Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California fires.

About last week I took the picture of these tall pine trees standing erect on a property across the street from my house. One of it is bent by the weight of a black bird sitting on top as it sways lazily with the gentle breeze.

Last Sunday morning the same pine trees, this time, however, they are bent by the gusty wind going 60 to 70 miles per hour. It was a windy day...very windy.

My husband and I went out that morning and we ended having lunch at the mall. After lunch we walked around the shops to get rid of some of that food we just had. We went around the mall twice. It was so windy outside it was much better to do a bit of walking in the confines of the mall. By perhaps 2:00 pm or a little past that hour we called it a day and we headed home.


As we stepped out of the mall we saw smoke billowing in the sky, and it was coming from the direction of our house, about 6 miles away or 5 - 8 minutes drive. We got in the car and took the road with less traffic. We both were tense, thinking of our house out there, near the fire or in flames already.

The most dreadful sight one could ever see. My home is in that direction where the smoke is coming from.

When we got close to the street where we have to take a right turn we were told by the sheriff we could not go through. The street was blocked. What the #*$q%&g8. We turned back and took the other main road, which made our travel longer. As we drove up to our place we found that the fire was farther from our place. We breathed a sigh of relief, we felt safe. Some of the trees were felled by the gusty winds.

About maybe an hour passed the fire was still on. Later on, the place darken, it's like it's early evening already. I kept looking out the window. The sun was obscured by the thick dark smoke.

Without the thick smoke it would be impossible to get a good shot of the sun. It was red-orangey in color. Here it looks more like the moon surrounded by reddish clouds.
By early evening the fire got this close. The brick fence on the lower left hand corner of the picture is my fence. The fire is on a hill just down my street. By this time, we have loaded our cars with clothes, documents, my camera, spare shoes and whatever I could grab. A little later on I remembered my photo albums. I went back in the house and grabbed all of them and dumped them in my car. I have a comforter and my purse in my car, the documents in my husband's car and he grabbed some snacks - biscuits and whatever - and some bottled water.

We were ready to evacuate. All our neighbors nearby have also carted stuff to their cars. The guy across the street have them all in luggage...fancy guy. LOL I just dumped everything in my trunk, no time for organizing or primming. I had my jacket on, as the wind is making me cold and nervous. We talked to the lady across the street. Her husband could not get through the barricaded streets. She was loading her car, as well, and she looked very nervous. We offered our help in case she needed a hand.

Later on a helicopter came over and assessed the fire on the hill. Then another helicopter came and doused the fire. The guy across the street applauded. He was so happy, as all of us are for the help that came. Soon another helicopter came and poured more water. A few minutes later there were just embers left on the hill and soon they died down. We were all relieved. Not one of my neighbors nearby left, we all stayed put.

I warmed left overs and my husband and I had dinner. We stayed up some more and watched TV to see how the fire is going on. There were still flare ups farther down the road.

The next day (Monday) our area was quiet. There were some smoke farther away, but we were out of danger. All schools - kindergarten to college - were closed for the day. My husband went down the hill to take a look at what was left by the fire. Coming back up he drove the back street and found 3 houses burned.

The wind was still gusty, and the fire had gone farther to another part of the city. Farther down south in the Foothills, in San Diego and in other areas, the fire was still raging. Hundreds of people evacuated and hundreds of homes burned to the ground.

I feel for the people who lost their homes; I applaud the firemen who put their lives on the line to save homes and people; for the heroic effort of others who volunteer at the evacuation center; and others who help in any way they can. And, I pray for the lives lost in this catastrophe.

The weather prediction is much better the rest of the week, and a little rain is expected. This will be a welcome sight...a relief to all.

*******************************

More on the fire here.

*******************************

The wind has stirred the ground and my allergy has flared up. My eyes are itchy, my nose is runny and I have a terrible headache. The medication I took didn't work at all. It must be that cheap one I bought. LOL


*******************************

26 comments:

nini said...

Take care, Mari. I have been following the news on CNN and a frightening sight indeed. Let's pray for Divine Intervention to help the firefighters contain the raging inferno 100%, at the soonest.

I'll keep texting you to see how you're doing.

Nini

Mari said...

nini,
Oh, we were so lucky we were spared. It's nerve wracking and scary.

Thanks so much for your concern.

Ebb Tide said...

Hi! Thanks for sharing your personal experience. It's more realistic when written by one who's been there. I know how it feels to have a brush with fire. We have been there many times too.

Mari said...

ebb,
It's the first time it came this close to us. Wheew. A couple of years ago, it was only at the outskirts of our valley.

Thanks for the visit.

Nance said...

i was reading the paper this morning and there was a map showing where the fire is... it scared me when i saw that the blazes were so closed to where you live! i promised myself to give you a call tonite but then i read your post ... boy that was a very close call!!! like Nini said, we'll keep on praying for containment and that the desert wind or Santa Ana wind will die down. you and the geek better take care 'k?

~dudette~

Mari said...

nance,
It truly was a close call. The wind had died down, and I've done some cleaning up in the back yard. It was so messy. My potted plants were knocked down by the wind; and leaves strewn all over.

I am glad I have friends like you who are so concerned of my safety and the geek. Thank you so much.

You take care.

vk said...

hi mari,

oo nga nakita namin sa TV news itong happenings.....nakatakot, ang daming wlang bahay at umiyak sila...
nakita ko pa yon isa....pag-dating nya ssa place nila, wla na ang bahay nila....yon apoy na lang....

grabe ano? sabi pa nga, mas mabuti pa nikawan kay sa apoy....

