The evacuation line is now about two blocks away from our street, but fortunately the fire is much farther. However the Santa Ana that pushed the fire west will give way this evening to the more usual ocean breezes that flow east and that could bring the fire to us. Here is a picture from shortly after the fire started this morning. All the area in the picture has been evacuated. The chaparral in the foreground makes good fuel once it catches.

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Fires have directly affected me four times.

The first fire was the big one in 1987 (I think) that destroyed a huge chunk of the Sierra Nevadas. I had just left for college and things got so smoky my mother had to go stay with her mother for awhile. Before that, my father (who was a firefighter) had his little group camp out in my mother's driveway when they were resting. Our house was safer than other nearby houses, even though the fire did come within two miles. It never jumped the road, so the house was fine. (I just Googled and I think it was the Stanislaus Complex Fire.)

The second fire came close to my home (at the time) in Tuolumne. When the cops came and said we would almost certainly have to evacuate, I loaded all of my important belongings into my car and my brother's truck. But in the end, we stayed put and everything was fine.

The third fire started in the apartment that shared a wall with mine. That was the scariest. A policeman came and knocked on my door, telling me to "Get out now!" I grabbed my Amazon parrot and boogied. My apartment didn't burn, but it was filled with soot. I needed a lot of help to get it cleaned up.

The last fire, The Rim Fire, was last year. My mother was in the "recommended evacuation zone". Luckily, the fire didn't come all that close to either my mother's place or mine, but like the huge 1987 fire, it destroyed vast swaths of forest, often burning the very same terrain taken by the 1987 fire. I know it destroyed the area around Cherry Lake and much of Hetch Hetchy. I want to go and look, but I'm afraid it would be depressing. I think I'll stick to areas that are still beautiful.

Please, no more fires. They've already started with a vengeance in SoCal, as you can see. :(  As much as I have difficulties with the mindset of my small town, I really love the natural beauty and it really hurts to see it destroyed. California is an awesome state. I hate to see it burn.



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