Saturday, October 27, 2007

California fires...


A thousand thanks to everyone who has written to ask if I am all right. I am. It came within about half a mile, we had to evacuate for most of last week, but we are home now.

My son and I were talking about Santa Ana winds yesterday--about how they scrape at the human nervous system. They have always made me uneasy. When he was little, he said, the winds were exciting, like there was some adventure coming, something just over the hill, something you had to be ready for.

The humidity was 5% for about three days--wind gusts peaked around 70 mph, consistently 25-40 mph. There were three days of a ruddy false twilights that came and went as the wind shifted, three nights of a vivid orange moon and fire outlining the shapes of ridges. Over half a million people were evacuated. Many are not yet home. Some will come home to rubble. We are in the second year of a dust and bones drought--which was preceded by a really rainy year. That year grew the thickets of brush and weeds that are now brittle, dry and still burning in sweeping fronts all over southern California.

It is still smoky at times, as the air shifts. It is just before sunrise here and I went outside and walked around to wake up--something I usually do--and saw clouds here and there--so the humidity is coming back up. I can see the glow on Palomar Mountain off to the east, too, and the smell of smoke is on the breeze coming from the northwest. So the Poomacha and Rice/de Luz fires are still alive. The Santa Ana winds, we are told, could rise up again over the next few days. Some places, that would actually help--driving the flames back toward the already-burned land. Other places, it could enlarge existing fire areas.

The firefighters are amazing, working 48 hours shifts, many from northern CA, many using older equipment, and all of them fighting walls of flame without air support in too many places for far too long. People have been helping neighbors, saving pets, donating time, money, expertise, taking in evacuees--doing all the things that make one proud to be human, at least for a while...

2 comments:

MaryP said...

So glad to hear that you and your house are okay, Kathleen. I've been thinking about you and other authors here in San Diego. What a week that was, huh?

kathleen duey said...

Thanks, Mary,

It was terrifying and strange. The sky was black with smoke at times, that weird, rouged false dusk that everyone in southern CA knows all too well...and the moon was pumpkin orange...