Some of you already know this from Facebook. We live in the foothills
of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the 2500 foot level, about 1.5
hours southeast of Sacramento. The area is heavily wooded.

This past Wednesday a fire broke out just outside of Jackson, CA off
highway 49, off a road named Butte Mountain Road. It was 5-10 acres.
2 hours later it was over 200 acres and had taken down the power
lines to the area where we live, as well as a large chunk of area
between us and Jackson, and to the south.

The next morning, it was 4,000 acres, having spread into heavily
wooded areas. It's now 65,000 acres, so roughly 100 square miles.
It's 10% contained.

We haven't been evacuated. The mandatory evacuation line is about 1
mile south of us, as the crow flies. We just got power back last
night at 10pm, and it's still on, so that gives us water again, also,
because we have a well. We both immediately took showers, once the
water was warm enough.

Until the fire is contained, we're still in danger. The winds were
favorable to us until very early this morning, when they switched to
coming from the south, which blew smoke into our area. We both got
headaches from it. The most intense fire activity is currently just
over a ridge to our south, and a little to the east.

We're fine. We have an evacuation plan set and places to go in the
event there's a mandatory evacuation of our area. It's pretty scary,
though, especially when everything looks orange from the sun being
filtered through the ashes and smoke from the fire.

Cal Fire is trying to surround the fire today, so they can get it
contained. It's threatening several towns in the area, including
ours, San Andreas and Arnold. Calaveras Big Trees is just outside
Arnold. From photos we've just seen, it looks like a town to our east
named Mountain Ranch might have been engulfed.

We're both exhausted from worry, as well as not getting much sleep
due to no power for air conditioning, and high temperatures during the
day and night. The weather is supposed to start cooling tomorrow, but
at least as long as the power holds, we're cool and smoke free in the
house at the moment.

I can't wait for this to be all over and the fire contained, though.
We live a mile in on a road that has no outlet, so it's important we
know what's going on in terms of evacuations.

As a result of John having gotten the parts necessary to use our
Prius as a large battery backup system during a power outage (it
provides up to 1000 watts of power), I've been glued to the fire news
sites the past few days. It's been a godsend to have the Prius to use
that way. When the car's batteries get low, it just turns on the
engine itself and charges itself up. So we've been able to save most
of the food in the refrigerator and freezer, as well as run the
router and use tablets to make sure we know what in the heck is going

We're safe for now, and will evacuate if it becomes necessary.

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