Monday, August 31, 2009

California fires ...

My thoughts & prayers are with all of my family and friends in California right now. I just turned on my computer and read about the loss of two firefighters and as always, my heart sank. I dreaded reading the article in fear of them being someone I know. We have a lot of friends who are firefighters in California. Fortunately, I don't know the two that died, but my heart still goes out to their families.

Having lived in Southern California all my life, brush fires are no stranger to me. I've watched the mountains burn many times and have packed up belongings in case of evacuations. It's not fun. The combination of the chaparral, the oaks, the steep terrain, and the lack of rain always make for scary situations when it comes to brush fires. I'll never forget the great 1985 fire in Ojai that burned for weeks. The smoke and ash are a health hazard, and then there's the eerie glow, like in the picture above. That picture was taken during a Santa Barbara fire in 2006 right before we moved away.

We've been very lucky this year in Montana. Our first summer here was awful and there were fires all around us. My ILs came up to visit August 2007 and they could hardly see the mountains or valleys because there was so much smoke. It was a familiar feeling to us, though the smell was different. In Montana, it's pine trees, so it smells like a giant campfire. Brush fires are scary, but forest fires are even more scary for me. Montana doesn't have the resources California has when it comes to fighting fire. In addition, it's really hard to fight the fires when they're in the middle of the forest. This summer we've been really fortunate and haven't had any.

To my California family and friends -- you're in my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe. You know the routine. Stay inside if you can and go if they tell you to go. I hope they get some containment soon.


  1. Oh Rena how scary to be in a forest fire or a brush fire. Only time I was in a thing like that was years ago camping. We were blocked off but were supposed to be safe where we were. My husband at the time *now my ex* had an eye injury and we had to go to the ER. I had to drive the back roads to town and was not even sure it was the right way! So glad you are safe in Montana now! Prayers for your family.

  2. Ohhhh that is horrible. We get fire dangers in Eastern Oregon but I haven't heard of too many problems this year.

    Keeping my fingers X'd.

  3. For the last two evenings, the skies have been extremely dark in the East and the sunlight has been a sort of burnt sienna/orange colour. On Friday, ash & debris had travelled 70 miles from it's original location and found it's way here.

    I found out the Station Fire (originally from La Canada Flintridge) has spread all the way to Acton, which is about 25 miles away from us. It has basically shut down the 14 Fwy, so there's no way for us to get to the Valley right now. TH is home at the moment with an arm muscle injury, so as far as getting to work is concerned, that's not a problem.

    It is very sad to hear about the firefighters who have lost their lives. However, I have little sympathy for those three people who thought they could ride out the on-coming fire in their freaking hot tub. Really? They were told to evac, yet made the retarded decision to stay and are now paying the price for their stupidity. People can be so dang infuriating.


  4. I'm always a little on edge when it gets this hot and dry here.

  5. The fires in California are always so big and horrible. My prayers are also with everyone there. Gale, I couldn't agree more with everything you said. You stay safe too.


  6. So scary. One of the old 'WMB' is in that area and I have been in touch each day. She is fine but the fire is close. Scary - I can't even imagine.