Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A word about the fires here in Southern California

Yesterday I went on a crazy impromptu trip to Disneyland with all three kids, because it was parent conference day and I had already met with my kids' teachers. It was such a strange day, because Orange County and San Diego Counties were ablaze with wildfires. I didn't know it at the time, or I wouldn't have driven down into the ash-laden air to spend the day outdoors. Not that it was much better up here in L.A. County. In fact, I thought I would be escaping the smoky air by heading south. But instead I was driving into even more smoke. The hot Santa Ana winds and the orange light from the smoke in the air made the day at the theme park a more surreal experience than usual.

When I got into the car to drive home, I heard on the radio that 500,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes in San Diego County, 1300 homes and businesses have been destroyed, and two people have died. I don't know anyone personally who was evacuated, but friends and relatives of friends have had to grab a few possessions and go. What a stark contrast to our carefree day at the Magic Kingdom.

Here's hoping the winds die down soon, and the firefighters get the fires under control. The article in the L.A. Times gives a good account of what is going on, and the photo galleries in the article are worth looking at.

9 comments:

Sam Houston said...

I can't even imagine how that must feel...watching fire steadily approaching your home and no way to stop it.

Unreal. Good luck to everyone in CA.

Literary Feline said...

I imagine it was quite surreal being at Disneyland at this time. I hope the kids had fun, just the same.

My part of the Southland has not been immune to the fires either. One friend very well may have lost her house up in Lake Arrowhead and I know others who are displaced as well because of evacuations. It's such a horrible situation for so many. I'm counting my blessings, let me tell you!

Gentle Reader said...

sam--it's so scary to watch the news and see whole neighborhoods engulfed--I can't even imagine the fear and helplessness the inhabitants must feel. It is unreal.

literary feline--it was surreal, but the kids had a great time. We're in an urban area, nowhere near the fires, but I know so many people who have relatives who have had to be evacuated. I'm counting my blessings, too!

Matt said...

I did not realize the evacuees reach 500,000. A friend of mine who works at a health club has been told to evacuate until the safety of the location is evaluated.

We're up high on fire hazard in northern CA as well, it's been unseasonably warm and dry.

Bookfool said...

That's got to be terrifying.

But, I feel better about not even realizing how bad the fires were, now. If you didn't know and you're *in* California . . . but still. We had one small article on page 6 of our newspaper. Maybe that's the kind of news coverage that explains why nobody seemed to know that the entire state of Mississippi was hit hard by Katrina, not just the Coast. I've never quite understood that.

John Mutford said...

Wow. Surreal certainly sums it up. I really hope it ends soon.

Robin said...

What a terrible time for everyone in the area! I've been watching the coverage and my heart breaks for all those people that have lost homes and entire communities! I'm glad to hear that you are not too close to the burning area.

Gentle Reader said...

bookfool--I hadn't listened to the news all day, and then, once I turned on the radio, come to find fires are everywhere! I've never understood news coverage, either, by the way!

john--It was surreal! Fortunately it looks like now that the winds have died down, the fires will be coming under control soon.

robin--It has been heartbreaking. On a lighter note, one of the benefits to my more urban neighborhood is that we are never threatened by wildfires. Now if we could just figure out how to get rid of the earthquakes...

Gentle Reader said...

matt--I know that about northern California, too--my parents live in the east bay. Hope your friend is okay!