"In response to a friend's email, concerning the California fires and asking if I was okay:
"My" fire happened last month, but because it was only a couple of mountains and all forest and only a few "hunter's cabins" and grew to be larger in size than the city of San Francisco , I guess there was not much news coverage on it. Fortunately, it was on the other side of my little mountain and would have had to jump the freeway to get to me. Staying locked in the house was my best option. Still it played havoc with my asthma, but that is under control now.
My son, being in San Francisco has little to worry about. My daughter is in the Los Angeles area and close to the Lake Arrowhead fire. Three years ago flames were in sight of her street and they were ready to leave when it turned around.
This year she is only being inundated by ash. (Think of a blizzard and you've got the picture.) They are all locked inside their house with the air conditioning OFF in 3 digits temps. Last time they used the air conditioner, the ash ruined the coils, and they had to replace the whole system, so this time they are using the house fans.
I told her to come up here, but now the freeways are closed. The routes they could take around still would make it possible, but I cannot imagine the traffic, and think they are safer at home. Her son, is a Paramedic and I am more worried about him, as he is working the Riverside area which is closer to the other bigger fires, and he is in the midst of rescue efforts. Not too long ago he was gung-ho to be in the military and on the front lines. Well, he got his wish in a way. He's a tough guy with a very big heart. I know he is getting an education the hard way, right now. I will get the real story from him later.
There are fires in the Canyon Country region, where my brother used to live, as well as my parents. I am so glad they are no longer there. My brother is frantic about his old friends and neighbors. Same with my sister, who used to live near the Malibu fires area. You have to realize these fires are NOT just in the uninhabited areas. It is inevitable that neighborhoods get destroyed.
Most people think of California as one big stretched out freeway city, but there is a great deal of wilderness surrounding each city and homes encroach right up the canyons and into the trees. There are those who say "I told you so" about building neighborhoods in areas that should be left to nature. But, I guess if one can afford $$$ million dollar homes up on the side of a mountain, one can afford the insurance and rebuild.
Sorry to sound so cynical. There's a lot of rich neighborhoods which have been destroyed. I cannot help but notice the comparison between Hurricane Katrina and now. Money has power and California money talks to politicians. Swarztenegger was there in the area of the very rich homes on the first day. He has friends in high places (like those homeowners near the fires). Though this is a terrible tragedy, the power that moneyed people have here is obvious. And of course, the ones in the shelters have less than the ones who have gone to stay at Hilton.
I keep wondering about the wildlife. We lost a lot with the fire up here last month. The small critters can't get away. The larger ones run into other regions. Where I live the wildlife relocated itself into farming areas and they keep rescuing cougars and bears. The wild boar are being shot. The coyotes live very well among communities. Wolves are on the fence as there are those who kill on sight, and those who rescue. I don't know what they are going to do in Southern. California.
Well, I suppose one could consider one good thing to have come from all this. The San Diego area is so devastated. There wont be any cover for the illegal immigrants. They wont need an army of immigration officers to watch the border. A single helicopter should be able to handle the job. That should take care of the problem for a long time! And, yes, I am being a bit sarcastic here.
I dread this winter when the rains begin, as then there will be mudslides galore. It really is very very bad this year. I've lived in So Cal many years and seen the fires come and go.