Tuesday’s fire hit close to home – literally. For the first time that I can remember, there were some evacuations ordered in Great Falls.
People living on the extreme north side of Skyline neighborhood – along with residents of Countryside Village just a little to the east – were ordered to evacuate at about 6 p.m. last night, as the fire and smoke from a field fire got closer.
The fire, believed to have been sparked by farm equipment, started before noon several miles north of there, along Vinyard Road.
My house is only about six blocks away from the evacuated area, and while I was at work, my wife was watching scores of people driving past our house TOWARD the fire, despite warnings from GFPD, GFFR, and others to *not* go near the area.
The evacuation order was called off a few hours later, and thankfully the fire did not actually reach any of the houses.
And you know those “Safety Check-In” things that Facebook (and Google) sometimes activate after natural disasters or terrorist attacks? Apparently, Facebook automatically created one for “The Wildfire in Great Falls, Montana,” based (as far as I can tell) on the surge of people in the area using trigger words such as “fire” and “evacution.”
Today marks 14 years since I arrived in Great Falls. I truly can not put into words how happy it makes me. A few months ago, at about 13 years + 8 month, this officially became the place where I have lived longer than anywhere else in my life (although that previous record was set during two periods in one hellish location).
As a military brat who then spent 20 years on active duty, “home” was never a tangible, concrete thing for me – I had a vague understanding of what it meant, and knew that other people had a “home,” but until I arrived in Great Falls, the true nature and feeling of “home” was something I honestly never thought I would feel.
If you know me, or have been checking out my blog over the years, you know how much I love Great Falls, and how I fell in love with this community literally within days of arriving.
I believe the first meal I had in Great Falls was at the Apple Mill Grill (in the mall parking lot); it became Fiesta En Jalisco a few years later. The next evening, I had Howard’s Pizza – ’nuff said.
Thank you so much, Great Falls and Montana, for being the only place that I have ever lived that truly feels like – and is – home.
Here is one of the very first photos I took after arriving in Great Falls (on a then-fancy 640x360px camera phone!).
Hand-written sign posted above the urinals in an eatery – any guesses which one?
NOTE: do not let the sign discourage you – trust me, this place has the BEST BURGERS in Cascade County.
Also kick-ass French fries, and an internet-connected jukebox that lets me groove to my heart’s content.
PLUS super-friendly service. Seriously.
Yes, the sign is admittedly pretty yucky, but I ain’t picking places to eat based on the restrooms.
Spotted this at Petcetera (I think?) on 10th Avenue South a few weeks ago.
I don’t know what’s better – the look on the poor dog’s face, or some of the comments it got when I shared it on Facebook with the caption “omg”:
Frankie Hopkins: Omg indeed, $18 for a dog dress is outrageous!!
MontiLee Stormer: Who hates their dog that much and why isn’t the ASPCA involved?
Nate Smith: KNOW A FEW REZ DOGS THAT WOULD KNOT THAT SHIT UP SO FAST.
I absolutely love my Facebook friends.
But remember – if you’re ever in the market for stylish CAT clothes, you absolutely must must must visit the uber-classic Cat Prin site. It’s been…15 years? – and it still absolutely delights me.