Janet Golden

Janet Golden| Sanger

9- 5-22

A different perspective.

My Creek Fire experience is a little different than many that are told from a first-hand, on-the-scene account. I bore witness while those I loved were dealing with the trauma & the fear. I monitored as many scanner feeds & information as I could to give to others who also had loved ones up there.

I spoke with wives of the cattlemen working so hard, trying my best to reassure them it would be ok when they were out of cell range & overdue coming out roads not often used. I bore witness to the stories of the horror of animals that didn’t make it out, livestock & wildlife.

I was on the phone with my husband who was staged at the command post for evacuation help, while watching the fire come over the ridge so it could be seen from near the foothills in Sanger & Clovis. I was on the phone with him looking towards that glow I knew he was below & saw the explosion when Cressman’s was lost.

Watching the people I know & loved working so hard to save, to bring relief, to protect while giving no thought to their own weariness that started showing on their faces was so very hard. Talking to others who also had firefighters, cowboys, volunteers, law enforcement loved ones brought a strange fellowship of shared worry.

The fear was everywhere, it was as thick & heavy as the smoke on the valley floor. But it never ruled over those doing that important work out there, they did it anyway. Those of us at home, held steady & solid so they could do their jobs without worrying about home.

As the days turned into weeks people called for information on how to get water to animals left behind, to feed them, check on homes. A few who were still far from the fire but in the evacuation warning zone, needed to know the fire direction & pending mandatory evacuation. Some called who needed resupplies of food for their dogs but were afraid to leave home. It seems like so little compared to what everyone else did, I but am grateful to have been able to help in a small way & to get them in contact with people who could help. Everyone wanted to help somehow & did the best they could to be there for each other.

The Creek Fire has left us all scarred in different ways, just as it scarred our beloved forest. We still grieve for the tragedy of the whole thing, it still hurts & I think it always will.