July 18, 2021. As soon as I heard about the mandatory evacuation, I headed to Meadow Valley to help my sister and brother-in-law and their houseguest to evacuate. My sister was worried that her husband would refuse to leave, but the promise of a good dinner helped get everyone into cars and heading to my mom's house in town. The first photo from Bucks Lake Road on my way to Meadow Valley, and the second taken after dinner from the end of my street. The smoke plume was creating its own weather in the very hot and very dry weather.
It's very disconcerting to look up from work to see this outside your living room window. July 22, 2021, just a short time after another tree on a power line started the Fly Fire. This being Plumas County, population 20,000, I knew the person who witnessed the start of that fire, and another brother-in-law almost got caught in it while working a water tender to fill the fire train at Keddie along Spanish Creek. A few hours later, my neighbors and I gathered at the end of our street to see the fire running up Mount Hough, looking very close to our town. We had no idea whether the larger Dixie Fire was spotting so far ahead of itself and whether further spotting could endanger us, and we talked about whether to leave.
August 4, 2021, a couple days after returning from evacuating first to Reno and then to Sacramento. (Let's just say that four families with four different dogs is not a recipe for peaceful cohabitation in one house!) Even though the air was cleaner, it meant that the fire was more active as the sun heated everything up and the smoke no longer shaded the fire. The fire was expanding catastrophically to the north, where it destroyed most of the buildings in Greenville on August 4th. Also photographed from the end of my street looking north across American Valley, one of my favorite views in the entire world.
August 7, 2021 at the other end of my street, where the smoke inversion socked us in and made the air toxic. This kind of condition is usually in the dark purple AQI (air quality index) range for PM2.5 - 200, 400, and once last year during the North Complex it hit 800 for a little while.