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Monday, October 22, 2007

FIRE - Here We Go Again!

It was four years ago that we evacuated our home to flee the raging Cedar Fire. That fire started on a Sunday too. If the fires that started yesterday in Potrero and Romona had waited five days until October the 26th, it would have been the exact four year anniversary of the fire that burned our canyon down.

There are fires all over San Diego County - at least 8 - and the
Santa Ana winds are supposed to continue through tomorrow. There are also fires all over in the Los Angeles area north of us. San Diego's Wild Animal Park is under threat, a hospital is being evacuated, and 250,000 people have fled their homes for Red Cross evacuation centers or the homes of friends or family in safer areas.

The two photos below were taken as we left just ahead of the Cedar Fire in 2003.


This is an ironic bit of Deja Vu. The same type of wind-driven fires, on just about the same day, four years later...except that these fires are even bigger and more widely spread. Over 100,000 acres have burned in less than 24 hours. At times, in certain areas the winds have reached hurricane force. Live embers and ash are raining down and the fire fighting planes are grounded because of the wind conditions. These fires are fast so one must be prepared to leave on a moments notice.

Yet right now it is relatively calm in our canyon. We can even see a little sky blue through the smokey gray but none of us trust it enough to let our guard down. We KNOW how often the wind changes direction and how quickly the flames move and consume.
Needless to say all four of us have been up all night monitoring the fires on the TV and the radio - and packing. No one can sleep.

One packs important papers, jewelry, instruments, photos, clothing, medication, pets, pet food, pet meds, and small heirlooms and keepsakes if there is room. Once packed there is nothing to do but wait, watch, and wonder if you will have a home tomorrow.

Our house and belongings survived the fire in ' 03 but my friends and neighbors all lost everything. Because the insurance companies are so full of shit it has taken all of these years for life to get somewhat back to normal. Some people got royally screwed by the corporate profiteers and still haven't been able to rebuild. Now it's happening all over again.

Another irony - The rebuild of the house that burnt to the ground across the street four years ago is almost complete. As I write I can see several construction workers finishing up the roof and working on the windows.... strange considering the red flag alert.

If we have to leave we are taking the computer but will not have internet access where we will be staying so I may not be able to write for a while. If our canyon is spared this time, I will blog updates now and then ( if we still have power).

I had been working on a piece about Blackwater's impact on the environment in Potrero.
I hope the eagles survived - there are three documented eagle nests in Potrero. We were just there during the encampment two weekends ago and spent time with many of the lovely, brave people who live there. Quite a few folks were injured and one died in this fire. Potrero was hit pretty hard. Let's just hope that Erik Prince of Blackwater does not see this tragic fire as an opportunity to siphon a fortune in taxpayer dollars away from the fire victims like he did during Katrina. We don't want thugs with guns and we can't afford them either!

I will say this about the environment - it is even more fragile after a fire like this and needs time to recover. The wildlife that survive are traumatized. We took care of some of our wild neighbors after the last fire. The animals do not need guns, speeding Humvees, and helicopters to add to their suffering. Also consider that Blackwater proposes to build an 18,000 sq. ft. armory to store their ammunition. Heckuva lotta ammo - Good thing it wasn't built yet. Dumb idea for a fire prone area don't ya think? Ka Boom!

Oh my gosh, this is a sequel! They just reported that "The Terminator" is on his way. Rewind! Replay! Nothing like another fire photo op. Hey, hey the Govenator is on his way - just like in ' 03!

Anyway we are calm but remain alert and ready to leave if need be. It all depends on how the wind blows...

I think I'll go wash some dishes and watch them work on the rebuild across the street. Maybe it will take my mind of off tomorrow.
.............Kitchen Window Woman............

UPDATE - I went to wash the dishes and looked out the window - the construction workers were gone! Its much smokier now so we are keeping the door shut. The wind is picking up some and doing it in gusts. Those guys left because they couldn't breathe. I'm just wondering why they were even working as through out SD county everyone has been sent home from work and all the schools are closed. Dishes are done so back to watching, waiting , and wondering and trying to keep my eyes open. KWW

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14 Comments:

Blogger bluegrrrrl said...

Thank you so much for coming by to let me know you're OK, KWW!!

Please take care and don't take any chances...well, I don't have to tell you that...You've done the evacuation thing before...

I am safe where I am, don't expect to be evacuated unless events change significantly.

Yes, it is deja vu...and tragically, it is the reality of living in So Cal these days.

Keep me posted on how you're doing!!

12:41 PM  
Blogger bluegrrrrl said...

ah, KWW--just heard on the news that there are evacuations in your area...I hope you are safe.

