Fire — the Focus on Many Levels | TheUnion.com

Fire — the Focus on Many Levels

Our Supervisor, Susan Hoek, continues her work in formulating the “what ifs” of a potential fire and the need for a Lake Wildwood evacuation.

She joins a number of our members working together to give us the most comprehensive advice in case of such an emergency.

This is a very good thing and one we should all appreciate and take note of.

I witnessed the mess of the 1988 49er Fire and its impact on Lake Wildwood. I was part of the KNCO team reporting on the four-day event and its threat to Lake Wildwood. As the station’s news director, I was patrolling the area and calling in reports and updates. (Landline calls — cellphones were still new and reception in Western Nevada County was non-existent.)

The fire started early Sunday morning near the Highway 49 overpass of the Yuba River, north of Nevada City. By early afternoon, the high winds were blowing embers into the gated community and evacuation orders were in place.

Great idea. But without pre-planning, the effort became clogged and Pleasant Valley Road was dead-stopped, allowing no exit for residents, or ingress for first responders.

Luckily, Lake Wildwood suffered little damage as a result and our leaders later determined that would never happen again.

The result was the addition of a third lane on Pleasant Valley Road from the First Gate to Highway 20 (five years after the event) and a huge resident-ignited effort to design a safe getaway for the next incident. This included assignment of intersections for yellow-vested volunteers to control traffic and first responders, house-to-house notification for either “prep-for-evac, or evac” depending on the path of the conflagration.

Jump ahead 29 years. It’s 2017 and a raging fire is, once again, threatening our community — this time sweeping down the Dear Creek corridor from Rough and Ready. Once again evacuation orders are given. Once again traffic is jammed — not to the level of ‘88 — but some waited as much as two hours to get out. No intersection control and exits not identified or even known about.

The new effort appears much more organized to me. Paradise was a real eye-opener for all of us. Many of our newest members called it home. The various groups are coordinating the effort and communications in order to keep the issue front and center.

While I hope — as we all do — to never need such info in a panic situation, the fact that it’s coming together is very reassuring.

Thanks for all working on this. Our gratitude may be a bit muffled, but it’s there! Trust me.

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Just for fun — thanks again, Lou (Cappello)

The older I get, the more my memory plays it’s games, For instance, remember when:

— It took three minutes for the TV to warm up.

— When a quarter was a decent allowance — and made with real silver!

— You’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny — made with real copper — looking to see if it was a 1943 tin penny!

— Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.

— You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time.

And you didn’t pay for air. And, you got trading stamps to boot!

— Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box. (Not to mention Cracker Jacks!)

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We take an extra-long break this month. Next issue publishes Sept. 6. Deadline for that issue is Aug. 28.

Take extra caution when driving out there. The little ones are back in school and stay-at-home Mom’s are napping.


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