On Saturday, June 5, 2004 a reportly drunk driver got stuck in a ditch not far from the OCA site. In his effort to get unstuck he evidently spun his tires enough to spark a fire in the dry grass along the road. Apparently his car exploded in the fire. OCA member Linda Caldwell from her property (only a 1/4 mile from the OCA site) saw the explosion, called 9-1-1 and, along with her husband Tom were witnesses to the ensuing efforts to put of the fire. According to Tom:
"My wife and I witnessed the fire today here about a quarter mile or less from [the OCA Anza site]. My wife probably made the first call to the fire dept. An explosion, which she witnessed, on an adjoining property . started the fire at about 4:50pm. The OCA [property] was directly in the path of the fire. We prayed and watched, which was all we could do. I took lots of pictures of the airdrops, helis and airtankers. Lots of fire equipment and response time was very good. ."
"It was quite an operation. The CDF operated with military precision, a small army of personnel, many trucks, RFD and CDF trucks, several different types of helicopters, including Sikorsky's heavy lift and two air tankers, along with an airtraffic coordination aircraft above them all. The wind was mild but it was blowing the fire directly toward the OCA site.. There were fire trucks up above [the OCA site] and various places throughout the night to watch for flare-ups. The property was in good hands. The fire people did a remarkable job."
Dave Radosevich reports that while no structures were lost there was some damage to some tables on Mars Hill and that some electical circuits were burned. Note: Everyone should make sure your circuits are okay before turning on breakers on your pads and observatories during your next outing to the site.
Dave, John and Jim lost all the native vegetation on their property and had to quite a job cleaning up the fire retardant that helped save their property.
The path of the fire took it through the Caldwell property, the HKR property, the property to the east of HKR where an old wooden building burnt to the ground, around the north side of our property, through the Upper Pad area and down to the storage shed across the road from the OCA Observatory and Star Cruiser Observatory.
Our thanks go to the Caldwells for their prayers and quick action which surely saved the OCA site from what could have been a much worse event.