During the Atlas Fire, our family had to evacuate. Our house wasn't in danger, but the air quality here in Fairfield, CA was so bad that we had to evacuate the members of our family who are high risk for respiratory complications.
My cell phone wasn't good quality enough to show you exactly what the smoke was like. It was almost like a hazy fog, but worse than the pictures show. It was hard not to stare at the sun as the smoke changed it to dark orange to neon pink.
Before we knew we'd have to leave, Erik and I drove all over looking for face masks to protect us from the smoke. Everyone was sold out. We eventually found some in Davis (about 30 miles away).
It had been a very stressful week, full of uncertainty and nightmares. The fire was only a few miles from our house, so we decided to prepare for evacuation, just in case, but never dreamed we'd actually have to leave.
The next morning, even the air inside our house was toxic. Smoke burned our eyes, gave us chest pain, and just made us feel sick. We tried filtering the air any way we could, but we had to leave.
Finding a place for six of us and three pets wasn't the easiest thing (especially when Den's health restricts him to elevations below 1000 feet.), so we split into two groups. Erik and his dad went to stay with friends in Elk Grove. The kids, animals, and I went to my parents' house up in the mountains past Reno, in Susanville.
Between being really squished and stressed, the kids weren't in the best of moods on the drive. Not that I could blame them. Leaving Erik and Den behind, in Elk Grove, and not knowing when we'd see them or our home again, was hard.
We love Grammy and Grandpa's house! It was just what we needed to take our minds off the fire. The house of always full of Legos.
Of course, Daisy made the best of the situation. Our pitiful pooch stole Colonel Fitzwilliam's (one of my parent's dog) rawhide bone, first thing when we arrived in Susanville.
Susanville Fire Department Open House
Coincidentally, the local fire department was having an open house. It was a great opportunity to talk with the kids about the fire and to turn the evacuation into a (hopefully) fun memory.
We were also told that these fire fighters would have been in our area helping contain the fires, but they'd had some injuries, so they didn't have the staff to cover their own department and the wildfires.
They had to complete the obstacle course without running.
Wemple's Pumpkin Patch
We spent a fun afternoon at Wemple's Pumpkin Patch in Milford.
It's all fun and games until your sandal breaks in the corn maze and you spend 45 minutes hobbling through the sand and cornstalks barefooted!
We've been back home now for a few weeks, and for us, things weren't so bad. I joke that it was like a really REALLY stressful vacation but without Erik and Den. The only real fallout has been some lingering respiratory infections/irritation, but there are many who weren't so lucky. We're praying for our neighbors in Santa Rosa, Napa, and Sonoma who lost family and homes in the wildfires. If you can help them, please consider donating to the American Red Cross's Wildfire Relief Fund.
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I'm a single mom with 3 special needs children, living in Utah, overcoming mental illness and crazy health problems to pull my family out of poverty and live my dreams as an author.
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Medical information is based on my own beliefs and experience. Nothing on this site should be used instead of professional medical advice.
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