2 weeks after the fire almost took our house out, a new fire, started by a spark from the rim of a flat trailer tire, took out 10 more homes a little ways further north of us, growing to slightly over 500 acres in just a few hours. These people, some of them friends and acquaintances, had mere minutes to get out, and were not in any way in harms way even a half hour before.
During the two days after, a crazy series of thunderstorm cells moved through and sparked another bunch of wildfires, thankfully most of which were quickly contained, but two of which are still burning and providing a second influx of crazy smokey air to our little valley.
Up our little side valley, the storm that moved through didn't start any new fires, after all, there really is not much left to burn, but it whipped the air around like crazy, causing grey-out conditions at our house several times over the course of the afternoon, with all of the ash, dust, and dirt that the wildfires left behind blown up and around.
Today, of course there is still a tree stump visibly smoldering on the hill above our house, and a second series of thundercells are supposed to be moving over the next few days. We are all pretty exhausted of dealing with the constant extra vigilance that is required, the smoke, and the stress.
I'm ready to be past the phase of looking at pictures and remembering what the background looked like before, ready to be done the firsts - first full moon rising through the blackened burnt dead trees on the far hill slope, etc, and move on into the new still natural, will be green again someday soon, normal. After all, fire is a natural part of the habitat we live in.
And on the up side, there have been many beautiful sunset shots, and the gardens are doing really well with all of the heat we have been getting (I can't remember a day where the high temp wasn't in the 90's or over 100).
The house is slowly getting put back into a relatively tidy place after our evacuation, and the up top neighbors, who lost their (second home) house to the fire, have had sightings of their two lost horses in the last couple days, indicating that both survived the fire (previous to that we suspected only one had, and hadn't seen him in over 2 weeks). So, life is moving onwards, and things will recover, slowly, with time.
However we are all pretty much ready for winter to come, for snow to fly and put out the fires once and for all, for clear cold nights, and for the return of the bright bluebird sky days that this area is usually known for. Ready for time to fade the stress, to blur the old memories of green forests full of trees, and to allow us to be fond once more of this newly changed landscape we live in.