Saturday, November 15, 2008

Smokey Day

This morning when I woke up, I was physically feeling good. It was early, too early for me to get up, so I went back to bed for a few more winks. When I got back up I could barely move my neck or right arm. Of course, this is a Saturday so I have to wait until Monday to go to the chiropractor. I am not one to run to the doctor but this pain is more than I can take.

I did some stretching and settled down with a cup of coffee and my computer but distraction came in the form of the strong smell of smoke. We have been having Santa Ana winds nearly 70 mph. I grabbed my camera and went outside to see what the sky looked like. I knew the fire would be miles away up in the canyons.

This is about 10:30 am.

I took some ibuprofen, grabbed a few icepacks and headed back to bed. I could not lie down. I could not push through the pain. Eventually, I figured out a way to crawl into my bed and have the icepacks situated so that they were hitting all the hot spots of pain.

The phone rang just as I was beginning to drift off and I could hear a very panicky Natalie wanting to know if I knew where Ace (youngest son) was. Her family home was in the path of the fire and she wanted him to drive his truck to help with the evacuation. She was at work and heading towards her home. I had not talked to Ace but I told her I would track him down. I got up and walked around the corner to see if his truck was there. I knocked loudly on his back door, waking him up and I told him what was going on with the crazy out of control fire.

Ace is studying to be a firefighter. He moved with lightening speed, phone, TV, clothes all simultaneously attending to each. Once he saw the hellish flames on TV, he was out the door and on his way to help his fiancées family. I felt scared when he left and thought about all those families that send their children off to war. That has to be one of the most difficult feelings one can go through. Within minutes, Ace called me and told me it there was smoke and he could see flames in the direction he was heading. I told him to focus on his driving because there would be people driving crazy to get to their homes. He assured me he would keep me in the loop.

I watched TV, Googled maps of the area and I could see that the fire was getting closer to Natalie’s home. I called Ace because I figured they would not be sitting around watching TV. He did not answer but called me right back. He told me that area he was in had not been ordered to evacuate yet.

I went back outside to take a few more pictures and wait.

I went back to watching the live reports on TV. I heard the evacuation zone’s boundaries and my heart sank. I called Ace again and he told me they were loading up the cars and getting out of there. I went outside and inspected the falling ashes.

After Ace got down the hill he called me and gave me a little more of a blow by blow description of what it was like at Natalie’s home. He said conditions changed quickly and when they left her home, the fire was only about a block away. Ace told me that he heard explosion after explosion as he drove away from the area.
It will be interesting to find out his thoughts being a firefighter after seeing first had how fickle fires are, and that they take whatever they want along their destructive path.

Here is the sun at about 2pm. No more blue skies.

The news reports there is no water pressure up there. System design failure. That is a very difficult concept to understand. The winds are not dying down and the region is dry. People are in a panic, overcome with smoke, abandoning their cars on the freeways.

Ace is safe. I don’t know if Natalie’s family home made it unscathed or not. I will have to report on that later as I need to lie down now.


Donna said...

One year we vacationed in Colorado when it was burning like that. The air smelled like smoke, miles away from where the actual fire was.

Margo Moon said...

I can't stop worrying about the pets, too.