There are no words adequately thankful to express my gratitude to the firefighters in California and I’m sure I’m not alone in my appreciation of their remarkable service, having found more than a few articles after writing this but link now included here as to one.
To anyone reading this who is not in the Southern Calfornia region and may think that the CA-Fires-2007 are or have been routine or similar to anything in the past, you’re wrong. The Fires here since Monday past have been beyond the scope of anyone’s imagining in intensity, pervasiveness, widespread occurence and life and acreage affected. I’ve witnessed several wildfire seasons in Southern California over the many decades but these Fires-2007 are far in excess as to anything I’ve ever experienced before.
And the fires continue tonight, not all of them under control and one of the worst only a few miles from my home at only a third controlled; the ash and terrible air from that one fire alone has made outofdoor activities here quite limited, if possible at all, with another one in the other direction to the other side of where I live, not yet contained, either (not for lack of resources and effort, I am quite sure).
I’m lucky, though, and not had to evacuate. Blessed, I should say, as in, thankful to God that I am safe and sound at home, hardly inconvenienced compared to what so many in California have experienced, and continue to.
But, thank God that today we have reduction in the Santa Ana winds and now-cooler temperatures. What’s also needed now is rain and cold weather and “on-shore flow” (or, winds onto the land from the ocean, versus the Santa Ana’s, which are hot, dry winds that blow West from the desert onto the Coast and out to sea with rapid, cruel intensity that blows trees over, roofs off houses, trucks over on highways, and far worse, sparks into raging acres covering many miles, dusting hot sparks from one point to another in domino fashion, spreading the fires).
My favorites today are these two images:
October 24, 2007: ANN and JEFF OWENS eat a piece of cake to celebrate Jeff’s 66th birthday in front of their burned down home on Horizon Court in Poway. – Photograph by K.C. ALFRED / Union-Tribune
October 24, 2007: CDC firefighters from Cuesta camp in San Luis Obispo like JOHN THOMPSON watched a backfire grow on the southeast side of Palomar Mountain. — Photograph by JOHN GASTALDO / Union-Tribune
In closing tonight, I add this: the people of Southern California have met this disaster with great character and it has been a remarkable thing to behold, the common sense, swift action and empathy for others that has been and is pervasive throughout the stricken areas and beyond. Truly an impressive statement from an area that is customarily denigrated and for good reason — and here it is, put to the test, the ordinary people, doing goodness amidst the terrible.