Remembering the Carr Fire in Words and Photos

I’m reminded of the Carr Fire every time I drive on Eureka Way or Placer Street toward my west Redding home, and I’m still taken aback at how close those flames got to my neighborhood.

With the one-year anniversary upon us, memories of that horrible fire have been renewed (I would say they’ve been rekindled, but then I’d have to slap myself). The Carr Fire also is fresh on my mind after coming across a note and a couple of pictures I had sent to A News Café publisher Doni Chamberlain a couple of days after I had been forced to leave my home.

Here’s what I wrote on July 29, 2018:

Like thousands of my neighbors and Redding-area residents, I am still an evacuee. Fortunately, from what I can gather, my west Redding home is still standing. I wish I could report the same for others, but, sadly, I know that’s not the case.

As I wait and worry, I thought I’d share a few images I managed to capture before boxing up some valuables and hitting the road.

Here’s hoping for brighter days ahead and for the strength and patience we’ll all need to recover from this ceaseless inferno.


A Grumman S-2T air tanker in action on Thursday the 26th. This is one of Cal Fire’s workhorse bombers. Photos by Jon Lewis.

Three days earlier, as the flames were marching eastward with what turned out to be unprecedented fury, I had a story posted on A News Café that was outdated about 10 minutes after I hit “send.”

Here’s how I started the story:

West Redding on Edge After Carr Fire Erupts into Inferno, Evacuations Pending

Scorching temperatures, swirling winds, bone-dry vegetation and sparks from a defective trailer tire combined Monday to ignite a wildfire on the west side of Whiskeytown Lake that elevated to inferno mode Wednesday night and continued Thursday to endanger residents in French Gulch, Old Shasta, the Victoria Highlands neighborhood and west Redding.

The Carr Fire, named for its origin near the Judge Francis Carr Powerhouse, had consumed 20,000 acres and was 10 percent contained as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Some 1,356 firefighters and 110 engines had joined the battle by Thursday afternoon, according to the California Office of Emergency Services.”

The full story is here: https://anewscafe.com/2018/07/26/redding/west-redding-on-edge-after-carr-fire-erupts-into-inferno-evacuations-pending/

A converted MD-80 regional jetliner passes before the smoky sun after dropping a massive load of fire retardant.

Time does heal most wounds, however, and it’s been gratifying to see members of the Redding community pull together and help those most in need and begin the rebuilding process.

Here’s hoping this fire season is a kinder one.


Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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