I spent a good deal of my day answering the phone (calls from Cheryl in South Dakota, Vera from New York, Pastor Bob and administrative assistant Veneta from Lake Murray, Mindy from Class Day, plus answering all kinds of e-mails from others wanting to know how we are. We're doing just fine -- no flames in sight yet. We're much more concerned for our friends who have lost their homes, don't know yet if they've lost their homes, or are still evacuated. Our power here at home has stayed on for well over 36 hours straight, so we're quite pleased about that change after losing power eight or nine times since Sunday.
The Santa Ana winds have diminished today -- they're not gone yet, but the winds have decreased and humidity has increased which is very good news for the firefighters. Very few fires burned new area today, and most are now 10-15% contained, with full containment expected by October 31-November 4. New evacuation warnings (not orders, just warnings to get ready in case) have been given out for Lake Morena and Campo which are to the south and east of us. Right now the Harris Fire is moving in our direction, about six miles to the east of us, although I don't know how far south. It's moving in a slow northeasterly direction. I saw on the news tonight that one resident of our town called in and said that he could see flames just south of Interstate 8, (out town is half a mile north of the freeway) so the fire is definitely getting closer. It would have to jump Interstate 8 to get to us, which would be difficult unless the southwest winds really pick up, which they may do over the next few days.
I still don't know the fate of Carmen and Jeff's home in Escondido just north of Via Rancho Parkway, or the fate of the homes of two church families in Jamul where the fires have been at their worst today, burning exactly in their area. Kevin, Renee, Dad, and the cousins are all fine, and their homes in Rancho Barona, just south of the San Diego Country Estates in Ramona are safe, but Ramona is still under mandatory evacuation and also has no clean tap water; all water needs to be boiled before consumption. Julian is still in great danger with no power, no phones, and the fire closing in on two sides of the historic mining town. I stopped by my PV friend Judith's place today, and they got most of their felled cottonwoods cleaned up and are grateful to only have slight damage to their garage after the 100 mph winds that blew through here on Sunday and Monday.
150,000 people have been allowed home, but there are still at least 400,000 people still evacuated. Everything is going fine at Qualcomm and other evacuation sites with tons of food, volunteers, bands coming by to play music and entertain the crowds, and dignitaries all over the place. Governor Arnold was back in Jamul tonight, and President Bush is to tour the area tomorrow.
For the first time this afternoon, we could see a bit of smoke from our front porch -- just the very top of a huge smoke cloud as we look west. That's how the Cedar Fire started getting dangerous for us four years ago, but the danger is still quite distant for us, unless big changes happen. If (and that's a huge IF) we have to evacuate, we should get plenty of notice.
So we're still fine, but as the winds make a big change over the next few days as a cold front comes in, we could end up in a bit of a pinch. Will keep you posted....