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Monday, October 22, 2007

FIRE! Keep us in your prayers

There are currently 7 counties in California in a state of emergency due to fires fueled by Santa Ana winds. The fires started Sunday and there are 7 major fires in San Diego County alone, thousands have been under mandatory evacuation yesterday and early this morning new fires have kicked up and there are thousands of acres burning. At mass yesterday, we could smell the fires from miles away. And it's very acrid now.

As I write this at 4:30, in some areas there are wind gusts up to 45 mph. Generally if there is a Santa Ana, at night the winds die down, but this is not the case. Breaking fire updates for San Diego County here. Please pray for the safety of those having to evacuate and the firefighters.

Update: At almost 1PM today, roughly 100,000 acres are in the fire area, and approximately 250,000 (yes that's right 1/4 million) people in the county were advised to evacuate to other areas - the winds were I am in town aren't much but it there are gusts up to 60MPH - Click here to see a rough map of the area. I've highlighted in red SOME of the areas where the fires are hopscotching though. Solana Beach has just gotten voluntary advisory notices to evacuate. We are supposed to have Santa Ana winds at least until Wednesday. There are more fires south of San Diego - just at the bottom edge of the map you can see UCSD in the lower left, and Miramar Airstation towards the bottom center. Some of these areas are very heavily populated. One hospital in the North County has been evacuated, the staff there on top of things and started evacuating patients early this morning to other hospitals. There were at least 7 firefighters critically injured so far, by early this morning.. A few minutes ago we have had the good news that the Navy can now safely go in to use some of their choppers on the large fires in the southern part of the county. [Off this map[ Where fires have been also burning since yesterday - closer to the border - but at least 20,000 acres down there by Dulzura and Potrero There are also some fire areas north of this map.

20 comments:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Will certainly pray...can't imagine what it must be like...

swissmiss said...

Keeping everyone in my prayers. I have lots of cousins out that way (San Bernardino primarily) and an aunt and uncle in Rancho Mirage. It seems nearly every year my cousin in Crestline (up in the mountains) are affected by fires and have to either evacuate or deal with huge traffic detours (several hours worth) down the other side of the mountain just to get to work. Hope you are away from the danger.

gemoftheocean said...

Well, I just heard a nasty report that "they" are predicting it will be as bad as the Cedar fire, which was horrendous. That was just about 4 years ago to the day. There are a lot of school closures and they've just opened up the San Diego football stadium as a staging area for people to evacuate from the north county. Last night they evacuated virtually the entire city of Ramona, and people with livestock were told they could take them to the Del Mar racetrack and to literally PAINT their name on the animal(s) in question when they drop them off! [Large animals[ 4 am wondering if I will have off today or not, I know "the bosses" live north of the area of the freeway that is at present closed to traffic, because they fire may be jumping parts of the I-15 - which is a major freeway. The exclusive Rancho Bernardo area, is threatened. The visibility is a bitch up there, and it's not so hot here. I did wake up a friend of mine in Escondido a while back, as I know he is safe for now, (and should be) but given how nasty it was last time around I figured I better "say something." A lot of high schools are being used for evac. centers, so a lot of kids in county areas are off school. there is ZERO containment.

Mac McLernon said...

Prayers will be offered. Hope especially that you and yours are all safe!

gemoftheocean said...

Aw, geez, Swissmiss, that area always gets it really bad too. My prayers for them too. Believe me, NO ONE who has lived in San Diego county for any length of time is afraid of earthquakes, but we are deathly afraid of fire. Right at the moment there is ZERO containment in a lot of areas.

Philip said...

That's so awful. Of course I shall. God bless!

Aimee said...

Praying for you all - stay safe!

Esther said...

I'm praying too! Stay safe Karen.

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks all. Pray especially for the firefigthers and those who were injured. 4 years ago in the big fire there were about 17 people killed, mostly because they had gotten such short notice to evacuate, and they were caught on country roads with only one way out -- and the carburators clogged due to how heavy the smoke was (something I would NOT have thought about!) A lot of people are home today, self included. The coordination in communications is much better this time - and this time we also don't have a governor with his head up his *$$ - [Grey out-Davis's name isn't worth spit around here - he withheld help for what we think was purely political incompetance. Our fires are the worst, so we are getting priority - supposedly we have about 1000 engines coming from this state and neighboring states. It does take a while to get here - BUT the water tankers finally got up -- it was very windy early in the day. There was a little bit of good news in that there was a report that one of the fires around Cal State San Marcos is 100% contained. [For NOW, anyway.]

Stephen said...

I just saw the report on the BBC news. It looks a mess down there. Stay safe.

Philip said...

The media seem more interested in celeb homes going up. I hope that you and yours are still okay!
Px

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Karen
Prayers headed -and the kids will pray too.
Take care.

God bless you and keep you.

