21 October, 2007

Good and Bad


I have not announced this publicly, but I recently moved to a wonderful home with a country view. That's the Good. Very good, in fact. It's an incredible place and an unbelievable blessing.

The Bad?

In this area, country views mean you don't have a cushion of city around you to protect you from the yearly wildfires. Put two and two together with single-digit humidity and 60 mph wind gusts...

Tonight, fire is roaring down the canyons toward my city. And guess who's on the edge of that city, with country views, between the fire and the city?

No cause for alarm (the distance is still measured in miles, and wind can shift in funny directions, or hopefully die down for the night), but the pace and intensity of this fire mean it's time to plan how we will get out if we have to--we've been put on alert for a possible evacuation as of a few minutes ago.

Fortunately, most of our stuff is still in boxes, so evac should be easy. ;)

And on the good side, the warm, dry wind reminds me of Arizona, which I loved... too bad it comes with that funny smell and asthma attacks...

Update: The Santa Ana winds just started to die down for the night as I wrote this (finally!). They'll kick up tomorrow, though. But for now, a respite...

UPDATE Ia: 0200 Pacific. Mandatory evac. John knows how to reach me.

UPDATE II: 0400. The change in conditions was quite fast--we could see the flames in the distance as we left, and ash and other junk was raining down. The wind is incredible. When we evacuated, I didn't know where we would be going, which is why I mentioned John. For now, we are at my aunt's house, so I have an Internet connection. We are still relatively close to the fire--lots of smoke and fine ash--but in a direction the fire is not expected to go.

UPDATE III: 0815. We are on a local military base in Bachelors' Quarters--complete with two cats. We haven't slept. Just after I posted UPDATE II, houses began to catch fire in my aunt's area. The wind and ash were choking. By the time we got here, houses had burned one street away from my aunt's (we saw it in news video), and also reportedly in my neighborhood. We honestly don't know if either house is still standing. Amazingly, I'm perfectly calm. It's either exhaustion or numbness.

UPDATE IV: 1150. Still no sleep, but the geography of our current location makes it safe for the duration. Using the Thomas Guide, we are tracking news reports by address and comparing them to our own address. The fire is burning homes within about half a mile from ours, and the winds in that area are described as stronger than they were before. I honestly can't imagine that, as they were gusting up to 70 mph last night. The cats have had enough, and now refuse to eat, drink, or come out from under the bed. On a brighter note, my aunt's house seems to have been spared, as her answering machine still picks up when I call.

UPDATE V: 2100. I'll sleep soon, I promised Michelle I would. I was having trouble connecting to the wireless this evening, so Maggie posted in comments below.

The cats are doing better, and I am more and more grateful to be here on a base. It is safe, quiet, and has every amenity we need while lacking the strains of an evacuee center or the tangle of traffic with so many thoroughfares closed. There is still no definitive word on our house. The fire was moving from east to west, and homes both directly east and west of us have been reported burned. However, no details about our neighborhood other than "some homes burned in the [cute name] development." I still can't absorb what has happened in the last 24 hours... I'm emotionally and physically numb, and not sure I want that to change anytime soon."

I probably won't have anything more to blog on this until our situation changes or we hear something about the house.

UPDATE IV: I've started a new post.