Getting Started + Wildfires!!!

On August 22, 2013, in Research Leave, by kholt
Katie's Desk

Ah, the glamorous life of a historian!


My husband and I found a great office in Ketchum.  Our suitemates are friendly, it is a nice, quiet place to work, and the views!  The views!  I like having a big window to stare out while I’m thinking.  And after the relative dimness of the light in Ohio, I’m spending as much time as possible in the bright sunshine.

Ketchum office View Pre-fire

Ketchum office View Pre-fire

Ketchum office Aug 14 2013

Ketchum office Aug 14 2013

Well, ok, the Beaver Creek fire has made it pretty hazy and smoky today.  The “very unhealthy” air quality means that we’re all staying inside.  The firefighters are working hard to contain the fire.

 UPDATE: 8/22

Wow, I lot happened since I started writing that calm blog post.  On Friday (8/16), the Sheriff issued a pre-evacuation notice for our section of Ketchum.  Earlier in the week, the wind had blown a lot of smoke and ash up to our part of the valley, but now the fire was growing and looked like it could make a run north-east to burn the town.  The notice said to pack medicine, important papers, and a few changes of clothes, and get out.

Evacuating Ketchum (taken from the back of the escape Jeep!)

Evacuating Ketchum (taken from the back of the escape Jeep!)

I had never even heard of a fire tornado!

Fire tornado!

We could see the firefighters tents near Hailey, and more and more planes came dropping retardant and water. It was very scary!  They closed the highway a few hours after we left.

Air Support

Helicopter getting water from the Big Wood River! (USDA Photo)

The Great Basin Incident Management Team (a state-federal-municipal collaboration to fight natural disasters) has done a great job keeping residents informed with new media!  They have a facebook group, and a collection of great images on flickr.  It has been especially interesting to see their use of GIS and digital mapping me while I take a MOOC on mapping (more on that later).

Boise is a great town to be stranded in.  We ate Basque tapas, visited the World Center for Birds of Prey, and even saw a Boise State scrimmage on the Smurf turf!  Still, everyone was anxious about the fire and the safety of the firefighters.

One positive outcome from the evacuation: My family and I bought a car in Boise. Our elderly Volvo station wagon gave up the ghost on our drive West, deciding that us asking it to climb the 8,432 foot (2,570 m) Teton Pass was the last straw. We’ve been looking for a replacement car for a few weeks, but with all the great bike paths in Ketchum, there didn’t seem to be much of a hurry. That is, until the six of us (plus a dog!) had to evacuate in my parents’ Jeep! We strapped emergency supplies to the top, but my husband Jason had to ride in the back with the dog. The need for a reliable getaway car added greater urgency to our car search.  Wooster friends will find this hard to believe, but we’re now the owners of a NEW car.  (We tend to drive old Volvos into the ground…and then replace them with a slightly newer old Volvo).


Getaway Car!


The evacuation order is finally lifted, everyone is safe, and it is nice to be back to work.  I’ll post later this week about the projects I’m working on this year.


2 Responses to “Getting Started + Wildfires!!!”

  1. K. Olds says:

    Speaking of cars, we may be buying our first one EVER. Any advice on make/model? What did you buy?

  2. kholt says:

    Buying one car makes us total experts…we bought a Subaru Forester.

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