Tuesday, October 23, 2007
More to Come...
Last night the power went out once again just after 10 PM, just after I posted the update about the fire below. At 4 AM I woke to hear the TV blaring from downstairs and as I went down to turn it off, I found myself mesmerized. Mount Miguel in Spring Valley was burning -- and the NBC affiliate's view cam on top of the mountain filmed the fire coming right up the side of the mountain, then exploded as the fire consumed the camera.
We're now getting crosswinds -- in the eastern part of the county (where we live) the winds are still gusting up to 50 mph, but along the coast, the winds are beginning to change and turn onshore, which if the winds DO change that direction, we could eventually be in trouble as that's what happened during the Cedar Fire in 2003.
Currently there are more people displaced by these fires than were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the thousands who stayed overnight at Qualcomm stadium were peaceful, even in a good mood. I'm sure that the National Guard troops staying there helped, as did the thousands of volunteers. Governor Arnold has been here since yesterday afternoon; he visited the evacuees at Qualcomm and also the ones at the Del Mar fairgrounds where he managed to get the elderly at the fairgrounds into Balboa Hospital (the local Navy hospital). Unlike the last devatstating fires in 2003, the county, city, state, and federal governments are all working together beautifully. I guess we learned our lesson in 2003, and everything has gone very smoothly.
It's just so strange that the fires are heading all the way to the Pacific. I'm listening to additional mandatory evacuations for Del Mar and Solana Beach as I type. The media has been so helpful in getting information out. Interstate 15 is open this morning, but Interstate 5 may close down as the fire approaches the beach cities. The Cedar Fire of 2003 jumped I-15 but didn't get close to I-5; these fires are quite different.
I received an e-mail from Father Acker of Alpine Anglican last night and another this morning. After packing up their things just in case (Alpine got burned TWICE in the 2003 fires), Father went out to the Campo Community Center, the furthest eastward evacuation point, where he was able to comfort the neighbors of the man who died in the fire near Tecate. Father has been trained as a Sheriff's chaplain, and he's out there on the front lines of evacuation, volunteering and helping those who can't go home and those who have lost their homes.
Right now Spring Valley is being evacuated, and several people from church live there and are probably being evacuated last night and this morning. The voluntary evacuations for Crest, Harbison Canyon, and west Alpine are now mandatory -- if that part of the fire turns eastward, we could be in danger. But right now we're safe, and the fire in Descanso nearest us is fully contained.
The winds are still howling around the house and probably will do so for most of the day, and the power will probably still go of and on throughout the day and night. The humidity in downtown San Diego is 9%, and up here it's about 4%. It's so dry and will be even hotter today, even though the winds are letting up slightly. Please keep on praying for our firefighters, police officers, media, and volunteers in your prayers. It's still a very volatile situation for all of San Diego County.