I just want to live in a world of mountains, coffee, campfires, cabins, and golden trees, and run around with a camera and notebook, learning the inner workings of everything real.Victoria Erickson
My second novel that I’ve been working on for the past year is about Summer Camp. The camp in the book is based heavily on the camp I grew up attending.
Last week, we watched the Mosquito fire sweep through the area and thought that for sure that the camp was lost. The locals were told to evacuate and the fire was approaching the road to the campground at an extremely rapid pace.
Living in California is living in a wildfire zone and every year that gets a little worse. As the state heats up, wildfire season starts earlier and earlier and lasts longer and longer. Our firefighters are constantly on call and are no doubt fatigued and traumatized from the onslaught that only gets more aggressive with each fire season.
As of today, the Mosquito fire is only about 20% contained, though we are due to get some rain, so that’s helped. The good news is, the camp survived! Partially because firefighters used some of its structures as their base of operations and worked diligently to save it and the surrounding town. Volunteers also work year around to provide maintenance for the aging camp ground, and work clearing trees helped keep the structures safe when the fire broke out.
Still, the fire has burned nearly 70,000 acres already and in an area that was ravaged by fires last year, too. I am extremely grateful the campground was saved, especially in light of spending the last year working on the book and always being at camp in my head. Last year, I was extremely grateful the Tahoe fire didn’t burn down my family’s cabin.
It’s hard, though, to face this every season. To know that every hot breeze on dry grass can end in disaster if someone flicks a cigarette. To see the saturated orange sunsets through heavy smoke, to worry constantly that something you have loved forever is going to be gone in a flash.
Also, I really worry about all the bears and other wildlife!!
I’m grateful, however, that I’ve been working on this book and have spent so much mental time reminiscing about a place I once loved with all my heart and am so relieved to know that those first reports were wrong and the camp was saved. It’s not out of danger yet at 20% containment, but things are looking better and I’ve never been happier for a little bit of rain.