In Memorium: Cory Iverson

I have struggled about what to write in this post for the last few days. I can’t do what I’m feeling justice with words, but I’m going to try.

You see, on Friday, a CalFire firefighter died battling the Thomas Fire in Southern California. His name was Cory Iverson and he was 32 years old. He leaves behind a wife, Ashley, a daughter, Evie, and his wife is pregnant with their second little girl. When I heard the news, it was like a kick to the stomach. It literally took my breath away. I called my husband (who had just come off a different fire) to see if it was someone we knew.

This is every fire wife’s worst nightmare. We send them off to far away fires, and most of the time they return home, tired, hungry, and a little smokey. But sometimes (thankfully very rarely) they don’t make it home. We try not to think about it because we’d never make it through the day if we did, but when it happens, we sit in our car and cry silent tears. Tears of sadness for the mother, the sister, the child who’s hero isn’t coming home. Tears of relief that it wasn’t ours this time. We get home and we hug our husband a little bit tighter.

When I married my husband, I was blown away at just how strong the fire family is. It’s not only a brotherhood of firefighters, but a ridiculously strong sisterhood of fire wives. We don’t know the Iversons personally, but I want to help Ashley, yet feel completely helpless. So, I’m asking you, my friends and family, to help me help Ashley. There are two things I need everyone to do:

  1. If you can, please donate to the Go Fund Me set up for Ashley and her family. Large or small, your donation will make a difference!
  2. Please share the Go Fund Me (or this blog post) with your friends.

Many streams make mighty rivers! Thank you so much for your help!

Fire On The Mountain!

As you may or may not know, here in California we’re facing an unprecedented drought. On September 9th, a small fire started just a few miles from the barn where I keep Sue. Due to severe dry conditions and very steep canyons, what is now know as the Butte Fire exploded. Over the next few days it would continuously double in size. As of right now, it’s currently sitting at 71,660 acres, with only 37% containment. There are 4,668 firefighters out there trying to stop it. It’s crossed into two counties and came within 4.5 miles of my home. My horse was evacuated on the second day.

I’ve spent the last seven days trying to decide what to take if I needed to evacuate. Obviously my small zoo would go with me (picture my little Rav4 crammed with two dogs, two cats, and two parakeets). The chickens would be freed to the wild to fend for themselves. I have some important documents, my marathon medals, my husband’s Ironman medals, and some other personal items. What else do you take? There was a moment when I just sat there paralyzed… unable to think of anything that I should pack. Thankfully, the lines have held and today we have fog.

I did have the opportunity to go out and help with some of the evacuated animals. It was heartbreaking to see the horses with phone numbers painted on their sides or hooves and turned loose, in hopes that they could outrun the fire when trailers weren’t available to get them out.

I was amazed at my little community. I’ve always known that Amador and Calavaras counties were tight knit, but it’s been spectacular to see them come together to help each other. People drove trailers in and out of danger all night to rescue others’ animals. Strangers opened their homes to those who had lost their own. Hundreds of people reached out in any way possible to try to help their friends and neighbors. Now, “thank you firefighters” signs have started popping up everywhere – words that mean more to me now than ever.

Butte Fire 9-10-15
My Home on Day 2

I am completely amazed at the brave men and women out fighting this beast. From the firefighters on the line (my hubby included!) to the pilots of helicopters and planes (who pull of some ridiculously dangerous maneuvers), they risk everything day in and day out to try to save life and property.

Plane In The Smoke
Plane In The Smoke

So tonight before you go to bed, say a little prayer or send a happy thought into the universe, not only for the people of Amador and Calaveras counties, but for those up in Lake county who are dealing with an equally deadly fire.


Well, sadly, I’m starting Christmas off with a tragic story. Sometimes I just don’t understand people.

Firefighters responded to the scene of a fire in upstate New York this morning. When they left their vehicles to approach the fire, one or more shooters opened fire, killing two of the firefighters and injuring two others. They continued to shoot at first responders for three hours. In addition to the two lives lost, three homes burned down.

This story absolutely disgusts me. Firefighters and first responders are trained to make sure the that scene is safe before entering – but I honestly don’t see how they could have done anything differently in this situation. The details are still very sketchy around this (Have they caught the person(s)? What was the motive?), but it sounds very much like they were ambushed. I hate that people do awful things like this to our unarmed first responders. I married into a family of firefighters – brave men who head towards danger when the rest of us are running away. I just don’t understand what the motive for this could have been.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those killed and injured today.

Click here for the link to the continuing coverage at CNN.