"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I guess I won't ride my bike in the hills today...

And probably not this weekend, either. Not that I had plans to, but the whole place is closed down because of a 8000-acre fire burning just (barely) southeast of Chico and up into the town of Paradise. The article I just linked is updated frequently and the last update looks bad.

I first saw it on the way home from my appointments in Oroville yesterday, when it was still much smaller. Some friends of mine just recently moved out of their house on the outskirts of Paradise (yes, yes, the town lends itself to endless jokes...I can't drive there without having a litany of song lyrics play in my head, 'I've got two tickets to paradise;' 'I've been to paradise but I've never been to me;' 'awfully nice, it's paradise;' 'paradise by the dashboard light'...) to a house in Chico, and they have been preparing to put their old house on the market. The house is now in an evacuated area.

I took this photo by pointing my cellphone out the side window on the way home yesterday. I'm grateful to be upwind, not so much because the fire danger but all the smoke. Most of the burned area so far is open grassland but I read that four homes have burned (the linked map shows the location). And wind is known to change directions now and then.

If you're looking at the map, I live more or less in downtown Chico. However, one of the attorneys in our office has a lovely home in Butte Creek Canyon, which has also been evacuated, and the fire looks awfully close.


wordsfromhome said...

It is now Sunday night. How is the air pollution in Chico? How are your friends with homes in Paradise faring? How far from Chico is Paradise?

Emily said...

The air hasn't been so good, though it seems that prevailing winds have been from the north so not too bad in town. Friday it was very smoky and smelled like a campfire in my house. Kato the cat seemed very agitated all night and peed outside of his box for the first time in almost 4 years. (He climbed into my gym bag and used that instead...strange.) I think Paradise is without power but my friends / coworkers homes weren't in imminent danger. Paradise is about 15 miles east / slightly south of Chico.