Wildfire continues to threaten some truckers’ homes near Littlerock, CA

| 9/2/2009

Some OOIDA members in the incorporated area of Los Angeles County have found themselves on the front lines of a wildfire that is now within a few miles of their homes.

OOIDA member Kevin Barber of Littlerock, CA, said he and his wife, Carol, have been watching the wildfire, known as the Station Fire, closely for the past few days.

The Barbers’ house sits just two miles north of Mount Emma Road, and fire crews have been evacuating residents who live across the road on the south side.

“Believe me, if they tell us to leave, we are gone,” Kevin Barber told Land Line late Tuesday, Sept. 1. “We have been through fires before, and we aren’t taking any chances. We won’t be the ones trying to save our property with a garden hose.”

About 11 years ago, the Barbers moved to Littlerock from the nearby community of Acton.

“The area where we used to live in Acton is burning right now,” Kevin Barber said.

OOIDA member Bill Smith of Littlerock said there are signs that the wildfire is diminishing some. He said on Tuesday that the air was filled with black smoke, but that the air was “a little clearer” went he stepped outside on Wednesday.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s report on Wednesday, Sept. 2, the Station Fire has already scorched more than 140,150 acres and has burned another 18,000 acres since Tuesday.

However, there has been some good news to report. The department listed the fire as 22 percent contained on Wednesday, up from just 5 percent a day ago.

So far, the Station Fire has destroyed at least 62 residences and still threatens another 10,000 residences and 500 commercial properties.

On Wednesday, at least one of the seven wildfires burning through the state of California – the Forty Nine Fire – is 100 percent contained.

On Monday, Barber, like many other OOIDA members who live in the area, spent the day helping others evacuate from areas like Juniper Hills.

“I helped a friend of mine evacuate because the fire was right on his doorstep,” Barber said. “We got him out, but fortunately his house didn’t burn because the wind shifted and the fire took off in another direction.”

Barber, a 27-year trucking veteran, said being this close to a wildfire of this magnitude has prompted a discussion with his wife about what they would take if the wind suddenly shifted and they were forced to flee their home.

“We decided we will just start grabbing pictures, our animals and every important file we could think of, but that everything else is just stuff and fairly replaceable,” he said.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer