Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Drought-Stricken Isabella

Okay, I am officially worried.  Alarmed even.  Our beautiful lakes and rivers are being sucked dry by a drought that is not ending.  Last week we made our annual journey to Lake Isabella, located just south of Sequoia National Park, and were saddened to see it so low.   Boat ramps led into dry, scorched earth.  The flume, pictured above, used to be under water.  So were the many tree trunks and islands that boaters now have to navigate around.  "In another month, you won't be able to windsurf here," a local told us.

While walking out to the water's edge, we ran into a couple of women scavenging for old arrowheads.  "I even found a gold pocket watch buried out here," one of them said.  "And my mother found a clock."


The dam is broken, as well, and  I wonder if they'll even bother fixing it when there's no water for it to fill.
Poor drought-stricken Isabella.  And then . . . and then . . .


Late Friday afternoon, while I was quietly reading in the house we were renting, my travel buddy comes in and announces, "I don't mean to frighten you, but there's a fire behind us."  We spent a restless night, taking turns watching it.  We packed up the van . . .just in case.

Now called the Shirley Fire, fierce hot winds caused it to explode.  Five hundred homes were evacuated in the Wofford Heights area where we were staying.  We left on Sunday before it really took off.  It has now burned 2,600 acres, including parts of the Sequoia National Forest.  We spent most of Saturday watching helicopters drop water (from poor Isabella) on the flames.  Then the Big Guy arrived.  Watching the huge DC-10 drop red retardant on the ridge brought back memories of our own Santa Barbara Foothills being ravaged by fire five years ago.  Not a deja-vu I enjoy experiencing!
And so we left a smoke filled Kern Valley, wondering if we will ever return.  If it doesn't rain this winter, Lake Isabella will be no more.

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