Thursday, May 15, 2014

Still Uncomfortable

Less wind, that's the improvement we are thankful for today. It will be a hotter day. We are breaking heat records, here. The two fires that are uncomfortably close are the Poinsettia Fire, and definitely the Coco's Fire. Both are visible from our home, but it was the Coco's Fire that I was watching all night. It's hard to sleep when out the bedroom window the sky is aglow, and the hills are in flames. Whenever I started to think about how nervous or stressed I felt, I gave my thoughts and prayers to the firefighters working all night to get the upper hand, and all the thousands of families evacuated. We are on edge and cautious, but relatively safe.

It's Throwback Thursday? I can't help but think back to the (too) many times we have faced evacuations, and great distress because of California fires. We are susceptible, true, but it is infuriating to think that a lot of these "wild" fires are because of arson, and reckless behaviors.

Alex and William were little guys in 1996, when hot embers were landing on our roof from the Harmony Grove Fire. We packed our car, and I took the boys to my mom and dad's place in San Diego. I couldn't convince Geoff to put down the hose, and come with us, but he probably saved our little home, with the wood shingle roof.

The Cedar Fire, 2003, shutdown the freeways the very day movers were supposed to come and pack us for our move. We were surrounded by fire, trying to pack and move, and were eventually evacuated. The ashes fell like snow on the house, and escrow was delayed just days from closing. But our setbacks and fears were nothing compared with the loss of lives. After this one, fires became something that I pay very close attention to.

Four years later, and the entire county was engulfed. The Witch Creek Fire, Harris Fire... there were so many we could hardly keep track. This one, incredibly, was even more destructive than the Cedar Fire. Thankfully, we were able to evacuate to Holly and Rich's home, but even there we thought we might wind up paddling in the Bay, to escape the encroaching fires.

In 2008 there were wildfires all over northern California, and somehow, I managed to get caught in the midst of those, too! With the four children, and three chickens in the minivan, I was driving home from seeing my mom and dad in Oregon. It was when Delia had been hit by street racing potheads, north of Santa Rosa... awful, awful event, and on the way back to So Cal, I had to keep driving, 13 hours, from Fortuna, to Atascadero... every motel and hotel was booked or being used as a fire fighting base stations because of all the fires. Geoff was searching for a place for us to stay from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara! The drive was surreal... flames, smoke, and evacuees for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

After all that? I cannot be surprised that Alex took the initiative to gather supplies, and assemble bail out bags for each of us, and extras for each vehicle! He and Maria spent weeks putting these together last summer. It turns out that disaster preparedness and zombie apocalypse preparedness have a lot in common... seriously! Alex really took his task to heart, and Maria learned new, helpful skills in the process, too. Every region has its own concerns and needs, and I hope you will take the time to make your own bail out bag, and be prepared!

Alex brought our bags out of the closet and they were lined up on the kitchen counter, along with some tasty nacho cheese. The fires are miles away, but the high winds, and the wind gusts, move embers from east to west... new fires can start anywhere in the wind's path, especially when we are in single digit humidity. Nacho cheese? Oh yeah... that's in _Queso_ emergency! It's _Nacho_ place to judge! Humor, even bad puns, in a crisis, is fundamental to survival!

*Don't mean to exactly dwell on these fires... I think on them with relief to have moved passed them, and gratitude. But they were huge events, at the time, and it's interesting to recall the craziness, and resolve to cope and thrive. Is it like this in other situations... do you recall the tornadoes, or blizzards, the earthquakes you rode out? I cannot deny that the memories have begun to feel like merit badges I can proudly wear on my life-scouting sash. I just don't need to collect any more new ones!


judy in ky said...

I hope they stop those fires soon. Thanks for keeping us posted.

judy in ky said...

I am concerned about you and all the animals. I hope you are all safe.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us all posted. The photo is beautiful even though the subject matter is so scary-awful. So proud of Alex's efforts. What a man! Keep safe. Granny B

Anonymous said...

Maybe I could borrow your apocalypse preparers for a few hours to help me plan my bail-out bag! Stay safe, my friend.