Fire, Confusion, and Compassion

I awoke to a burning in my throat and the smell of a campfire, same as I had the previous four days. It was around 5:30 in the morning and the sun hadn’t risen yet. The winds were calm, thank goodness, and the air was a crisp sixty degrees … perfect for sleeping with the windows open.

Goodwin Fire Prescott Arizona

Fairgrounds RV Park can be seen on the left side of the road – my current home base – photo taken 6/28/17

Although I slept great, there was a restlessness about me. It was Thursday, June 29th, and under the circumstances that restlessness was justified. No longer sleepy, I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, started the coffee and quickly went to the window to check for the plume of smoke. I was flooded with a sign of relief as the sky appeared clearer than it had the last couple of days.

I’m sure the calm winds played a major role in allowing the firefighters to try to get a handle on this out of control forest fire.  The Governor of Arizona declared a State of Emergency due to the Goodwin Fire located to the south and east of Prescott, Arizona. The fire started on June 24th and has since scorched over 25,000 acres.

Goodwin fire Prescott Arizona

Goodwin Fire – photo taken 6/29/17 from the Yavapai County Fairgrounds, Prescott Valley, Arizona

Evacuations and road closures have been an ongoing event and although Al and I haven’t been personally affected (other than the continuous campfire scented air), Al does have a good buddy that has been affected. Hubby’s friend was in one of the evacuation zones but wouldn’t leave his property. During Al’s first phone call with the friend, he seemed confused and unsure what to do. Al did his best to make recommendations and suggestions along with our offer to help. Regular communication ensued checking in on his well-being.

Goodwin Fire Prescott ArizonaFortunately, the evacuation order for the friends neighborhood was only in effect for two days. Once the evacuation was lifted, the friend was obviously relieved there was no longer an immediate threat of fire, but more importantly, his out-of-town guests were finally able to visit so they could all attend the big rodeo in town together. Important stuff out here in the west, ya know. Yep, let’s get our priorities straight 😆

Considered the world’s oldest rodeo, Prescott Frontier Days is a huge event that locals always look forward to attending.  Since 1888, this traditional rodeo has occurred annually over the 4th of July weekend.  Although the Prescott Rodeo Grounds and events were not affected by the forest fire, the slew of extra horse trailers around town proved to be a benefit.

A disaster, like this forest fire, seems to bring out the best in people …. compassion sums it up nicely. Folks have come together and rallied to help one another in any which way they can. The small towns of Mayer and Dewey, which were located within the evacuation zones, are rural and many homeowners live on acreage with all kinds of animals, large and small.

Goodwin fire livestock

This gal seemed stressed and restless

Goodwin Fire evacuated animals

Yavapai County Fairgrounds serves as animal shelter for evacuated animals of all kinds

goodwin fire animal shelter

animals from the evacuated areas being brought to temporary shelter at the fairgrounds

Goodwin Fire animal shelter

With smoke-filled skies and ash falling, this was a scary and confusing situation for people and animals a like. Folks from all over the surrounding Prescott area were hitching up their trailers and driving into the evacuation zones to offer help in transporting animals. Unfortunately, not all animal owners have the equipment to transport their horses or livestock, in which case corral gates were left open for the animals to escape. These three alpacas were picked up by a Good Samaritan and brought to the shelter.

goodwin fire animal shelter

These alpacas were found skittishly roaming. They seemed very confused and scared.

Yesterday during my afternoon walk, I checked in on the alpacas. Apparently, the relieved and grateful owner had picked them up that morning.  We talked with a couple of volunteers and they informed us there was a very good system in place to reunite the proper owners with their animals.

Goodwin Fire animal shelter

With evacuation orders being lifted (July 1st), the pens in the make shift animal shelter were a mere quarter full versus the near full facility just two days earlier. The shelter was offered all free of charge ….. the animals were cared for by volunteers, food had been donated, and a veterinarian was available. This had to offer peace of mind for the owners. I know it would me, an animal lover!

Goodwin Fire Prescott Arizona

photo taken late afternoon July 1. Goodwin Fire in the distance – over 40% containment and light winds.

The compassion didn’t end with the animals. For anyone who was evacuated and owned an RV, they were welcome to park in just about any parking lot around Prescott Valley. One of the local RV dealerships even offered up the use of their RV’s on site. I’m not sure which dealership it was or any of the circumstances, but I did find the story interesting.

