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Letter to the Editor: Surviving the Dixie Fire


I was asked by a friend how I feel about having survived Dixie. Well, sharing feelings can be weird, right? So I tend to think my way through life. Certainly, I have feelings but I tend to only share little bits of those.

My biggest share with the Dixie Fire is this:

Dixie was and is a mean, insatiable, destructive, and uncaring fire, but Dixie was not like that to me. Oh, she showed me up close and very personally her might, her meanness, her power to destroy without caring who or what she destroyed. But then, at my home on the little Peninsula I live on, Dixie changed just for a little while. She simply chilled for a day on August 5th, then a week later, on August 12th, when she had me literally in her grasp, she stopped again. Her fierce winds stopped blowing, and her insatiable appetite was seemingly sated, if only for a short time. Dixie stopped, she hovered, she had my home and the Peninsula almost surrounded. Dixie was so close I was choked by the freshness of her smoke, of her perfume.

And then, once more overcome by her natural fury and an appetite that cannot be satisfied for very long, Dixie rose again. Oh, she left behind many embers as mementos of her closeness, and she left them scattered throughout my property and throughout the Peninsula, but Dixie, for some reason, was kind to me. Dixie wasn’t mean to me. Dixie reminded me she’d been here, she reminded me in the days and weeks that have followed of her power and her heartlessness.

So how do I feel?  I feel like I was part of an event that is almost inexplicable. Perhaps God, (or the non-religious god), the universe, and Dixie, all smiled on me at the same time. My humility and gratitude are both great. I feel no guilt that Dixie let me survive.
I am but a speck of life on a planet located somewhere far out in a solar system, also located in a universe so vast it has been measured as infinite. And I, this tiny speck of life, no greater than a grain of sand on an endless beach, despite having been in Dixie’s grasp, survived Dixie.

Of course I give great thanks to all who worked so hard to save not only me but all the other survivors. Thank you!!

I’ll repeat that Dixie was and is a mean, insatiable, destructive, uncaring fire, but Dixie was not like that to me.  And I’ll bet that each time Dixie spares someone or something, especially when she had them in her grasp, that even the firefighters acknowledge the event. Yes, the firefighters, dozer operators, pilots, etc., saved an enormous number of lives and properties. And sometimes, for unknown reasons, Dixie just stopped and she didn’t destroy.

Whether you are an atheist or a theist doesn’t matter really. The fact remains that Dixie was not mean to some of us.
And that’s how I feel, I think.

Peter Skeels

Lake Almanor

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