The Human Fire Detector!

Air Crane

First and foremost, I am sorry for not doing a blog post for a while. I’ve not felt well; I found out that I have C.diff for the 10th time in 23 months. C.diff is actually more reliable in my than my own flippin periods. My Compassionate Care / primary physician – David Sine, has identified several possible options, since the traditional cures have not stopped the recurrent infections.IMG_9642

I live in the Central California, in the San Joaquin Valley and in the hills outside Clovis. It shouldn’t be any new news that California has had some devastating wildfires due to the extreme drought.  In 2010, my parents moved to a house on the first foothill above Fresno and now wildfires pop up all around us during the fire season. Although it is paradise where we live, it’s not always easy when you have “one” functioning lung.

I never had any special talents except for being funny in crappy situations until a couple years ago when I finally found my very own weird talent.  I can detect a wildfire from miles away before anyone knows it. I know most won’t believe me, it’s still hard to believe it myself, but I have proved that I can in fact detect wildfires. The very first wildfire I ever detected was right after my middle sister, Alexis, graduated from UCI in Irvine, Ca. We were on the “beautiful” drive back to Fresno and while we were driving on the Grapevine, my lung(s) felt a little tighter and just overall weird. I can’t remember how long it was until we saw a huge smoke cloud on the horizon.  I was weirded out and kinda impressed with myself, but I wasn’t sure if it was just a coincidence. We continued on the scenic route to  Fresno and about 15 minutes outside Fresno and even further from our house, I had the same feeling I had on the Grapevine and this time I spoke up and BAM, I was right the second time that day!

Since that day, I have detected multiple fires before anyone else.  With only “one” lung, the wildfire season is extra stressful, not just for me but for the people around me. Recently my boyfriend, Jake, learned just how sensitive I am to any fire. It was only about three-weeks ago we were on our way down to San Clemente, Ca for Alexis’ boyfriends’ twins’ wedding.  While on the Grapevine, again, except the other way, and after passing the only wildfire I knew about, my lung started to burn again. I knew another fire had begun.  Everybody doubted because they couldn’t yet see or smell it.  I kept saying that there is another fire, and less than 10 mins later we rolled up on the first Santa Clarita fire of the season.  It would end up closing part of the I-5 later that day.

IMG_9611Its strange that my weird talent matches a fun fact about me; I am both fascinated and terrified with wildfires. I have always had a big fear of any fires in general but  I overcome my fear is by learning everything I can about them. Now, I jump in the car and go up on the top of our mountain just to see a wildfire; almost three times per week since the beginning of June. I think it all started last year when we had our own wildfire on our property.  This wildfire burned as close as 3 feet from my bedroom window.

That was a crazy night. It all started when my mom yelled to my dad and me that we had a fire on our property. At first, we didn’t really believe her because like me, she’s a little dramatic.  We immediately realized how serious she was. Our water pump to our pressure tank sparked the fire and shorted out.  That means a fire and no water pressure.  And that was what happened.  Fortunately, we built a pool on the property.  Valerie, our former great neighbor, sped to our property and my mom, dad, Valerie and me sprung into action. Now,  imagine four adults with only 5 gallon buckets and a pool.  We (me for a very short while due to the smoke) IMG_9630successfully halted the fire from the propane tank, the house and the roof.  We continued to fight until Cal Fire arrived. Due to my backup oxygen tanks in the garage, I was really concerned about a house fire and potential explosion.  My parents sent me inside, the fire department made me wear a mask and I wasn’t allowed outside to help at all until the house was no longer threatened the house.

CalFire was incredible.  Within no time at all, a spotter plane was circling, two air tankers were dumping retardant, a Cal Fire helicopter landed on our lower property and retrieved water from the Friant-Kern Canal and 15-20 engines and fire crews were deployed.  All in all, only 9 acres were burned and no structures were destroyed.  A watch crew was on the property all night and we had a great result.  It really showed us how much fire preparation is necessary and helpful.  If we had not built and maintained a defensive zone, I am certain the house would have been severely damaged or destroyed.

Now, I think, you will understand how my weird talent combined with my health and real world events, causes me to obsess about wild fires.  I guess being a human fire detector is not worst weird talent one can have; especially when you live in a fire prone area in the middle of a drought. I want to just thank CalFire and our fire departments for their hard work, not just at my house but all year around!





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