For the second night in a row I stare at the television news, watching in horror at the footage of homes being consumed by flame. We doze and watch, waiting for the word to leave. Many friends and some relatives are already evacuated, some multiple times as the first "safe" area becomes dangerous and they must evacuate to a second. It seems a little surreal.
We have our doors and windows closed against the choking smoke that is everywhere. Just to the east of us, evacuation is mandatory. Our van is packed with the fire safe, photos, a few special quilts, my best sewing machine and a few fabrics and thread. We have clothes, drinking water, and a place for the dogs to lie down in back. Dog food, leashes, medication. Cell phones and digital camera. My son has already been all around the house taking picture after picture, a detailed inventory we hope we don't need.
Earlier in the day the fierce Santa Ana Winds ripped and hurled palm fronds everywhere. There is an amazing amount of debris and ash in the driveway and front yard. No flames are visible from our house, but the television news is telling me that they aren't far away. After the huge Cedar fire in 2003, the city and county of San Diego installed a "reverse 911" to automatically notify people during emergencies such as this. We will leave when we get the call or see the flames, whichever comes first.
God willing, neither.
Everything in the county is burning. 300,000 evacuated so far.
My heart goes out to the people who have already lost their homes.
I know its only "stuff", but I can't help hoping we don't join them.
I am grateful that my family is here at home with me and we can all leave together when that becomes necessary.