mardi, octobre 23, 2007

fire update- 10:45 p.m. tuesday

It's amazing that more than 500,000 people have evacuated in the past 36 hours, and done so in a reasonably quick manner. (You'd think that getting out of harm's way is a no-brainer, but many folks died in 2003 because they didn't get out in time - some wanted to save one more thing or just didn't know what was coming their way until it was too late to outrun the flames.) To be fair, the 2003 Cedar Fire taught all San Diegans that fire is unforgiving and completely unpredictable. That time, the wind died down and fire companies were able to beat back the inferno.

This time, several improvements have emerged, namely:
  1. A reverse 911 system that warns folks with landlines to prepare to evacuate. (Those of us with cell phones are still on our own.)
  2. A much better response time for those in affected areas.
Meanwhile, we're all glued to our television sets, computer monitors, and radios. We're doing our best to help each other out, filling our couches and spare rooms with the many folks who've been evacuated. Ahnold, the President, and others are reassuring us that we'll get everything we need to put an end to this, but true to form, the politicians are promising more than they can deliver. (What we really need is lots and lots of rain, no wind, and a dramatic drop in temperatures. Failing that, we'll take engine companies from other states, on-site insurance adjusters to get the re-building process started, and shelter for those displaced by the fires.)

It's devastating to learn that thousands of acres have been burned, that fires are still "0% contained," and that hundreds of homes have burned. And it's a horrible thing to see a friend drive up to your house with a car full of what matters most to her (a dog, a cockatiel, some clothes, and important papers). But it's also a wonderful thing to know that she's out of harm's way for the time being and (36 hours later) to learn that her home is still there, in spite of the devastation all around her neighborhood.

For more details on what our fire crews are up against, visit:

KPBS fire map (Leo and I live near the "o" in San Diego for the out-of-towners.)

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