Natural disasters: the short list in which I’ve participated throughout my life. I slept through a category one hurricane when I was 10. I went four days without electricity from a blizzard during my last year of college. I’ve lived through several heat waves where temperatures reached up from 110 to 115 degrees for consecutive days. My car flooded because of a tropical storm during summer vacation. I live(d) through two areas which suffered minor droughts. My car was pounded by a tornadic force hailstorm during my drive home from college. I felt small jolts of a 4.3 earthquake earlier this year. Now, I’m literally surrounded by 15 wildfires throughout the Southern California region which has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

My life was never threatened from any of these disasters nor is it today. I have known people who suffered near tragedy from some of these events, including the wildfires which currently strike near home. Two days ago, unaware of the imminent Santa Ana winds this weekend, I had no idea something of this magnitude would strike and so quickly.

I remember the wildfires which struck here in 2003. I was living in Houston months before I decided to get the heck out of dodge. Reading and hearing about these fires was not much of a big deal to me since I had no personal connection to this region. My, how things have changed!