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks guys, I'm more than likely to be fine (the resort I work for, however, as a precautionary measure - I don't work on site, but in San Diego) - It's very eerie IN town. It's sky blue above my head, you can smell the smoke all over - but from a map that was just posted on it looks like at least one of my good friends lives in a mandatory evacuation area. The burn area hasn't reached his area yet, still off a few miles. His daughter and son-in-law and kids were under mandatory evac.

At least there are now choppers and tankers on it, and crews from outside the county + other resources and Nation Guard troops are available to assist and patrol areas that were evaced. They do have to evac a wider area than the fire is in so that they can drop retardant and water on affected areas - there is just so damn MUCH fire - this thing may burn through area to the coast, all the way from Ramona..and that's just ONE of the fires. The winds aren't as strong today, and at least today, some of the wind is coming in from offshore, which is helping to slow the spread of the fire.

swissmiss said...

Thanks for the update. Seems like things are getting better out there. My aunt called and wanted to call my aunt in CA because she heard there were fires in San Bernardino. I had to tell her they were in Rancho Bernardo, which is a ways away. She only hears the Bernardo part and assumes its in San Bernardino :) Glad you are (seemingly) not going to be too affected. Those fires are awful. My cousins in Crestline are always telling me how bad it is since they get evacuated about every other year. You wouldn't think there was anything left to burn up there!

Hang in there! Folks are praying!

Kaila said...

Be assured of my prayers.

gemoftheocean said...

Dear All -- thanks for all the prayers coming our way.

Swiss: know what it's like regards the relatives. :-D For a long time, anytime ANY earthquake was ANYWHERE in Cal. The rels. used to call us up:
"are you guys okay?" :-D And I'm talking about earthquakes 500 miles away. I don't think they realize how big the state is. I would, personally, MUCH rather go through earth quakes than this stuff. Unless you are right near the epicenter, chances are stuff will shake a hell of a lot but your STUFF is all basically there. [Okay, anything above a 6 is really hairy.] Fires can just be so quick and winds so unpredictable. That's the frightening part of it.

swissmiss said...

Funny about folks calling when they hear things on the news. My MIL is a worrier by nature. Working in aerospace/defense was always VERY cyclic, as I'm SURE you know. Every time Boeing announced a layoff, my MIL would completely freak out. She assumed it would affect us every time and would call totally in a panic. It was rare for an engineer to get laid off unless they were at the very bottom of their totem. When I finally left the company I was technically laid off, but that was because I volunteered for a lay off (we were moving back to MN) and had to kind of do some arm twisting to have them go ahead with it.

Glad you did another post with an update. I keep seeing it on the news and think about you and my cousins. Now I see it's around Lake Arrowhead, which is near where my cousins live. Bet they are being detoured, but hope that's all that they encounter!

Adele said...

Hi Karen,

It's very tragic that so many will be homeless. It makes the rest of us think about the fickleness of all the stuff we amass. We are praying. Those pictures on TV sure were reminiscent of paintings of Hell. God bless you.

swissmiss said...

Just got word that two of my cousins have been evacuated. One was allowed to return home, but my cousins in Crestline are still evacuated.

My aunt called my other aunt (her sister) in Rancho Mirage, but got no answer all last night. Turns out my uncle had a stroke. This is just a month or so after my aunt, his wife, had a stroke, which was just months after she had colon cancer surgery. They are certainly having a rough time of it. They have eight adult kids that live mostly in the San Bernardino area, which I see on the news is getting hit too, although the worst of it is in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead and my cousins. I hope they are OK. I was so worried about my uncle that I didn't ask where my cousins were staying. When it rains, it pours (sorry, bad analogy!)

gemoftheocean said...

Hang in there. It may give you some comfort to know that lack of phone signal in that area may be due to the phone service in that area being disrupted, not that your cousin's houses have burned. [It could be that, but not a given at all.] AFAIK re: the areas you are talking about, it's a good bet that because the winds are SO tricky now, and the roads up there often don't give a lot of choices for a way out of the area, they may well have been told to evac out of precaution, along the "better safe than sorry." To give you an idea: An area in town that was DEVASTED had little notice to evacuate, early on in this crisis. On of the fires had been up in the San Pasqual Area, not far from the Wild Animal park. At 4:14 the fire was a good 7-8 miles away from Rancho Bernardo. a mere FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER the fire had raced through the San Pasqual river bed, with all its dry few and wind gusts and had covered that 7-8 miles and was right in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood. One of the stations today showed arial photos from their news chopper today. It was like a MOONSCAPE. The fire missing one or two houses and totally devasting others within stone's throws of them. It was truly a MIRACLE, that as far as they knew people were able to flee as fast as they did. As far as they can tell no one died in that evacuation.
Dozens of Sheriff's cars raced to the Rancho B. area and got on their loudspeakers to rouse them, the reverse 911 calls hardly had time to hit.

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