A Red Cross shelter was setup at the Prescott Valley High School and the parking lot there had a bunch of RV’s in the lot as did the local Walmart, grocery stores, and shopping centers. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many RV’s scattered around a town…. take that back, I know I never have. The rules for overnight RV parking were bird photographyoverlooked during this trying time.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”  ― Charles Dickens

Even though there’s been some misinformation posted on social media, most of the posts have been positive, compassionate, and offering help.

As we celebrate this 4th of July weekend, I can’t help but feel proud of the camaraderie I’ve seen this past week … the American spirit at its finest. My thanks go out to all the fire fighters who put their lives on the line daily to ensure our safety and to all the volunteers who lend a helping hand. The Goodwin fire continues to burn, but at the moment (July 2nd), no towns are being threatened and containment continues to improve. Let’s hope the winds don’t kick up!

Wishing you all a wonderful and smoke free 4th of July!

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43 thoughts on “Fire, Confusion, and Compassion

  1. Pingback: Unusual Neighborhood | Live Laugh RV

  2. Such a timely post. Thanks for the up close and personal “reporting!” It’s great to read all the positive things we don’t hear about in the regular news. Very interesting! Glad you two are experienced and have your two kids close enough to help if needed. Be safe and keep us informed!!

    • After almost 2 weeks, life has returned to normal and the skies are back to being clear and beautiful. It’s been an eye opening experience.

  3. It’s scary to be in the path of a wildfire. And as you know, the winds can spread the fires quickly, and unpredictably. It’s heartening to read your account of how the people all worked together to care for each other and the animals. I hope that fire is under control soon and that life can return to normal.

    • Life around the Prescott valley is returning to normal. It was a very rough 10 days for sure. There’s still some firefighting left in the backcountry, but things are improving daily and no more visible smoke. Sigh of relief! I’m hoping to get back out and do some exploring this week 🙂

  4. Great story of how Americans can put aside their differences during difficult times and assist their neighbors when in need. Glad you’re okay and life is getting back to normal in Prescott.

    • Yes, definitely nice to have things slowly returning to life as usual. This fire has made us think twice about a ‘home base’ here, but it’s a wonderful place to visit.

  5. Having been through wildfires before, I know the feeling, smell and constant concern. Ours too set up rescue efforts for animals. I never knew how they handled the specifics so it was nice to get some insight on how they were cared for and how they got back home.

    It’s amazing how people pull together during a crisis…to bad they don’t do it all the time…still, it’s nice to see it when it does happen.

    • The smoke is dwindling and life is slowly returning to normal – thank goodness. I know there’s a lot of relieved people around here – us included. Hope you have a fun 4th of July!

  6. Great post…so glad you and Al aren’t in any danger…well except maybe your lungs! Love the pictures of the animal shelter…such a variety of critters.

    It’s heartwarming to know that maybe humans aren’t a failed species after all!
    Brenda

    • I think I’m about campfired out 😄 Every morning and evening I’d walk over to the temporary animal shelter to see how things were going and visit with some of the animals. The goats are always a fave with me. Life is slowly returning to normal and hopefully tomorrow the fire will be 100% contained. I think next summer we’ll plan for a lush, moist location …. it’ll either be the Midwest (family) or the PNW (friends) 😉

  7. Breathing a sigh of relief for you two and all of those endangered..I am a firm believer that good things come from bad things,and the wonderful American spirit is something that can unite people with a common goal…Haha, I sure do remember those rodeos and cowboys out there. We loved our stay at Why, and the great people of Ajo…Now, could you two please move clear of fire zones for a while??Sheesh, I was sure thinking of you!!

    • Awe, you are so sweet to be thinking of us. We were never in danger and if one warm ember had dropped on us, we’d a been rolling toward Williams. Yep, the rodeo is always big biz out here! There’s some beautiful horses in town along with some good looking studs 😉😆😎

  8. Your post is so uplifting and makes me grateful for so many things that we take for granted. I have a little sign by my front door that says, “Believe there is Good in the World” then when you look closely it says. “Be the Good in the World.” It’s wonderful to hear of the many compassionate and kindhearted people that are the “good in our world”. Glad you two are safe!

    • Love that sign of yours! As RVer’s, I think we see a camaraderie and compassion regularly that isn’t as common in the non-RVing world. This past week, I saw it everywhere … heartwarming!

  9. Great story. I’ve never thought about all the domestic animals in danger in one of these huge fires. Good to know that people will still pull together. I’ve often wondered what I would do if faced with an evacuation order. I ‘think’ I would leave, but you never really know for sure until it happens. We did get evacuated out of Big Sur campground for flooding a few years ago, but we sure didn’t have an option to stay or go.

