Burn, Baby, Burn

Southern California is on fire.  No, really.  Serious fire.  So much fire that the news crews have stopped referring to the Sylmar fire, the Yorba Linda fire, the Santa Barbara fire, and have started referring to the “Southern California Firestorms.”

The Santa Ana winds have been hellacious all weekend.  They blow off the desert, the hot wind providing the perfect opportunity for fires to start.  It was 90F degrees here on Saturday. 

This post is image-heavy, so the rest is behind the cut.

The first fire started late last week, in Santa Barbara.  The Santa Ana winds kicked up, along with the usual Santa Barbara “Sundowner” winds that always blow hard in the late afternoon and early evening.  It was devastating:

santa-barbara-2

montecito-1

The second one started Friday night around 10:30, in Sylmar, about 20 minutes from my house.  The winds blew all night, never dropping below 25 miles per hour, sometimes gusting up to 80mph.  Luckily for me, the wind was blowing the fire AWAY from my house, so I was never in danger; we never had to evacuate.

The fire in Sylmar moved so fast that several people barely got out with their lives.  One guy on the news said that he waited to evacuate until he could see flames on a far ridge, figuring he’d have time to get to his car and get out.  But he didn’t account for the winds.  He saw the flames from his upstairs window on Saturday morning, went downstairs, straight to his already-packed car, got in, started the engine, and backed out of the garage.  By the time he got to the end of his driveway, the back of his house was catching fire.  He barely made it out alive, and there were several stories like that.

By Saturday morning, the freeways and roads were closing:
sylmar-freeway-4

sylmar-3

The Sylmar fire is 40% contained as I write this.  That doesn’t seem like a lot, but here in SoCal it basically means the battle has been won.  The outcome is fairly certain, barring the return of the Santa Ana winds (which died late Sunday morning). 

The whole world seemed to be on fire this weekend:

santa-clarita-1

In a different area (Orange County), another fire started on Saturday afternoon.  By Sunday, it was just as big as the Sylmar and Santa Barbara fires:

orange-cty-1

orange-cty-2

Twenty-six thousand people were evacuated from the Orange County fire.  Hundreds of homes were burned. 

If you believe in God, pray for California, for the folks who have lost their homes, for those who have evacuated and are still waiting to hear if their homes are safe.

The latest statistics for all three fires combined:
35,662 acres burned
894 homes and structures destroyed
38 firefighters and civilans injured

southern-california-fire

Burn, baby, burn.

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11 responses to “Burn, Baby, Burn

  1. Living in NM, I have become accustomed to wildfires, evacuations, and hundreds of acres buring. It is different here only in the fact that most of the state is much less populated. It is never fun, and always scary. Be safe, and god bless.

  2. the smoke is so bad even in the city. do you know where i can donate clothes for thos who lost their homes?

  3. so sad huh?

    my great aunt lives there and w hile her house has so far been spared she says it is HARD to breath with all the smoke in the air…

  4. These are some scary photos!

    Glad to hear you are safe and didn’t have to evacuate. Makes me glad that I live where I do. We may have to contend with really cold temperatures occasionally, but very few other natural disasters. That said, we have had one or two tornadoes, an earthquake that I actually felt (but didn’t know what was causing my office chair to roll across the floor – with me in it!) and there is always the threat of forest fires in the summer. But the last one to actually go through the place where we live was in 1949.
    Apparently.
    (I wasn’t here then. Honest!)

    I feel for all those people who escaped with only their lives – what a horrible experience for them!

  5. Sassy, yeah, I bet you guys see your fair share out there. It’s always a little surreal, isn’t it?

    Emily, I’ll send you an email, but if you come back here to check, the governor’s office has set up a hotline for non-cash donations: 1-800-750-2858.

    Miz, I’m glad to hear your aunt is ok. Downtown the smoke is a lot worse. Because I’m east of the fires, the wind has kept my area pretty clear. Now that the winds have died down, I imagine I’ll start seeing/smelling more smoke.

    Bag Lady, it’s crazy isn’t it? This time of year is always the time I idly contemplate moving somewhere that DOESN’T have fires and earthquakes. 😛

  6. No, wait. That fire number is the wrong one. Try this one:

    The National Council for Jewish Women
    323-655-3111

  7. go jewish women 🙂

    and the batterblaster? precisely as amazing as it sounds. the p-cakes? heinous. the blasting? funfunfun.

  8. Hey, I know a good evacuation safe house if you need it. Great chef. Dog friendly. =]

  9. Miz, I don’t think I could get past the grossness of the batterblaster, LOL.

    J! LOL, no offense intended if I hope I never have to use it! 🙂

  10. i can not believe this
    my grama lives in
    califonia

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