It was a quiet weekend at our cabin up by Sonora. P was clearing away the last of the leaves in the yard to create more than the usual defensible space, and M had decided to join our daughter in a quick dip in the nearby lake.
It was quiet. Too quiet.
Suddenly loud CDF planes starting flying by overhead--their engines roaring what seemed like only a few yards above the trees. Then a CDF chopper came almost overhead, thumping away and creating its own downdraft in the trees.
As P continued to work, a neighbor stopped by to chat. The fire, it turned out, was only about a mile away in the Stanislaus National Forest. And while the wind was blowing towards the fire, that was still a bit close for comfort.
Then P saw the chopper headed for the local lake, to pick up a load of water to fight the fire.
The ladies were in for some exciting action.
Over the next twenty minutes or so, the chopper made four trips to the lake. Then the planes disappeared, the noise stopped, and P kept working away on those pine needles.
A few minutes later, M and Estelle returned. They had left all of their things, including towels, books and clothes, on one of the swim platforms in the lake and swum to the far side just before the chopper first arrived. It blew everything all over the surrounding territory. And every time they decided it was safe to swim back across the lake, the chopper returned again.
When they finally got back to the platform, the towels and clothes were in the water, on the beach, in a tree...and in one case, a red t-shirt was never seen again. The books fluttered and flapped in the down-wash. and every single page had a light coating of water and sand on it.
The ladies themselves were in much the same condition as the books, with their hair blown into wild knots and their bodies covered with grit and sand by the 100 mph+ winds from the chopper.
We're delighted to note that the CDF crews stopped the fire in its tracks and had it well under control by the time M and E returned from the lake. Very impressive.
Just another quiet day at the cabin.