Tuesday, November 18, 2008

burning questions...



getting evacuated from your home is stressful. the freeway complex fire this past weekend came within a mile of our home. I don't know anyone whose home burned, but I do know at least 4 families who got evacuated. all the homes on one coworker's street in Yorba Linda burned except for hers. I thought of calling my boss in Diamond Bar, but I wasn't ready to hear bad news -- so I chickened out and waited till Monday morning. her house (on Running Branch) survived. cool. but just imagine having to leave wondering if your house will survive. gotta be hard. we weren't evacuated, but still, this event literally struck close to home. I can't remember another time when my neighborhood was in national news.

my kids in Telegraph Canyon, Chino Hills State Park the week before the fire:

I don't consider myself that much of a materialist -- not totally spartan, but I try to not be defined or ruled by my possessions. despite this, I have acquired much over the years, and parting with things can be difficult. so the idea of having just a few minutes, hours, day or actually any length of time to determine what to take with and what to leave behind is a difficult proposition. sure there's the box of important papers, some photo albums. actually the first priority is to get my family out safely. the pet cat is easy - I'll get her outside but then she's on her own. I'm not going to try to keep her in a car that I'm packing! let's see, my laptop should taken as well as my Palm, phone and portfolio. then what? a knapsack with basics? I keep thinking - "gotta bring deoderant". hmm, some clothes, shoes. now what? I still have ten minutes and the car is not full... what else to pack? maybe a couple books I've not yet read? some food? what else can I not sacrifice? so many objects with memories attached. it's a tough thought process, I tell you!

the other thing I was considering which also quickly turned into a disorganized morass of disorganization is this: what do you do to prevent your house from catching fire?. seems simple enough to start. but when you come down to it, nothing is going to be 100%. keep the lawn watered? cut down all plants/trees near the house? get rid of the wood pile at the side of the house? hmm, what to do with that can of gas? are all the vents screeened small enough to prevent an ember from getting blown in? do all of this and there is still fate to deal with and you'll never control all the variables. so again, I fall into the paralysis of analysis.

so it was an eventful weekend. we were out of town and in our own world celebrating my wife's birthday camping and rock climbing in Joshua Tree. awesome time learning top rope (TR) and rappelling basics from a friend who generously came out with his wife Saturday and showed us the ropes -- as well as chocks, cams, quickdraws and other interesting climbing paraphanalia. the best routes up Cap Rock, our first choice for learning, were already taken at 9:30am, so we went instead to a little used spot called "Lizards Hangout" I believe. the air was warm, the sky blue and we all had a great time.
coming back Sunday afternoon I could see that fires were still burning in the LA basin. I figured it was probably somewhere in the San Gabriels. so it was a bit of shock to hear when I turned on the radio that it was actually happening close by to our own neighborhood - Diamond Bar, Yorba Linda and Brea! we had to go home in a roundabout way because the 57 freeway was closed. I should've taken a picture of the empty freeway. yup, kinda different...



good fire pics

4 comments:

The Doozie said...

I've been in a similar situation where we had to evacuate. I remember tossing crap in laundry baskets, like pictures and stuff. We could see the flames from our place, although there was a river between us and the flames, "oh it won't jump the river"..whatever, it jumped the river. But no one in our development lost their house, that was good.

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