Friday, July 11, 2008

Southern California Fires 2007

Yesterday we should have been in Eureka for Nicolette's birthday party, but Doreen's health problems made us stay at home.
Now we take it as a blessing. While Nicolette, friends, and family had fun, we were worrying about the house and our belongings.
Sunday we watched off and on television, to check which way the fires were coming. The Santa Ana winds were very strong and it was hot.
Since the wind was coming from the desert the fire came our way.
Yesterday we were glued to the television all day, since the fire had come closer. If we would have been in Eureka, we really would have been worried.
When they announced that the fire had reached Olivenhain, we knew it was time to get the motorhome and to get our valuable belongings, and fill both cars and the motorhome with them. First I showed the neighbors across the street how to shut off their water.
Late afternoon we took off. Doreen had picked up Jean Sinclair, a friend and a neighbor. I drove the motorhome with car in tow and the two women followed me. While on the road I remembered that I did not shut off our water. That does not happen that often.
Our first stop was San Onofre State Beach. When we got to the gate the camping area was closed. So we had to turn around and get on the busy I-5 again. Many people were evacuated from their homes and headed North. Now we know what people go through in Florida, and on the Gulf Coast, when they have to leave their homes. Since I-15 was shut down in certain areas
it made it even worse.
Our next stop was San Mateo State Park. Here we got the royal treatment.
When I told them that we had two cars, they told me: "No Problem"
They signed us in, got all our cell phone numbers for reverse 911 calls and told us that there were no camping fees because of the evacuation.

The situation has not improved, at least the wind in some areas has slowed down and air tankers can assist in fighting the fires.
Doreen and Jean drove back to Carlsbad to check what is happening there.
I think we will be lucky and have no fires in Carlsbad.
Doreen called me and told me that the air in Carlsbad is really bad. Here in San Clemente we have blue skies, but we see the dark sky South of here.
A Sheriff Deputy came by and told us that there is a fire at Camp Pendelton and as soon as we see the fire on top of the hill we should leave.
We saw the smoke. Now I had to take the awning down, disconnect the water and get ready.
Doreen and Jean came back late afternoon.
At midnight I woke up and went to the camp ground restroom. Since I had the water hose removed, and the water pump makes a lot of noise, I decided to do that, and not wake up Doreen and Jean.
A woman was standing beside the building and was looking toward Camp Pendelton. The sky was orange above the hill, it was scary. I did not sleep the rest of the night.

The fire did not come over the hill, but the sky was dark and the cars and ground were covered with ash, and it was still coming down.
They announced on television that people living in Encinitas and Carlsbad can return to their homes.
Doreen and Jean were ready to take off, but had to wait until I-5 South was opened again. Because of the fire at Camp Pendelton the road was closed.
I left later and there were still fires at Camp Pendelton. At home, I did not empty the refrigerator, we are ready to leave again if required.
We are very lucky. So many people lost their homes and our area was spared.( SO Far so good)

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