    • Being evacuated while living in an RV is so much easier than a stationary home. I know that feeling and what it’s like to have warm ash falling on your house. Happen to us in Colorado right before we sold our house – scary.
      All week, Al and I had our exit strategy all planned out here in Prescott, but then again, we always think about our exit before we ever unhook the RV. We checked out Granite Lake and the campground and I can see why it’s one of your favorites. It’s beautiful over there but we’re definitely too big. If we once squeezed in, we may have trouble getting out 😄

      • A final squeeze isn’t good to contemplate – you and Al are far too young to consider your final resting place. Glad it didn’t actually come to having to evacuate.

  10. Great story. Hardship and difficulty tend to bring out the goodness in all of us. If only we could be good all of the time… I can only hope and do my part. Good news about the animals affected. Enjoy your fourth of July. Peace.

    • Thanks Clay. It has been heartwarming to see such caring. Hope you and your family enjoy your time up at the cabin. Happy 4th!

    • Thank you Gayle. Although the winds have kicked back up, they are still hoping for 100% containment by tomorrow. Let’s hope!

  11. Such a great story of how people come together after a disaster. After Hurricane Matthew passed through our area last October leaving many with flooded homes, damaged roofs, and other damage I witnessed people coming together to help each other out. People even traveled long distances to help out. Happy Independence Day!

    • I do remember last year as your community was hit with that storm. Amazing the amount of compassion that abounds. My kids in Phoenix offered to drop everything and drive up to help out Al’s buddy. A mom can’t ask for anything more than to know she’s raised a couple of good, compassionate, caring citizens. Hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday weekend!

  12. In today’s world of crazy and depressing news, this was refreshing to read. I’m glad everyone is helping out and staying safe!

    • Yeah, I think our politicians could take a few notes from the folks around here. Fire condition improving each day …. thank goodness!

  13. So good to read that communities were working together to take care of everyone including the animals. This would be a very difficult time if you have a farm. I can’t only imagine the confusion for all the animals who can sense and smell trouble. Glad all worked out. Sure hope the fire is under better control soon and your air clears.

    • The fire will hopefully be fully contained on the 4th …. fingers crossed. It’s very obvious, that it has indeed improved. Depending on the winds, it still smells like a continuous campfire around here. I swear, I won’t be in the mood to have a campfire anytime soon 😃 I’ve had my fill!

  14. Glad you all aren’t in danger. It’s heartening to see a community rally and sweet to see so much care for all the animals affected too.

    • I enjoyed walking over to the temporary animal shelter and visiting with the various animals. It was heartbreaking that first day while the animals were being dropped off. I’m sure many were experiencing fear from the scent of fire along with the unknown of being transported. A couple of days later, there was a calm and joy when owners were reunited with their animals and they were all able to go home.

  15. Thanks for the post Ingrid, we have been thinking about you and Al and hoping all was well. It was nice to see the pictures and get the scoop on the Goodwin Fire. It is amazing to see the compassion that comes out when faced with adversity. Unfortunately we have often spent summers dodging smoke from wildfires.

    • Yeah, the forest fire thing isn’t new to us either, unfortunately. It’s always scary and makes it difficult to relax and explore let alone take photos. Hope you guys aren’t impacted by any fires this year and you’re enjoying your time in Washington state.

  16. Glad to hear the fire passed by your location. Having had the worry of 3 major fires during our lives here and evacuated for a week 5 yrs ago for the Waldo Canyon one, I can attest that it is a very very scary situation. Glad to hear they got it under control so quickly and that your friend is safe.

    • I remember well that Waldo Fire. We almost bought in that western Co. Springs neighborhood when it was relatively new and we did drive by a couple weeks after the fire. We still had our second house in Pueblo West during the Royal Gorge Fire and had ash dropping on us. That was scary. Hope Manitou Springs isn’t flooding like it did after the Waldo Fire. The damage doesn’t end just because the embers burn out 😟

      • No bad flooding this year for Manitou. We did have a lot of rain this Spring but I don’t remember CDOT having to close Ute Pass at all. After the fire in 2012 the flooding was horrendous. Fortunately we are far enough north it didn’t affect our neighborhood.

  17. We have been getting the smoke from that fire plus the fires that are close to us. Hope they keep them under control. Cute Frontier Days critters.

    • Depending on winds, we’re also getting some smoke from the Brian Head fire in Utah. It’s a bad season. I enjoyed visiting with the variety of animals at the temporary animal shelter, but I’m sure everyone is glad to go back home.

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