On Thursday night I hopped in my car with Kellen in the backseat, ready to head to a friend's house thirty minutes away. I started driving toward the interstate when off to the left side of the road I saw a plume of brown smoke. At first I dismissed the smoke as being the by-product of the computer chip manufacturing company headquartered near us. But it wasn't the white smoke that normally billows out of their offices. It was brown, brown smoke I had seen before, brown smoke that indicated something far more ominous.
Despite my insane fear of fire, I drove toward the smoke. While I am deeply afraid of fires, I am also afraid of not knowing, and if I could figure out where the fire was and where it was heading, I guess I thought I somehow would have control of this situation. Rational thought finally overtook my brain though, and I turned around before we got anywhere near the fire, though at least I had enough information to call Dan and have him check the news.
The fire burned over 2,000 acres, but thankfully the wind blew it away from our neighborhood. It was out that night.
In the last couple of weeks, there have been at least TEN small fires in the southwestern corner of Idaho, two being close enough to us to make me believe that a wildfire could happen to us again, especially with the lightening storms we've had this summer.
Some people try to reassure me with odds, somehow believing that because it's happened once it can't happen again. I'd love to believe that logic, but in reality, I know that fires are independent events. One has nothing to do with the other and having survived one makes me no less likely to lose my house than my neighbors whose home was spared the night of August 25.
I feel lucky each summer night we survive without losing our house. Every time a storm rolls through, I stay up, way past the point of utter exhaustion, just to make sure we're all safe. I stalk the local news' Twitter feeds for reports of fires, and I contribute way more than necessary to the local newspaper's ad revenue given the number of times I refresh the top news for reports of fires.
I wish I could have faith that it won't happen again. But I know in my heart it's completely possible. We could lose our house, the life we've worked so hard to rebuild, once again.