Monday, August 31, 2009

California's Burning Down

I'm currently carrying around Highland Rebel by Judith James and wouldn't you know it? Southern California is on fire. Some of you may recall that last November, I had just checked out a library copy of Broken Wing when My Man and I were hustled out of the Bat Cave under mandatory evacuation because of the Freeway/Triangle Complex Fire. I left all my books to burn (which thankfully, they didn't) but did rescue Broken Wing and a cozy mystery I had snagged from work. I know. I'm such a good little worker bee.

In fire news, I'm currently safely out of harm's way. In fact, you wouldn't even know parts of the area are in the process of burning down if you were just looking at my neighborhood. The only visual evidence I've had is spying a giant white mushroom cloud off to the west as I went to pick up a pizza for dinner on Saturday evening. So yeah, except for the ungodly hot weather we're having, the Bat Cave is fine.

I did send out an e-mail to the other So. Cal. Bloggers this weekend, and everyone is fine. Nikki, Rowena, Lori, Tracy and Renee are probably getting the worst of it because the smoke is so hellish and the air quality is shit. But everybody is currently safe, although worried about friends and family that are in the path of the fire. My Lil' Sis (along with Kassia Krozser of Booksquare and Quartet Press fame) live in the Pasadena area, but neither are in harm's way - just suffering because of the piss poor air quality.

This is honestly the only time of year I hate living in southern California. It's insanely hot (at one point it was 109 at the Bat Cave last week!) and some part of the area is always trying to burn down. Luckily the winds haven't been bad, but with the heat, terrain, and the never-ending drought, our firefighters have been working their asses off. Then of course you end up reading about some dumb ass idiots who ignore the mandatory evacuation orders and try to protect their homes with a garden hose.

Yeah. Seriously people. Use your brains. If you're there, you are hindering the firefighters from doing their jobs. Like your garden hose is going to beat back a raging wild fire? Why not spit in the ocean while you're at it? Geez. Besides, no amount of "stuff" is worth your life. When I evac'ed last year, yes I was worried. I'd left behind so much (including a quilt my grandmother made me - d'oh!) - but you know what? It's just stuff. We can always get more stuff. Our health, well-being, our very lives? Yeah. Not as easy to replace. Just sayin'.

Be safe everybody. Feel free to use the comments section here to check in and give updates.


azteclady said...

Thank you, Wendy.

HelenKay Dimon said...

So true. Everyone be smart and stay safe.

Buriedbybooks said...

Excellent post.

After surviving last year's fire extravaganza here in N.Cal, I had a method for dealing with this stuff.

#1 Gather your important papers/photos etc BEFORE your home is threatened. Place them in a box that is easy to grab if the sheriff's dept. issues an evacuation order at 2 am.

#2. Pack a suitcase with clothes for everyone so that you can grab it, too, on short notice.

#3. Have any pet carriers, pet food etc ALSO ready to go. If you have large animals, find out whether there is an evacuation center for them--many areas use fairgrounds areas.

#4 Find out BEFORE your home is threatened where the evacuation centers are located. Print out a map if needed before you lose power. Power lines are often shut down as fire nears to prevent arcing.

#5. Keep your cell phones charged and your vehicle full of gas. You don't want to evac and then notice your car's on E.

#6. Get the heck out when you're told to. Do not put firefighters at risk by delaying.

Phyl said...

If the bat cave ever burns, I'll make you a new quilt :-)

Kristie (J) said...

I hadn't heard that they were having fires in California again.
Here's hoping that you and everyone else makes it through fine and the fires go away!!
And it's not as if it weren't hot enough already your way without adding to the heat with fire!!

Alie said...

Glad to hear you're safe, Wendy!

sybil said...

WOW it is krisie's fault? Maybe you should take the book back and the fires would go away?

Marg said...

I was hearing the news and wondering whether all of my blogging friends were safe. Thanks for the update!

Wendy said...

BuriedByBooks: The first thing we did after the fire last year was up our renter's insurance. We had insurance, but "not enough." I also went around and took pictures of all of our "stuff" for insurance purposes and I keep a CD of those "off site."

We got out with our personal papers, some clothes and our computer. The only thing I regret not "saving" is my grandmother's quilt.

