire suppression? In addition to the big jets there are at least four small planes that can fly across a lake’s surface and suck water into pontoons to be dropped on the burning fire. There have been a wide variety of helicopters and other planes in use also.

The last couple of days there has been some cooler weather, holding the smoke close to the ground smothering most of Washington and grounding the aircraft. This does help the fire fighters on the ground because it also slows down the progress of the fire. When it warms up again and they can see the landscape, hopefully they will see a fire that can be contained.

And this is just one of the smaller fires that are consuming the landscape of our region. The Okanogan fires are much larger and threatening more homes.

Here is an article about the aircraft used in fire suppression.

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