So I was sitting in my office at the back of the house, enjoying the relatively quiet afternoon (compared to last night.) I'd heard a few stray leftover fireworks being shot off in the distance throughout the day, but none of them seemed to be nearby and they weren't bringing back last night's headache, so all was well. That was before a helicopter I had heard in the distance suddenly seemed like it was hovering right overhead. I tried to open the louvers in my office windows. I managed to pry them apart about an inch, but that wasn't enough for me to see through because the separate louvers were still overlapping too much. The office is the only air conditioned room in the house and the windows hadn't been opened in a while. The ocean air builds up salty, corrosive crustiness on aluminum, so the windows weren't being cooperative.
I still had my ladder set up for the ongoing carport roof coating, so I grabbed my camera and climbed up. The helicopter had left, but returned just as I stepped outside. I barely had time to turn the camera on before I saw this.
Yes, that's the roof of my house in the foreground. It blocks the view of the stream that runs out back. The fire department helicopter was using the stream to refill the suspended water bucket. I turned around to face the neighbors across the street from me. Their homes back up to the vacant government lot that I've mentioned as the frequent site of brushfires. From my carport roof I watched the copter make a wide circle and drop a load of water.
Circle again to to stream, fill the bucket, dump, circle back.
This went on for over an hour as the sky blackened with smoke.
You can't see the ash that flitted through the air or hear the smoke alarms going off all over the neighborhood, but they were there. Neighbors gathered in the street ...
Or climbed on top of their homes for a better view.
Keep in mind that this is not a new experience for us. Two homes were destroyed a few years back, and a dozen or so have had roof damage in recent years. Our homes were built in the early seventies and all originally had cedar shake roof coverings. Thirty years down the road many of them were extremely dry and would catch fire quite easily when burning cinders landed on them. Most of us have intalled fire-resistant asphalt shingles now, but there are still a few holdouts. Tell me again why we don't want the government to clear out the brush and keawe trees.
The logic escapes me. Oh, right, I remember. It's because we don't want those people
living too close. If they build transitional apartments or affordable housing back there it might devalue our homes. Dozens of brush fires a year don't do that
, of course.
The excitement finally ended and I got back to coating the roof.
I worked for about an hour and noticed storm clouds moving down from the mountains. The coating needs to dry for a day & will probably be ruined if it gets wet before tommorrow afternoon. Those storm clouds sure did look good, though. I can sacrifice an hour of work if it will saturate the keawe and brush. That would eliminate the possibility of flare-ups overnight. Not a bad trade-off.
Unfortunately, the rain hasn't fallen yet. I hear fireworks going off again up the street.
A note to parents: if you haven't policed the neighborhood yet for fireworks that didn't go off last night, maybe you should think about it. Unsupervised kids with fireworks can get into a lot of trouble, even if you don't have brushfires in your area. Just a thought.
**I took a lot of other pictures. Unfortunately, my camera got brain-scrambled on Christmas Day. Today was the first time I've used it since then. Most of the pictures I took are pixilated or have big blocks of color on them. You'll see some of that if you click to enlarge the picture of the roof coating. Fifteen were still in my camera when it decided to quit downloading. If I ever find a way to get them out, I may substitute some better pictures for the ones I have available to me now.
Labels: fire, fireworks, home, homelessness