Monday, September 8, 2008

In the News - Installment II

Oh, how I've left you hanging. I hope this post was worth the wait. I assure you, the content is. The delivery? I hope it will suffice.
While TSG was reveling in the Amazing Race coverage, the breaking news story that evening focused on wildfires in Payson. Since I married a guy who hails from P-town, I was concerned and asked Noah to call his parents to get the status. He called and they let us know the fire was actually a few miles south in Spring Lake, a suburb of Payson. (I'm sensing a slight lift of the ol' eyebrow. Yeah way, Payson has suburbs.)

However, at about 11:30 that evening - we received a call from Noah's mom letting us know that the canyon breeze (or the white trash air conditioning, as my mother-in-law so affectionately refers to it) we'd enjoyed on so many evenings was now fueling the fire at a pretty rapid pace. Noah's parents' home is built up in their orchards, one of the very first along the mountain - so they were first in the fire's path. Christine let us know they'd been evacuated from their home. Noah's brothers and dad ran sprinkler lines along the eastern edge of the driveway and orchards and the Spanish Fork Fire Department literally parked in the driveway, hosing down the roof and doing all they could to save the house.

(That's the Riley home silhouetted in the flames.)

I cannot imagine that feeling. Filling a car with a few armloads of precious possessions and driving away from your home not knowing if you'll come back. I know our homes are filled with mostly replaceable things, and the Rileys were blessed with a real support from family and friends in the area who came rushing up to help haul as much from the home as possible. But material objects aside, it really hit me how difficult it would be to think of losing your home - the place where you raised your family, built your life, enjoyed sweet memories.

Hearing the news at 11:30 p.m., Noah and I spent a pretty restless night in Salt Lake and woke up early Saturday morning to head to Payson. On our drive, we listened to a story about a wildfire in California that had already claimed 11 homes. I know I've heard those types of statistics before, but suddenly those homes and those people became so much more real to me. Sad that it takes a personal experience, or threat thereof, to make me think this way sometimes. Even sadder that it's entirely possible, probable I'll revert back to my comfortable thinking once the reality of the Riley home escapes recent memory.

We arrived at the house, grateful to start moving belongings back into a home - albeit, now lingering with the scent of scout camp. The fire burned right up to the driveway and sprinkler line - as close as 20 feet from the house in some places.

As we helped move things back inside, there was a knock at the door and ABC4 wanted to chat with one of the evacuees. If you ask me, they knocked on the right door. My mother-in-law could not have been a more perfect interview. She is so genuine and articulate, she makes a great face for Payson... because, as Noah's uncle (who is a Payson resident, so it's fair... like a dentist making a dentist joke.) pointed out, she has all her teeth.

I kid, I kid. Payson isn't that backwoods.

But really, see for yourselves - she's pretty amazing. Buddy is standing in front of Grandma and Grandpa Riley's home before the camera turns toward the house. This portion of the clip was live and when we realized the camera was facing the house, we dared Jesse to streak across the lawn. That would've given the story a little more pizzazz. :)

(The clip is kind of long, and Chris' interview is about halfway through.)

These pictures aren't of the Riley home, but they're a little more clear and will give you an idea of the fire's enormity. Noah pulled these from KSL.com, I think - so photo credit is not ours.

And a shot that reminds me my job is not all that intense. In fact, it's downright pansy compared to this...

16 comments:

Noahr said...

Correction: it's not P-Town, it's Pay-Town.

Quinn and Linds said...

I cannot believe you guys came and helped us move that saturday morning! You are the best

Julie said...

Wow, that's way worse when we had our fire a couple years back. Yet I couldn't imagine if we had lost our house with it. I think it's enough of a shock just seeing your own house going up in flames.

Glad that everyone in your family got out okay and evacuated safely.

lauren said...

cuz p-town would be provo. he hee. sheesh, that's scary! glad everything turned out well. :D

LW said...

Wow. I'm so glad the house and fam are ok! That's so scary!

kelsey gallo said...

Allison! that is exactly what happened to us 2 weekends ago! the lightening storm lit the mountainside right by our house on fire...its creepy! realy an AWFUL feeling! glad everything turned out okay! for everyone!

Josh said...

Holy smokes...
I can't believe you called it p(ee)-town. Noah, thanks for clearing that up.
Noah, your mom rocks. She really did do an outstanding job. Those fires are scary, that was always the risk of living in that area. I am glad that you are all ok.

Jen said...

Oh my goodness! Fires! Hurricanes! Stop the world-

Jen said...

Oh my goodness! Fires! Hurricanes! Stop the world-

Nicole said...

How sad and scary! I'm so glad everyone is okay and they didn't lose their house. Were the orchards in danger, too?

Devin said...

Hey! I think i just missed ya when you came to my work the other day. Let me know when your back in the area. We need to meet up and do something again. I hope all is well for you and Noah!

Natalie said...

This is seriously scary. Worse than the California fires because I know you!! I'm so glad that everyone was safe. They always say that material possessions don't matter, and sure we can't take them with us -- but they do matter!! Family photos and all!

JEM said...

Holy crap! It doesn't get much closer than that, looks like. I'm so glad the Riley homestead made it through OK. And Noah, your mom was awesome. What a sweet reaction to a very scary situation.

The Anderson's said...

Wow. I must have gone to bed early that night Noah... totally missed P-town.. cough, I mean Pay-town's big spotlight. Shoot.

hot garlic said...

Happy Birthday Allison!... Right?

Hope you're day is great and we're thinking of you wishing the kids were there to help blow out the candles and possibly spit on the cake or at least sneak some frosting when no one is looking!

Whitney Blake said...

WOW... that is sure a scary thing, I am glad everyone is okay. Great pics.