Midnight update in Greeley Hill CA, July 19th.
First of all, after reading the other post on our Facebook page, panic is a strong term and we are fine. Thanks to Don Siegel, Joe Harrison, Joe Lema, Cathy Lema, and Bobby Alquist, we saved about $20,000 worth of equipment tonight. We pulled all this equipment in just three hours, which would normally take a full day. It was rough going and looked like it was snowing with all the ash coming down, but the equipment is now safe. We tossed anything which was steel or would sink into the river and will retrieve it at another time. Even if the fire burns the river, it is under 4′ of water and should survive, we pulled motors and anything which could not be submerged.
I spoke with a USFS Fire Supervisor tonight and the fire jumped the Merced river and busted up Flyaway gulch towards Greeley Hill and my shop. The roads are blocked about 1/4 mile from the shop and everyone is evacuated. This fire is a beast and once she turned and headed north, nobody expected that, especially not jumping the Merced.
They are going to make Bandarita Ridge, right behind my property their stand and plan to cut fire lines there with dozers. I am going to stay tonight (even without power and on generator power now) and start moving some of my tools and mining equipment from the shop at first light. I’m going to park the backhoe, Gate Killer and some other big equipment down in the meadow or at another location which won’t burn.
This thing really crept up on us folks, didn’t see it coming. We were mining today and about 1pm the sky turned orange, then black. We knew the fire was close, but didn’t know it was THAT close. I remember (and so will Brian Smith) when the Rim fire took off, same orange sky, same smokey area and snowing ash all day long.
Mariposa has been evacuated……the entire town of Mariposa. Greeley Hill is on stand by evacuation orders and just south of there, Dogtown Road and Ernst Road are evacuated. Schilling road is evacuated and is burning currently.
The picture here is right in the little town of Greeley Hill and I took it at 6pm tonight, just before we went and retrieved our equipment. This is the home of AMRA’s headquarters and right over the sign about three miles towards the smoke is my shop and property. Just to the right of those trees is Stacy and Jeff’s house.
If we lose the shop, we lose 95% of AMRA. My shop is storage for everything AMRA except for the crucial paperwork which Stacy already has in a bug out box.
I spoke with Jeff and Stacy, they are fine and Proline is starting to make arrangements to move some of their stuff out in case they too are evacuated. Stacy is calm as usual, smiling and her beautiful self.
Lisa came up and is taking the dogs back to Concord in the morning, I’m staying.
So to all our followers, members, friends and family……..we are fine, we are not in a panic and we have supreme faith in the USFS firefighters, our friends and truly some of the toughest men and women we’ve ever known. They will protect our properties and we know they will give it their all. Our prayers are with them and we can’t thank them enough for what they do.
Please excuse us here at AMRA if we are not responsive on emails for a while, we have no power and they are saying 3 to 7 days before it’s back on.
We’ll give another update tomorrow……….I’m beat.