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23/10-07 14.00 : JAM
California Wildfires

Well, if any of you have watched the news in the last few days, you'll know that there are twelve different wildfires burning across Southern California right now.  This is the typical "wildfire" season.  Well, this is a picture from our front porch this afternoon.  It's been a long time since we have had measurable rain in Southern California, and right now we have Santa Ana winds, which make conditions worse.  (Santa Ana winds happen when the air flow reverses.  Usually, the wind comes from the west, in off the ocean as cool ocean breezes, but currently the winds are coming from the east, directly from the desert.  The winds are hot and they are strong.)  The last few nights we've both been awakened as the strong winds blow our house.  We can hear the windows rattling and the wind blowing through the attic, making its whistling noises as it does so.  It's amazing how strong winds can be.  In some places, they were hurricane-grade winds, just dry and hot.

The fire nearest to us is called the "Santiago Fire".  It was started in three separate places in Irvine, about 20 minutes from us, and is assumed to be arson at this point.  The three "hot spots" have converged and now it is one big fire.  It's burned from Tustin to Foothill Ranch.  A friend of mine emailed this morning and asked if the wildfires are near us.  I've lived in Southern California for almost ten years, and every other time that question has been asked, I've answered "no."  Well, today the answer is "yes." 

I have a good friend who lives in Irvine.  The fires were within 1/2 mile of her house two days ago, so she has evacuated to her parents' house.  Yesterday, the fires were in Foothill Ranch (where Rorik's company, MCS Golf, has their office, about 15 minutes from our home).  The fires burned right up to the homes yesterday.  My friend, Samantha, who lives in Foothill Ranch voluntarily evacuated yesterday afternoon.  I was over at her house today, and there are ashes everywhere in the air.  The fire has now moved closer to our home.  As I drove to Samantha's today, I passed two different very distinct plumes of smoke, which is how you can see where the hottest spots are.  It's only a 15 minute drive, and the fires were definitely in between our houses.  Another friend lives in between us, and she was under mandatory evacuation; she said the flames were burning 100 yards from her back porch, but so far, they had been kept at bay.

The winds are supposed to die down soon, and the firefighters have done their best.  We were watching the news last night, and they were reporting from the backyard of a house which overlooked a canyon.  The backyard had lightposts (with the globe lights) in it; they shot a clip of the lights, which had been melted.  That's how close the fire got to the house, but the firefighters stopped it from encroaching the house.  As I drove home today, I passed 4 or 5 firetrucks, each from a different town from around Southern California.  It's amazing how many people mobilize to help fight these fires.

So please all pray for the best.  We are hoping that the winds die down and that the fires are able to be controlled soon.  There are tons of people who have evactuated from their homes, and many who have lost homes.  We feel blessed that even though the air quality is horrible, that our house is safe (so far) and that our parents homes are too.  We just hope that the firefighters are able to contain the fires soon, so that everyone will be safe and will be able to return to their homes!

 

 

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26/10-07 14.58 : Kathy Boiarski
Julie & fam,

I've been thinking about you guys and hoping for the best. I hope that everything is still alright (it's Friday night as I write this). Keep safe!! You are in my thoughts and prayers!
25/10-07 09.20 : Nadine
It is good and bad that we have so many trees: good since we can see so little of what is going on around us and bad because we can see so little of what is going on around us. These torches that surround our home do isolate us and then make us so vulnerable. Praying for the fires to stop!
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