Monday, October 22, 2007

Wildfires in Southern California

[I know this post doesn't really have anything to do with running, besides the fact that the wilderness where trails exist is burning, but I needed a place to put down what I knew, and this is as good a place as any]

A resident of Irvine looking at the Santiago Canyon fire from atop the Quail Hill community.

Talking to my mom last week, she mentioned with slight bemusement the prediction of a heat wave to hit southern california over the weekend, predicted to reach 100 degrees by monday. That prediction of heat and high, hot, santa ana winds held true, but with tragic consequences. As I'm sure many are aware, it seems as though all of Southern California is ablaze right now, with fires spreading from LA to Orange to San Diego. Countless homes have already been burned down, with thousands forced to evacuate as the fires continue to rage. As of this morning, I was only aware of the fires in Malibu from a newspaper I glanced at at a coffee shop. I heard people talk about the San Diego fires as well. When I arrived at class this evening, my classmates from SoCal were talking about how close some of the fires were to their own homes and mentioned that in addition to the LA fires, there are also ones in the other counties as well, including my home county. I assumed that my parents would call if it was a threat, so I wasn't too concerned about their safety, but still a bit worried.

Map of the fires going on in Southern California right now

I've now found out more about the OC fire, which is still a decent distance from my home, but is close to people's homes that I know. What is particularly tragic about this fire is that it seems to have been set deliberately. It's currently a 15,000 acre fire burning near Santiago Canyon. I'm not sure whether houses have begun to catch yet, but it seems like, with all the devleopments down there, it's fairly likely. Seeing pictures of familiar places near home with thick, threatening clouds of black smoke is scary.
A view of the Santiago Fire from Alton and Portola.

Right now I'm feeling very far away from home up here in Santa Cruz. Some of my friends are talking about going down to San Diego county where they're from to be with their families. I know mine is safe and okay, but it's still a bit of a scary thing. I remember the positive associations I have always had of the warm Santa Anas, and the heat waves in late October and Early November. Suddenly these things that had seemed so routine have become extreme and, consequently, threatening.

The winds are supposed to die down soon, and with that, hopefully the fires can become contained in the next few days. There have been fires before, and Southern California has been rebuilt. Lets just hope that the containment happens soon.



All images and captions are taken from the LA Times article and pictures posted here

9 comments:

Sarah said...

That is so scary! The fires seem to come out of nowhere. I'm glad your family is safe and hope too that the fires are contained soon.

Dave said...

While we are far away over here and haven't really experienced wildfires to such populated areas, our thoughts are with our SoCal friends at all times. Hopefully, the fires can be contained quickly and damage to people's lives and properties kept to a minimum.

Catherine said...

I feel for you Addy. My family has a ranch near Santa Ysabel (San Diego County) and was forced to evacuate this morning due to the Witch fire. They got the horses, goats, dogs, and cats but the cows are left to fend for themselves. As they were leaving, flames were starting to devour the back side of the ranch property. I know you want to be with your family but keep in mind how crazy things are down there right now. I worked for CDF for a while and fought fires in So Cal in 1993. Do what you need to do.
Catherine

Phil said...

Certainly hope your family staff safe. This is a very scary situation for everyone involved. The fires move so incrediably fast that it's difficult to predict what they'll do.

rick said...

I've have a lot of family in SoCal. I hope they are ok.

Bob Gentile said...

Pretty scary stuff...!! the dang WINDS needs to die down, praying that will happen asap!!

Your father said...

Hi,

We are all safe, but as the fire increases in size more people we know are going to be affected. I saw the column of smoke from home and sitting here at work in Irinve I'm looking at Saddleback mountain hidden in smoke. Photos show the area is burning some of our favorite running spots-- Whiting Ranch, where you took me on my first trail run; Santiago Truck Trail (to the flag) is toast; Looks pretty ugly with temps in the 90's and strong winds, not going to get better anytime soon. Greg H from OCTR is evacuated, and his place in pretty much directly in the path in a canyon of hundreds of homes where there is no safe way for the firefighters to defend. The land will recover (chaparral is a fire-type ecosystem), but lots of lives are going to be hit pretty hard....

Backofpack said...

Very scary. We were in SF for the marathon and did not see or hear the news till we got home. I hope your family and friends stay safe.

Sensationally Red said...

You have our prayers from us out on the east coast. Stay safe!