A Woman and Her Dogs at the End of the World

My world continues to shrink as the El Dorado fire rages on. Ignited by ignorant party goers, it has now consumed thousands of acres of forest and displaced hundreds of people and animals who live near the forest.

Yesterday dawned cool but smokey. Since the dogs had not had any exercise in days, we headed out to the wash despite the poor air quality.

Smoke shrouded morning sun

I had intended to make it a short walk, but the overcast morning was such an unexpected pleasure, we were loathe to turn back.

The girls were eager to continue despite the bad air.

I felt like the character in A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World as I explored this familiar but now dystopian wilderness.

My favorite book du jour
Refuse, normally overlooked, now stands in mute witness to our blind self destruction.
Fire-retardant bearing helicopters beat overhead from dawn til dusk.

This morning the smoke is too thick to go outside without an N95 mask. Thankfully, the Santa Ana winds that were predicted haven’t materialized, which means the smoke and ash remain concentrated in our valley. The monotony of being housebound is relieved by the company of our evacuated friends, John and Donna, who are staying in my mom’s granny flat while the fate of their home remains nebulous. They are lovely guests and great company!

The unexpected cooler, more humid weather has allowed fire fighters to bulldoze a fire break and ignite back-fires above their house. The back-fire was not entirely successful as it was hindered by the the more temperate weather.

John was planning a stealth trip back to his house this afternoon. The roads are barricaded and manned by law enforcement to prevent people from entering the zone; but we mountain bikers know the trails that circumvent the barricades. His plan was to hike in, have one of his scofflaw neighbors drive down to pick him up out of sight of the officials, and stay home long enough to water the plants and tend to whatever is decomposing in the refrigerator. Then, he planned to ride his mountain downhill to his home-away-from-home with us. His daring plan has now been derailed upon hearing, from the postal clerk, that the road may be reopened tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “A Woman and Her Dogs at the End of the World

  1. Yes, the dogs look to me for direction, knowing they may not go beyond my sight.
    The fate of my friends’ house is still in the hands of mother nature. If the Santa Ana winds do kick up, the fire will be uncontrollable. Now it is just merrily nibbling its way down the slope.


  2. This is devastating. I can’t imagine the anxiety your guests are enduring while they wait to find out if their home will survive. Is your house out of the danger zone?? The photograph of the morning sun is good but makes me feel short of breath just imagining the smoky air! Stay safe – and inside!!


    1. The evacuation alert has been expanded to the eastern part of Mentone, which is about two miles from here. The danger lies in the winds that could spread the fire down the valley; normally it travels up. I may need to set up my pop-up trailer to house another friend who was evacuated last night. She’s presently staying in a friend’s parent’s house in Big Bear Lake, but the fire is headed in that direction.


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