Bobcat Gulch Wildfire
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June 13, 2000
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Wildfire Update July 7, 2001
June 16, 2002
As a former newspaper photographer, Phyllis Thompson believes no one can shoot too many pictures.
That's why. today she again can watch the Bobcat Gulch fire grow, creep
over Green Ridge west of her house and inch down the mountain toward her
fields. But this time it's through the pages of an album.
The Bobcat Gulch Fire, which began June 12, 2000, burned 10,600 acres
lasting several days.
The 60-year-old rural Masonville resident took hundreds of pictures
during the fire and for weeks afterward. She shared some of her photos
and memories for this section.
"You don't want to talk to me," Thompson said at first. "You want to
talk to someone who had to evacuate." But then, she spoke of her
family's decision to stay in their home, originally built in the late
"We felt safe here," she said. Her husband and son had just irrigated
the field that stood between her house and the approaching fire.
Plus, she reasoned, she had chores to do caring for cow-calf pairs and
exotic pheasants with eggs in the incubator.
When the first chief told her she needed to evacuate, Thompson said she
almost pleaded with him. "I said 'If you really, truly think we have to
go, we'll go.'
"He said 'No, you can sit tight for now. '" Despite the request for
people to leave the area, Thompson said they saw a great deal of
tourists driving onto their land.
"My husband and my son had a ball chasing people off," she laughed.
"One nut, this woman, actually drove right up here, opened the gate and
started walking up there to the fire. I said 'Go get her out of
Thompson said they didn't go to bed until around 2 a.m. and then were
awake again in the early morning.
Much of their time was spent standing in the yard, watching the fire
move down the ridge, then to the south, then back to the north.
Now from her yard, you can see the line on the ridge where the black
trees end and the green takes over.
"You kind of go into shock or something," said Thompson, who has lived
on the ranch for 37 years.
Walking into another room of her house, Thompson pointed out her
family's collection of mounted wildlife including a bear taken in the
mountains to the west and a mountain lion killed just east of her house.
There are deer, a beaver and one of her own exotic birds.
"How could you walk into this room and pick what to take, " she asked.
"Of course," Thompson said, "I'd take my photos first."
By Sara Quale