Monday, October 27, 2003


My camera cables are packed so I can't share the images I have taken. We are sitting in between the Cedars and the Valley Center Fires. The Valley Center Fire is north of us and moving southwest. The fire chief, desperately, explained that without 200 more engines there is no chance of containing the fire. He predicted it would reach Escondido (it did last night) and San Pasqual and wild Animal Park (it may do that with the help of Santa Winds today.) We are on high wind advisory until 2pm. The same high winds that knock over tables, roll wood benches and sheer metal roofs from horse shelters, are blowing ash and embers over the entire county.

Last night we moved out photo albums and frying pans, Legos, and Diego. We were grabbing really important things and some rather meaningless articles. I wish I could bring the piano and the sideboard that we bought when we were married. The packers we hired can't come. Many of the major highways and roads are closed. Escrow is supposed to close on Friday. There is a toilet to replace, and a roofer is supposed to repair flashing around some pipes. We are supposed to have everything out of here before the weekend. I am prepared to pack up the chicas and rabbits, and then head to Petco for some immeditae remedy for an impromptu farm.

There are so many urgent tasks and responsibilities, and yet I am riveted to the view. Billows of black smoke are rolling up the backside of the nearest range and hazy amber smoke is begining to obscure the foothills and valleys that extend toward the Wild Animal Park. Resources are overextended and even out of town. No one talks about putting out the fires; they are beyond containment. I wish people were not losing their lives and homes.

Ramona, Lakeside, Alpine, Santee, Poway, Escondido, Valley Center, Miramar, El Cajon, Skinner Lake, Harbison Canyon, San Carlos, Kearney Mesa, Mission Trails, Clairemont...if you don't know these names, these places, it may be hard to comprehend the magnitude of this disaster. I do know these places and names, and I find it very difficult to comprehend. The distances are vast. In a county as large as San Diego we seldom ever think of there being any relative proximity between Ramona and Clairemont, Tierrasanta and Alpine, but now the county seems very small.

It seems somehow alarmist to believe our Rancho is danger. I am trying to assess the situation objectively. Using the Cedars fire as a guide, and judging by the rate and distance covered, then it is not impossible for the Valley Center fire to reach San Pasqual. More smoke is filling the view. It smells bad. The sky to the west has turned brown.

No comments: