Dateline 7/15/04: Casey lives in Carson City, Nevada and was personally affected by the forest fires that threatened the city during the summer of 2004. The photos below were provided by the Reno Gazette Journal and are accompanied by her comments on this disaster.
Carson City, Nevada...12 Noon..July 15, 2004..Carson City
Burns, by Casey Clare
This is what it looked like Wed night after I left. Left side of picture is south, right side of pic is north. I live south.
This is a devastating experience for everyone. I am one of the lucky ones. On Wednesday afternoon The Fire Department came through the neighborhood and told everyone to leave. I had been packing my car, trying to figure out what to take from my home. How do you make those choices, your entire life in a car? I took some personal belongings and my dogs. I was invited to the ranch as it was on the East side of town. All the roads were being closed and it was eerie to see an empty freeway. The fire had come over the mountain near my home, and the flames were whipping and snapping. It DOES sound like a freight train. Soon, the power went out as the telephone poles burned. I took one last look at my home and all the things I had from family and friends. The neighborhood all worked together to help each other.
I didn't know when I left if I would have a house when I returned. Several hours later, I returned, as the roads were once again opened. It turned out that the fire was brought under control near there because of a fire that had burned most of the mountain the previous year. There was very little brush to burn, and it burned down to the street and was stopped. When I pulled up and saw that everything was there I started to cry, sitting in the driveway with my dogs and a saddle on the front seat of my car.
It is still raging and the smoke is very thick, and it's difficult to breathe. It is heading north toward Washoe Valley, but hopefully it can be brought under control. I am keeping an eye on it, and hope that I won't have to leave again.
At the ranch the horses are running everywhere because of the smoke. The fire is five miles from there but the wind blows east so it blankets everything. Even if you have a good horse who knows you, they panic and are almost impossible to control. There was a fire at the ranch a few years ago, and I was the only one there at the time. It started on the West side and quickly flared and created its own wind and heat. I called 911 and by the time I got back outside the entire pasture was on fire. Neighbors came to help me get horses out of the barn and move them to a safe area with water. They were panicked and kicking. Some I had to just turn loose. The cattle won't move so I had to use my bullwhip to get them going. By this time the Prison sent inmates to fight the fire, and when they saw me coming with a whip, one ran back on the bus. I guess I look a little scary.
When the smoke descended I lost my bearings and didn't know which direction to go. So I lay down on the ground and called to one of my horses several times. He came sauntering toward me through the smoke, and he put his head down to me. He has always been mellow and came when I called him. I got up and held his tail and he led me to the barn. I sat down as I couldn't breathe and the Paramedics said I should go to the hospital, where I stayed for several days. What I didn't know about smoke inhalation is that your lungs blister, and then the fluid builds up and you can drown. I did OK though, and didn't suffer too much. I stayed home for a few days and felt like I had been run over by a truck, black and blue from kicking horses and lung problems. But the ranch and livestock were saved.
Kids were up on a hill and smoking, and 60 acres burned. When I left the ranch to go to the hospital I saw them sitting in the back of a patrol car, white as a sheet. Their parents are held responsible for this and there have been no problems since!
So I have to get going,