Bobby Coburn

 Bobby Coburn | Ockenden Ranch, Shaver


We brought relatives up for the weekend of Friday, September 4, 2020, and during the night we started hearing sirens.  At 5:00 o’clock in the morning on Saturday September 5, I drove down to the Pub ‘N Grub in town where some people were congregating at the gas station. A man had his phone and showed me pictures of fire at Big Creek.  Lots of cars were coming down the hill at a rapid pace. That was a lot for 5:30 in the morning.  I decided to drive home to Ockenden and start calling people in the neighborhood and get my family out. 

I thought I needed to just get home because it emotionally bothered me, since I had family up for the weekend. I called my wife Deana and said, “get everybody up; we are leaving.” There is a fire in Big Creek.  At that point she ran down the street to tell all the neighbors that she could, and we called others. We packed up our stuff and left everything in the refrigerator because we figured we were coming back later that night. The smoke was getting bad already.

My son Gerad works for the Edison company and was going up the hill to work as a response to the fire at Big Creek as we were driving down.  We had no idea at that time we were leaving a disaster and he was going into it.   We felt proud but we also felt that our son was just going into what possibly could be a life changing ordeal, which it was.

We got down to the Shell station in Prather and people were loading up their boats to go skiing at Shaver Lake.  They had no idea about the fire. I told them you might want to rethink that, make some phone calls, turn around and go home as the lake is covered in smoke.

We passed many fire vehicles with flashing lights and fire trucks coming up as we were going down the hill.

We had no idea that this fire would spread like it did. Some of the people were in disbelief, some of the people didn’t think it would ever turn out to be this way.  In retrospect, we are glad we left immediately, it was better to get out of the emergency vehicles way and get the family out of danger.

We really thought we would come back that same night once the fire was put out because we left a refrigerator full of food and had just started our weekend.  We found out refrigerators can be refilled.  

We had a lot of great people that kept us informed and everybody got closer knit because of it.  I would it call a sense of community or something.  It was a real community effort to keep everybody informed with pictures and updates and families helping families was neat. I guess my final thought was there’s a lot of little people that did a lot of big things and they go unnoticed.  But they haven’t gone unnoticed because we all know, it was a community effort.