We just pray nothing is happen...

thanks for sharing....

vk said...

ay oo nga i experienced like this happenings....mabuti na lang hindi nasunog yon bahay namin...elem. grade pa ako noon,
tapos wala pa ang parents namin, kami lang mga bata.....ako pa ang malaki sa bahay, kasi yon mga sister ko nandoon pa sa school...

alam mo, para akong nabaliw, kasi sa takot at gusto ko yon 2 ko pang kapatid, baka masunog sila,,,,

nakatakot talaga........

Mari said...

vk,
Naku, nakakatakot lalo na sa probinsiya sa Pilipinas na wala pa yatang bombero. Buti nga hindi na sunog ang bahay ninyo.

Oo, nakaka-awa yung mga nasunog ang bahay nila. Merong isa ginising ng bombero kaya wala siyang nadala at nasunog pa ang bahay niya.

Ay mabuti na lang at hindi lumaki ang sunog dito sa malapit sa amin. Naawa din ang Diyos sa amin.

Salamat Vicki.

ev said...

Oh my!!!that's hilarious!you take care Mari!!!


huggsss to u and ur family...

kneeko said...

thank God ok naman kayo.. sana nga ok na talaga ang fire na yan...

vk said...

the other day nakita ko sa tv news,ang apoy ang lakas, dami pang mga bahay nasunog, tapos ang ibang tao nandoon na sa street....

kagabi, sabi ok na daw, ang apoy daw slowly na....

pero ang daming nawalan ng bahay at properties ano?


nakatakot pag mag-start ng maliit na apoy, lumaki kaagad....

sigi,.........happy saturday dyan.....

hope everything ok na dyan...tahan-tahan ka lang dyan sa mga gawain or arranged again your things, matapos din yan....

bye

Pepe said...

Hey Mari, i didn't realised that you were really there talaga.... I thought that you'are a bit further down the coast.... I have four cousins living in california too, three females and one male.... My father was trying to trace them up but we don't know where they are at the moment.... I don't exactly know where they are there but somewhere in seattle.... One of them just made a txt message to us saying that they are fine so thanks god for that.... And thanks god that you've survived it too Mari.... Ingatz....!

Pepe said...

I'm back Mari.... I was looking at the map a while ago and seattle is farther down the coast pala so i hope that my cousins are really alright.... I've never been to california but i've seen it a lot on tv specially the hollywood areas....

ann said...

Malapit pala kayo sa sunog. Tumawag nga rin kami sa tita ni kd (Shula Vista) buti ok naman daw sila although kita rin nila yung fire.

Ingat.

Mari said...

ev,
Thanks.

Take care.

kneeko,
Muntik-muntikan na lang. Salamat at na-agapan ng mga bombero.

Salamat.

Mari said...

vk,
Oo nga malakas at maraming nasunog na bahay. Nakakatakot. Salamat at naawa ang Diyos sa amin, at walang nasunog dito sa may amin...diyan sa baba meron.

Salamat uli, vicki.

Mari said...

pepe,
If your cousins are in Seattle they are very far from danger. Baka na-confuse ka. Ang Seattle ay nasa state of Washington, sa north malapit na sa Canada.

Kukunti ang nasunugan dito sa amin, ang pinakamarami ay sa San Diego, south pa namin yun...malapit na yun sa Mexico.

Maraming salamat sa iyong pag-alaala, masuwerte nga kami dito naligtas kami.

ann,
Ang Chula Vista ay south pa ng San Diego at malayo pa sa kanila. Ang maraming nasunugan ay north San Diego...maraming malalaking bahay diyan. Buti rin at na-contact ninyo sila.

Salamat, Ann.

razzy said...

i was just looking at your post w/o really reading it...katakot... ang hinanap ko lang na part ay sa mga comments, kung ok kayo... i'm glad ok naman kayo...

babasahin ko ulit later...para mas detailed... hehhehe...

Mari said...

razzy,
Yeah, we are safe thank God.

Thanks for your visit and comment.

Pepe said...

Yeah i know what you mean Mari.... You've been through these not so long ago when the california bush fire broke-out didn't you....? It was a close call but maybe because of your prayers that time you and few others have been spared from a raging menace.... I'm glad that you've made it Mari....! He is really looking after us all the time....! =D

About seattle, na-confused nga siguro ako Mari ha-ha....! I've never been to the US so i don't really know how that big thing look like ha-ha....! That's why my cousin came back to us with a txt message saying, " we're fine, it's just 3 o' clock in the morning here.... Ang aga nyo namang mangumusta dyan....!" =D

ghee said...

Oh my!!I`m glad you and your husband are safe,Mari!was it a fire storm?

gee,I can imagine how you and everyone in your neighborhood got frightened..i experienced the same and the house across the road(a narrow road) exploded that caused a big fire,i thought it would be our house next but it never happen and it was a relief!!

Mari,you looked like a pro reporter here,with your shots and the way you expressed your emotion..good post as usual :)

i hope you feel better now,Mari :)
God bless

my halloween post:
CLICK HERE!!
Happy Halloween!!

ghee

Mari said...

pepe,
Oh, yes. You know? Into each life some rain must fall...

We all get confused at times...di ba? Natuwa naman ako't nag-alaala ka.

Salamat sa dalaw mo.

Mari said...

ghee,
Yes, it was a firestorm...and frightening.

My god, it happened to you, too. That must've scared the heck out of you. Thank god you were spared...that was a relief.

Thanks for the nice comment.

Happy Halloween to you too.

JMom said...

Mari, I had forgotten you were in So.CA. I'm glad to hear you fared through the ordeal. It's so sad to hear about all those people who lost their homes.

Mari said...

jmom,
Yes, we were spared and I'm glad it's all over. We are back to normal, just sad to think of those who lost their homes and are trying to cope with their situation now.

Thank you for your visit.