I was visiting my daughter Stephanie and grandkids last week in Carlsbad - North San Diego County. I am happy to report that, although we were evacuated, everyone is fine, the house is still standing, I have returned to Lewiston and Steph's family will be returning home Sunday. Not exactly the visit I expected!
We received the Reverse 911 call to expect evacuation Monday morning at 6AM. (Reverse 911 is an amazing system and I would strongly support its use in all communities.) We traveled later that morning to the San Francisco Bay area to stay with friends of the family -- also with three kids the same ages so it was a pretty interesting stay, but great for the kids as they were just told we were having a "vacation".
In addition the Reverse 911 system I also want to particularly mention the fire fighters. As we made the eight hour trip North up Interstate 5, we were passed by hundreds and hundreds of fire vehicles headed South to the fires. It will remain one of the lasting memories I carry from this week and once again reminds me of how selfless these public employees are in the face of great need.
The two pictures are Monday morning as the fire, only two ridges away at this point, was visible from the house early Monday morning. While they come nowhere near the drama you are seeing on the TV, seeing the rising smoke so near as you get the morning paper is breathtaking. Or maybe, more accurately, heart stopping. Obviously, past this point we were busy packing for three kids and getting out so all my other pictures are mental images.
And while the impact on those who were displaced and lost homes is obvious, unlike many more compartmentalized cities, San Diego County tends to function as one large community with connections criss-crossing through all the smaller communities - the family we stayed with in the Bay area had just moved from Rancho Bernardo six months ago. Thus, nearly everyone living in the area feels the impact strongly. Not to mention the cost to public enterprise in general. Think of them as the fires fade from the news and public eye.