You're in my thoughts!

3:49 PM  
Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Stay safe, I know how things could be with those fires there. I was stationed at El Toro in the 80's and love every moment of it, except those Santa Ana winds and the fires.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Anon-Paranoid said...

Yes KWW, stay safe. Maybe the fire will keep Blackwater our now for sure.

This could be a silver lining that will not become known for some time.

Anyway, please keep you and your family safe and leave if you have to.

God Bless.

PS: bluegrrrrl, please stay safe also.

8:37 PM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

We're sitting here 2,500 miles away, staring with bleary (and sometimes teary) eyes at the boob tube, praying our cell phones won't ring, at 3 in the morning. (Eastern) My outlaws live in your state, and I get out there a couple times a year. Her whole family lives in Ca., many of them Ca. natives, and that's a lot of family (Italian). We're cheering for you!!

"I will say this about the environment - it is even more fragile after a fire like this and needs time to recover."
True. But yet, some plant life needs fires like this, to reproduce themselves. Nature was sending Santa Ana's full of fire thru those canyons long before the first human got there, and everything grew back luscious and beautiful time after time. My FIL said something when I first met him, regarding all the fires, and I thought the man was nuts - but he was right. "The fires are natures's way of telling us; "put things back the way I had them, and keep your hands off!" I wish you well.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Stay safe and be careful. This is so scary. I can't imagine going through this.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Janice said...

Hi, Becki Funk's mother here. Please let me know what is happening in the Canyon. I am watching the news, but it is distressing. Two families that I know have lost their homes, more are threatened (yours included). I think your daughter has my email address, if possible have someone let me know how you are all doing? Janice La Mere Hackney (got married - pinkhighways.com has pics).

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Hope you stay safe KWW.

Late October sure is the time for massive fires in California. That's true for Northern California also. The Oakland Hills firestorm of '91 was in late October.

Hope you get some rain soon.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous auntie said...

I just hung up from speaking to KWW. She wants me to pass along that they evacuated right after she posted this blog about the fire. She and her family are all safe. They have not heard anything about their canyon or their home there. (no news is good news, I hope) She is hopeful because the winds are supposed to subside and the military helicopters are now involved in fighting the fire as of today.
My heart goes out to all the people affected by these raging fires in S. Cal. If I hear more from KWW I will pass it on again.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Thanks for the update.

1:46 PM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

Hi KWW, hope you're ok!

Looks like the winds have died down but it's still hot.

We need it to cool off a bit too!

9:25 PM  
Blogger bluegrrrrl said...

Thank you so much for the update, auntie!!!

I am VERY glad to hear KWW and her family made it out safely. We had to evacuate too but were able to come back home last night.

If you talk to KWW, please tell her bluegrrrrl sends her a big hug!!!

6:16 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Bluegrrrrl...
You must have caught that evacuation order on the news right around when we got the reverse 911 call and left.Iread on your blog that later on you had to leave too.

Let's Talk...
The Santa Anas are something else. We are well used to them and used to the threat of fire. But as prepared as we are it is still always scary and stressful.

El Toro - is that Marine or Air Force? I haven't been up there in a while.

Anon-Paranoid...
Blackwater has been quiet through out this firestorm and there has been no word about them. It kinda makes me nervous. They may try to buy up more land by putting pressure on those who have lost everything. Erik Prince may be trying to come up with a scam to have his thugs double as firefighters and to offer his helicopters for water drops - all at one hundred time the price, of course.

We are all home now and safe as far as we know.

The Future Was Yesterday...
We are home safe - How did your in-laws do?

I agree with your father-in-law. We need to live WITH nature not against it. Months after the 03 fire, my daughter and I spotted some plants that we had never seen in the area before. Because we we in an area that had not been hydoseeded we thought that they were fire cycle plants doing their thing.

Mary...
We are OK now. It is scary and stressful but we couldn't imagine going through floods or tornadoes.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Kitchen Window Woman said...

Janice...
Congratulations! I dropped in at Pink Highways and looked at your pics - you look happy!

We are home - the Canyon is fine but everyone is tired and a bit scrambled. Sleep patterns and eating and such all out of kilter but we'll soon be back to as normal as we get.

Tom Harper...
October, global warming, and politicians who pander to developers. They've allowed building of thousands of new homes in unbelievable places!

If this dry weather keeps up I'm going to have to do a rain dance.

Auntie..
Thanks for posting the update for me. Hope that your caravan road trip goes well and that you all arrive safe and sound in Fla.

Polishifter...
We are home, fine, winds are down, fires are still burning but not a threat so far. It is good to be home.

11:20 AM  

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