June 21st: Fire!

It's early in the morning -- I have no idea what time it is -- but there's a small pounding on my front window. It's Squirrel, and he's very upset. When I open the front door he starts yelling, "FIRE! There's a fire!"

I smell the air, and look around, and I realize he's right. "Where is it?", I ask.

"I don't know", Squirrel says, "But it smells big, and look, there's smoke everywhere. Look how dark it is."

I realize he's right. I knew it was darker outside than normal, but I thought it might be cloudy. But it's not cloudy, it's smokey.

Together we run down to the end of the driveway, and look at the small airport that's just down the road from my cabin, and there's smoke everywhere.

When we came back to the cabin I realize just how wrong everything really looks. It's like the sun is shining a brown or orange light. Everything looks weird when the light from the sun is the wrong color.

"Squirrel", I said, "come inside. Let me get on the computer and see if I can find out what's happening."

Squirrel hops up onto my work table as I get on the internet to see if I can find out what's going on. Sure enough, there are two enormous fires burning in Alaska. Alaska is so big that the larger fire covers more area than the city of Louisville, Kentucky! The other fire is also very big, and close to us.

Just then the internet page I was looking at disappeared, and a new one came up. Looking over, I realize Squirrel just sat down on the computer mouse, and he clicked the mouse when he sat down.

"Try to be careful with that mouse, Squirrel", I said.

"Mouse!" he said, jumping up and then spinning around, "Where?!"

"Just the computer mouse, there. You just sat on it." I didn't realize he didn't know anything about computers, or that he might be afraid of mice.

As I thought about the fire, I decided to call the woman I am renting the cabin from. She said yes, there is a fire close by, and she suggested I listen to the local radio station for news reports. She said that's how everyone in town gets their news.

She also said that if the fire got closer to us they would start evacuating us. Because there is only one road out of town, and it's fourteen miles long, we would have to start early. Otherwise, if we didn't start early enough, they might have to evacuate us by plane, helicopter, or possibly using all the boats down by the river.

I hung up the phone, and told all of this to Squirrel. I also told him not to worry, that I'd take him with me if the fire got worse. We both agreed that it was hard to breathe with so much smoke in the air, but Squirrel said it was okay, he would stay in the forest unless it got too bad for him, in which case he would move in with me.

It's good to have friends, especially at a time like this.