by | Jul 28, 2013 | Wildfire | 16 comments

Following Confessions and Mass – Blue Skies on One Side, Smokey Skies on the other.  Ash falling around us while we watched and offered another prayer for their Daddy’s safety…
One of the “benefits” of fire assignments that are fairly local is that sometimes Sean is able to come home at night, or we are able to go and visit him.  He was able to call home last night at 9pm, while trying to decide whether he should start pitching his tent and take a shower at the fire camp, or just drive an hour and sleep at home. He came home!  He didn’t arrive until just after 10pm, and then had to leave again at 4am this morning, but the kids were all excited to see him.  He had taken a little camera along with him and had a few pictures to share:  


He is actually working on a “complex” of fires – 54 fires in one county (there were over 75 in a three county area) that were ignited by the lighting storm early Friday morning, though that total number is decreasing as several fires in close proximity to each other have burned together.  
Sean told me last night that they have declared this a “conflagration” (a large disastrous fire) and have called in FEMA.   He said as they drove to the fire they passed many homes tucked along the edges of the forest with the residents standing outside watching the smoke.  By the end of the day they were all being evacuated.   He also said that they had to find an alternative route out of the fire, since the way they had come in was later cut off by fires merging.   
Credit: ODF – InciWeb taken July 26, 2013
For those who have asked, my husband is actually a Forester, but he has fought wildfires every summer since he was in college.  He takes the pack test every spring to qualify for his red card and will be sent out on wildfire assignments during fire season as part of his job. (He does have to be caught up with his other projects and have the approval of his supervisor to leave.)  When we were first married he would be gone for up to three weeks (21 days on the fire, plus travel) at a time, but a number of years ago that was reduced to two weeks at a time (14 days on the fire, plus travel), before they are required to be given a couple days of R&R.  Apparently most of the accidents and injuries were happening during that third week.  He is qualified to do many different types of jobs on the fire – Engine Boss, Crew Boss, Radio (which he hates because it’s a lot of sitting around at fire camp, but I love since it is one of the safest!), testing for Hot Spots after the fire has gone through, etc) but on this fire he is currently working as a “Resource Advisor.”  (He did say there is a chance he will be moved to an Engine this week, but he isn’t sure.)  Fire Assignments equal long hard days (for both of us!) but the overtime is always such a huge blessing and helps refund our savings for the winter months and for that we are thankful. 
Credit : InciWeb taken July 26, 2013
As of last night this complex of fires had already burned 10,000 acres and is still growing. 
Please continue to pray for his safety, and the safety of everyone involved! 


  1. Anna

    These pictures of the orange sky are amazing. I've never seen such a big fire or complex of fires so close (and I don't ever want to see). I hope your husband and other firemen will come safe back home.

  2. Julie

    Jessica, I will pray for Sean and your whole family. Also, thank you for your prayers for all married couples — my husband and I sure appreciate it! Where did you get that lovely statute of St. Anne? It is my favorite and I would like to get it for one of my kids who has "Anne" as one of her names!

  3. Amber

    What incredible pictures! I'll be keeping your husband and his co-workers in my prayers. I pray they will be able to get it under control soon! Thanks for sharing more about what your husband does. I must admit I have wondered. Does he ever get assigned to fires in Northern CA? If so, I wonder if he's ever ended up nearby! We are in a high fire area too, which can be pretty scary at times. Being near all those beautiful trees can come with a high price, can't it – if not in actual loss, at least in worry and concern.

  4. Erin

    Wow that is massive!! Very, very frightening.

  5. Julie

    Wow! I will pray for your husband's safety. My husband would be right out there with him if he ever had the opportunity!

  6. Karla in MN

    Praying for Sean's safety and for you and the children while he has to be away. God bless you and angels surround all of the firefighters and families affected by these fires. Amen.

  7. Kim

    Those pictures are amazing and terrifying at the same time. Many prayers for your husband and his coworkers. May the Lord protect them.

  8. Kerry

    Julie not trying to answer for Jess but I have that St Anne statue too and it's from Roman's I believe. I got mine for $16 at our local Catholic bookstore.

    Jess, those pictures are both beautiful and terrible at the same time. Prayers for his safety going up!

  9. Jessica Gordon

    You are so welcome! And thank you for the prayers!

    Isn't the Saint Anne Statue beautiful!? She was one of the patrons I choose for my confirmation and the Joseph's Studio Statue is my favorite. Here is the link to it on Amazon.

  10. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, Amber! He has fought many fires in Northern CA over the years, as well as in (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and even Florida one year!). In fact, right after we returned from our honeymoon he was sent to a fire near Susanville, CA for three weeks. I visited while he was there and we joked about going to Reno to get married (see #24 of this list of wedding memories for the details). lol

  11. Jan

    Sending up prayers for his safety and for you and your children while he is away.

  12. Katie V.

    What what unbelievable photos – they seem other-worldly! And I agree, beautiful but concerning at the same time. Prayers for your husband and his crew!

  13. 9peasMom

    Wonderful photos, and it is good how God has worked this heroic job of assisting in fire fighting to enable you guys to save. God is good, and I pray that Sean and all those fighting the blaze and affected by it remain safe.
    I have been praying for you as well, as another Mama who knows the difficulties of parenting a large family solo for long stretches I offer my challenges up for you!

  14. Anonymous

    So many prayers. Our house smalls like smoke and my eyes are burning. Boy, I hope they can kill these fires soon. So sad that according to the paper, one of the biggest was set by a human.

  15. Amy

    Praying for your husband and you! My husband works for the Forest Service and he left a week ago, went to Wyomming and now his truck crew is being sent to Oregon. He may turn this detail into a 21 day one. 21 days makes me sad but we'll have a very happy bank account this summer! He had gone to Colorado in June for 14 days already.


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