Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fire Season is Here

This time of year in the Okanogan makes me nervous. Why? Fire season is upon us.

People think of Washington State as being very green, and it is -- on the west side of the Cascade mountains. Eastern Washington is a different climate with semi-desert like conditions.

After buying the property in Okanogan last year, we started having to deal with the threat of fire in dry summer months. It was something we weren't used to and still are nervous Nellies to this day when it comes to fire.

While we can take precautions to minimize the risk of fire damage, like keeping any trees and tall vegetation away from the house, having a metal roof and cement siding (such as Hardie Plank) and of course no outdoor burning, some things are out of our control. Lightning strikes are one of the main causes of fires. The Monday after the July 4th weekend gave us a strong reminder that it is that time of year again.

As we drove down the hill towards town, you could see the storms coming across the Cascades and enveloping the valley and hills around Omak. The sky was almost black. I quickly grabbed the camera and started snapping. I apologize for some of the reflections, but I didn't notice it until after I downloaded the photos.

The storm made for some magnificent pictures with the contrast between light and dark. We were coming from an area with sun breaks in the clouds.

Darkness over the Basalt Ridge

Storm over Omak

Looking towards the Northeast Horizon

At one point, Karl thought he spotted smoke in the distance, the probable result from a lightning strike. Unfortunately, by the time we rounded the bend in the road again, the storm clouds had moved in and obscured the hillside.

Growing Ever Darker

Darker Still

We got lucky and missed most of the storm. Only a few raindrops on the windshield. In traveling across Loup Loup pass where the storm had just blown through, there was plenty of hail along the roadside. I guess our timing was right in coming down the hill and escaping the fury of Mother Nature.

Still, it made me worry about the potential for fire so now I check online every day to see what the weather is and if there have been any fires reported. It helps to have great neighbors who also keep an eye on things.

But will I ever get used to this? I'd better if we plan on living there.


Gaelyn said...

I lived in Tonasket the year of the Barker Mt fire and it got very close to town. It is something to be concerned about yet sounds like you've taken the proper precations. The storm photos are cool. Glad you missed the hail on loup loup.

Baruch said...

I my, that sky does look very stormy

Michelle Johnson said...

I don't think one ever gets used to threats to their home but they can prepare as you have and stay updated on all weather reports. Glad you missed that hail. Love the photos of the storm. Hope all is well. Have a great day.

JC said...

I'd worry too ..