Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Firestorm San Diego 2007

Just four years ago, we lived through a huge wildfire situation where it almost felt like San Diego itself was on fire from all vantage points. Hard to imagine that we could find or experience anything worse in such a short amount of time again.

Now it's October 20th, 2007 and I'm heading home after spending 30+ hours volunteering at the Sunrise Aid Station for the 100 Mile San Diego Endurance Run through the Cuyamaca Mountains, yes, the very one which has pretty much now burned. Sunday 10/21 I was driving home through highway #79 listening to live fire reports about a little fir burning which at the time was not hardly news worthy. By the time I got home (and had a little nap) the fire turned into an out of control blaze that was growing wildly with the Santa Ana winds that began to whip up on Saturday evening.

The blaze continues even as I write this. At this time we are still in a 'safe' zone, one of the few in teh county. Our worst experience so far at this point is that the fire burns to the South, East, and North of us and the winds have been blowing West but the onshore flow is bringing them back around to the East, causing an uncomfortable continuation of the smoke filled air and everyone is still coughing and hacking, but we have not been under mandatory evacuation.
At one point on Monday evening we were under a voluntary evacuation. The notice was about 2AM but lifted shortly after so we remain in our own home with all windows sealed for smoke and ash which also continues to rain down on us. It has made for the last several days to be almost surreal but thankfully this morning (10/24/07 8AM) I can see some patchy blue skies and the sunrise is visible though still hazy.

Most of my friends and co-workers have all been displaced and are evacuated at all different areas around the county. We have continued to be a safe haven and are also housing an evacuated family and pets in our home. We are proud and thankful to still have this to offer to those who have or may still be in danger of losing their 'shelter'.

My company has graciously (and even mandated) that all San Diego employees remain home and telecommute if possible. This has been a big help for us to be able to help others. The fires in Camp Pendleton are still quite close to us and at one point actually crossed 8 lanes of the 5 freeway. Reporters and firemen were reporting that these fires would likely burn out when they hit the oceans coastline...scary!

We have had limited cell-phone coverage and intermittent internet access but all of that is stabilizing as of late yesterday, so I'm thinking and hoping that this brings us closer to better containment. We continue to vigilantly watch the progress but are confident all will be welll by the end of the day or week. The fires will not be out or fully controlled until the end of the month but each passing hour puts further and further from harms way.

* I was not able to get some good pics, but their are many albums already posted with some good images of the events as they unfolded.. such as this album (where I got the image above)

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