Monday, October 22, 2007

Earth, Wind, & Fire

The tragedy out here is overwhelming with over a million people having been evacuated from their homes at this point. I know what it is to lose your home and everything in it as it happened to me in 1994 during the Northridge Earthquake. With the fires, though, I am well out of harms way. There have been a lot of question about Richard too. His home is well out of the current danger area. As is Slimmons. LAX is also fine.
The good news / bad news is that the winds have died down. That's fabulous news in that the fire fighters - incredibly brave men and women from all over the country - have a chance, now, of slowing the fires down. Malibu is almost contained. Stevenson Ranch is almost out. Valencia is coming under control. These are the three fires near me. You should know that "contained" is very different than "out." It may be weeks before the fires are gone. The vegetation in the hills around my home depend on fire as part of their life cycle to spread seed... as a result, their bark is very oily and virtually impossible to put out once it ignites. Fire Services just lets them burn, and trys to keep the fire from spreading from there.
The really terrible zones are in San Diego and Arrowhead Lake. I have no idea whether their winds are gone yet or not. But the situation in those areas is completely out of control.
The reason that lack of wind, for me, is problematic (minimal bad news) is that while it was blowing, although everything was smokey and the air quality was poor, the majority of the smoke was being blown in one direction and away from my home. Now, the smoke is everywhere. Outside of my front door, it is as dark as if it is about to rain, but it is just smoke.

People who have lived through this before recognize the "ash snow" that is dropping from the sky and covering everything. I don't bother to sweep or dust or vacuum during these times; it's pointless. The air quality is has gone from poor to abhorrent and this will be the condition for probably 10 days or more. I have very large hepa filters running inside of my condo and that, of course, helps me out. Eric lives literally on the edge of a large wildlife preserve on the outskirts of Los Angeles (right on the cliff; the first house before dried-to-a-crisp grassland); I have been very worried about him and his family, but fortunately, the fires have not gone anywhere near him. I insisted a couple of days ago, though, that he lock his cat up in the bathroom and pack emergency supplies (clothing, etc) for his four children for which he is the primary and sole custodian. He knows that if anything happens near his home, he is to proceed directly here.
So that is it for now. My life is continuing as "normal" and my heart is with those who are in danger and who have lost everything.

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