Lessons from the Fire

This is part three of our experiences being evacuated from our home due to the Las Conchas fire. Read part one HERE and part two HERE

I’ve thought about many things over the last three weeks. The day of and the days after we evacuated, thoughts of, “Where will we live if our house burns” to “How will we know if our house burns” permeated my thoughts. As I had more faith and confidence that our house was not going to burn, my thoughts turned to the things we did well in our evacuation, and the things we needed to do better. I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you.

Las Conchas fire smoke. Photo by Joyce Anderson

The things we did well:

As I mentioned in my first post, because of the Cerro Grande Fire in 2000, our ward is very focused on preparedness. We have listened to our friends who were in that situation and took their advice to heart. One thing that my friend Connie, whose home was lost in 2000, has repeated time and time again is, “If you are spiritually prepared, you will be able to get thru the temporal trials.” I felt that we were spiritually prepared and put our faith in the Lord. Our faith and the faith and prayers of others carried us thru the week we were on the run. Continue reading

Running from the Fire: Serving and Being Served

Entrance to Los Alamos with fire on the Guaje Ridge north of town. July 4, 2011. Photo credit: Ethan Froggett.

We were now 24 hours on the run, hold up in a hotel in Santa Fe, with all of our belongings. It’s humbling and frightening to see all that you might own stuffed into 4 rubbermaid bins, a few suit cases and every duffel bag you own.

I felt very alone that first morning.

I got dressed and forced myself to go down to the breakfast service the hotel offered. I had no makeup on and my hair was not combed. I looked and felt disheveled. Then there was a ray of hope. A family in our ward had also ended up at this hotel. We sat and ate breakfast with them. As we talked, other people in the room joined in. We all were from Los Alamos. One of the ladies at the next table lived one street up from us even! A neighbor! We were surrounded by people in our same situation, who knew what we were feeling and going thru. There is strength in numbers and comfort in our trials. Continue reading

Running from the Fire: Our Escape

A preface: In 2000 the Cerro Grande fire burned over 48,00 acres and over 400 homes in the town of Los Alamos, New Mexico. Many families in the Los Alamos Ward were among those whose homes were lost or damaged. As a result of this fire, the Los Alamos Ward has been in a “preparedness” mindset for the last 11 years.

Las Conchas fire smoke, June 26, 2011. Photo by Joyce Anderson

June 26, 2011. My husband stepped out on to the back patio to check something in the yard. He looked up and noticed a wall of smoke billowing in the sky over hour home. It wasn’t a rain cloud, it was a pyro-cloud. The sun was also blood-red, a sure sign that something was not right. We turned on our computer and did some checking. A forest fire had started about an hour and a half earlier on a ranch about 15 miles south and west of our home. Because we have been in the most severe drought in New Mexico’s recorded history we decided to get a few things ready just in case we had to evacuate. We’d sat in enough fifth-Sunday lessons on preparedness and had listened to the stories our fellow ward members told about the Cerro Grande fire to know that forest fires were nothing to joke about. Continue reading