I remember the fire page going off and not really grasping how severe it was at the time. I remember driving out on to the highway from dog creek rd and looking south and seeing the giant cloud of smoke.
I immediately drove the the fire hall to see where we were going to be needed. Unfortunately a lot of the fires were inaccessible by our trucks. I felt so helpless standing there with the others as we watched the lightning strikes start up 4 new fires in behind the Lexington area.
I couldn’t take the waiting so I switched hats and went into the detachment to see where we were needed. The rest of the night was a blur with all the evacuations. I took a couple minutes and went to my house in the 50 to gather my important things. It’s funny (after the fact) to see what you actually grab in a panic. I grabbed clothes and photo albums and completely forgot underwear.
I spent the rest of the night at checkpoints and helping guide people out to safety.
At the time I lived on Ferguson rd and a neighbour down the road had a donkey. On one of my patrols to check on the houses around me the donkey was out of his pen and on the road way.
Utilizing the only thing I had. I wrapped police tape around the donkeys neck and got him back into his pen.
The day the fires started were my last shift as a police officer. Once it was over I went and slept in my truck at the fire hall and then after a couple of hours transitioned into fire fighter mode.
I spent the next four days fighting spot fires. Filling the fire truck tank from Swimming pools.
The camaraderie and efficiency that my fire department had made me so proud to be a part of helping to save what we could.
As a whole the experience was at times heartbreaking. Seeing the total loss of houses. To amazing to see how a community pulls together in a time of need.