Phyl: For future reference, my grandmother's quilt is a double wedding ring design in blue, pink and light green :)

Sybil: I know! It actually probably has more to do with the fact that James' two books have come out around September, which is our fire season - but I like the idea of blaming Kristie :)

Thanks for all the well-wishes everybody. Last I heard, everyone was still fine. Talked to my sister just a few minutes ago and she said the air up in Pasadena was a little better today. At least she thought so.....

Liza said...

Thanks for the update Wendy. Keeping all those in the area in my prayers. Hope they get the fires under control soon. I've had a house fire before(nothing like the wild fires in CA) and the stuff can be replaced, people can't.

Rosie said...

You know what I don't get? Is I'm further in distance but the smoke and the ash up here is hellacious...a-gain! How can we be so far away and have such poor air.

Although I will take distance from the fires and evacuation and poor air over the alternative.

If you a second, say a prayer, light a candle or send good thoughts to our firefighters. We have 10 guys out from our department now. I understand the working conditions are horrendous. The fires are no where near being contained either.

I think it's going to be a long grueling fire season.

ReneeW said...

I'm so glad you posted cuz I was thinking about all you Calif bloggers and wondering and worrying how you're doing. The whole west coast has been an oven all summer. We had temps around 105 - 110 around here for a week in July, just unbelievable. It sounds like you have a good plan. Stay safe and keep up posted.

nath said...

Glad to hear that everyone is okay!!

I really don't know what we should do with our books to protect them from such danger!!

PK the Bookeemonster said...

(knock wood) So far this summer Montana hasn't had it too bad (oh yes, I think our second nick name after The Big Sky state is the Fire state). Thanks for the update.

Renee said...

Thanks for thinking of us, Wendy! Yeah, air quality is terrible, and it's sort of crazy when I can't tell if it's grey outside because of smoke or typical so cal morning haze.

Like Liza, I've been through a house fire before (though not brushfire related) and everything is replaceable. Can't say enough about having good renter's/homeowners insurance!

Hang in there everyone!

JamiSings said...

I'm so glad you're safe, Wendy. And the others too.

I know what you mean - the wildfires out here SUCK! When she was alive, my best friend Erin always had to be in the hospital until the wildfires were over and the ash was out of the air. (Erin had cystic fibrosis. So wildfires triply not good for her.)

What gets me is a lot of them could be prevented if people would not be so uptight about clearing out dead brush and trees. Environmentalism good and all, but geez, you have to use some logic with it too. Clearing out dead, flammable things is not bad for the environment!

Oh, on another note Lyndee posted a slew more covers to snark on, some you'll have to click "Older Posts" to see. Last time you were there the newest was Little Girl Lost. There's 9 more new ones plus a funny video a friend of her's made called "Mail Order Boyfriend" in which she dates a cardboard cutout of one of those Jonas kids. Seeing how there's major suck with the wildfires, you probably need a good laugh.

sula said...

glad to hear that you are safe. hang in there!

Wendy said...

Rosie: I suspect it's because you're almost directly east. The smoke is moving in that direction and settling right over the valley. I think we've managed to dodge the smoke because we're more SOUTHeast. That's my theory anyway.

Jami: I added Lyndee to my Google Reader! I've just been lazy and haven't been commenting. Because I suck like that. Heh.

I feel so sorry for people with respiratory issues during this time of year. I'm a normal, healthy adult, but last year was hell even on my lungs.

Rosie Again: Hope your guys are all OK. I can only imagine how terrible the conditions are up there. But at least they got a little humidity today. That'll help a bit!

Tara Marie said...

The news from CA has been down right frightening. Thoughts and prayers are with all in the fires' paths.

Holly said...

I can't believe how stupid some people can be about their houses. It would be devastating to lose all your possessions, but they're just that, possessions. Life is much more valuable.

After your email the wind shifted and flooded our valley with smoke and ash. The air quality has been absolute crap ever since. I can't even leave the house b/c it makes my morning sickness that much worse.

Despite that, I don't have much to complain about because as of right now we aren't threatened at all. I'd rather deal with bad air quality than flames.

Glad to know the rest of you are ok.

Arani said...

Stay safe Wendy.
Hope the fires go out soon.