Remembering the Carr Fire in Words and Photos

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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.

#ReddingStrong”

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were marching eastward with what turned out to be unprecedented fury, I had a story posted on A News Café that was outdated about 10 minutes after I hit “send.”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

Cheers

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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12 Responses

  1. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Thank you for the images. And yes, fingers crossed for a kinder fire season. I’m hoping that you (or someone) will take some photos of the Carr Fire event at the Old Schoolhouse in Shasta today (July 28, 2019), and post them on ANC. It starts at 11am. I’m unable to make it up from Chico, and it would be much appreciated for sure.

    • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

      I’m sorry Linda, I was there for about half an hour and didn’t take pictures. I only learned about this event because a neighbor gave me yesterday’s newspaper. There was a video or photographer from KRCR. People were visiting and eating and reconnecting with friends. No music while I was there.

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Thanks, Jon. Although we were never in danger, we did “soft” evacuations from both our Redding house and and Eastern County home. It feels as though fire season is never over. The comments yesterday about how CoR is ignoring city tinder boxes makes me wonder just what the elected leaders are thinking.

  3. Avatar Candace C says:

    Linda, Nice to hear there’s something happening in Shasta today to help that community heal.

  4. Avatar Janet Tyrrel says:

    Your photo of the plane ‘carrying’ the red sun is spectacular.

  5. Avatar Candace C says:

    Janet, I agree!

  6. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Great article Jon. I’m glad to get a picture of what was going on in other parts of town.

  7. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    As usual, your writing conveys much and your pictures are spectacular . . . thank you.
    Seeing the pictures and videos on the news, of the remembrance event being held in Old Shasta yesterday, it was significant to note the spirit of support and community was so evident.

  8. Avatar Kent Wakefield says:

    The picture of the airplane with the sun on top of it would look good on my wall! 🙂

  9. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    I love watching fire-fighting planes and helicopters on TV. I don’t like watching them when they’re this close to home, however. Nice story Jon!