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Author Micah Cambre

the wildfire madness

This was the view from our roof.
This was the view from our roof. This photos links to a set of photos from the fire.

The difference between a normal night out and a night of anxiety watching a wildfire just within a couple of miles by my house is less than 60 minutes

It was Friday night. I was debating whether or not to go out and be social since I knew of a big party where I could potentially meet many people. That was my first mistake.

Within an hour of arriving to the bar in Chinatown, I received a picturemail with what looked like distant flames and then a phone call telling me that there’s a huge fire in my front yard. I made no hestitation about leaving, saying goodbye to the host, and I was on my way to spend the rest of my night worrying.

Traveling up the freeway, the closer I got to my neighborhood, the brighter the sky around it became. Once I passed over a slight hill that was blocking my view, I saw flames literally engulf the side of a mountain just to the northwest of my house. Not that I knew where I was looking, as I got closer I knew these flames were literally within walking biking/driving distance of my house.

The remainder of the night was spent without electricity, the occasional visit to online news sites from my phone, taking photographs of what I saw, and wondering if/when we were going to be evacuated. Because of the intense Santa Ana winds, evacuation was mandatory for all neighborhoods to our west. We, however, were lucky enough to escape this fire narrowly. We knew by 3am that this probably wouldn’t hit us.

As restless as I was, I spent the remainder of my three hours awake going online, reading, watching, and trying to get a connection from my phone to my laptop. It was frustrating, I was jittery, and I was ready to go to sleep even though my mind would not let me.

By the time I woke up on Saturday morning, only getting around 4 hours of sleep, I decided that without electricity I would be useless at my house. So I decided to spend the day at work to ease my mind and watch the news. Knowing that the house electricity had not been restored that day, I also spent most of the evening out before deciding to try the house and see if power was back. Victory!

24 hours of wildfire madness was enough for me. I’m thankful to still have a standing home and a place to sleep. I think this was the last thread of wildfires I will see in this area for a long time. Two in one year is more than enough.

wildfire round 2

once again, theres a wildfire within a mile of our house. its 2am, we have no power so im writing this from my phone. its now just a waiting game.

update 3:30am – looks like its gonna stay in the hills above the town. its crazy how raging it was just hours ago. im pretty exhausted now so im hopefully gonna get a good nite’s rest.

update 5:30am – i can’t sleep so i’m looking around online to see what i can see before my battery dies and i have no power whatsoever. it’s amazing how fast this map developed and it seems to be very accurate.

wildfire – before and after

This is the morning that it hit my neighborhood:

My neighborhood evacuating
My neighborhood evacuating
After the Wildfire
After the Wildfire

i’m not homeless

Firefighter bravely fighting the Marek wildfire
Firefighter bravely fighting the Marek wildfire

Since talking to my roommate on Monday afternoon, he assured me I would receive a call if anything bad had happened to the house. I have yet to hear from him. At times like this, when we’re all busy living our lives, no news is good news.

After seeing that only 40 structures were burnt, and knowing a large majority of them were mobile homes, I am pretty assured that my house is safe and unharmed.

For a great map to see the impact of the two major fires near my house, go check it out here.

When I return to LA on Sunday and get back to my neighborhood, I’ll be sure to try and take and post photos. It’s gonna be pretty interesting to see what it all looks like. Until then, if you wanna see some of the fires, Flickr is a great source.

Marek Wildland Fire

Wow.
I’m kinda anxious right now.

This might be my neighborhood!
This is my neighborhood!! My roommates drove away from this scene early this morning.

I just got a call from my roommate who was awaken by the firefighters telling my roommates to evacuate the house. The Marek Wildland Fire started yesterday morning at 2am and has only been 20% contained as of yesterday. There are Santa Ana winds which are driving the wildfire all over and sadly there’s little control.

I had to quickly, in 5 minutes, tell my roommate to grab my computer, monitor, digital camera, passport and bag of a lot of receipts. The firefighters are telling everyone to evacuate really quickly because the fire is not under control.

I might be losing a LOT of clothing, a digital piano, some furniture, books, and a few other miscellaneous items including personal photos. They just couldn’t grab everything sadly.

Update:I found a nice blog that seems to have good updated information. http://calfire.blogspot.com/ Obviously, I’m also watching all the Los Angeles news stations as well.

I found an active forum with lots of good links and updates to the wildfire: http://www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?p=31315. There’s also a cool little map to see who’s been evacuated: http://lafd.blogspot.com/2008/10/city-of-los-angeles-evacuation-map-for.html

california’s on fire!

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!

i hate fire season

Fire season doesn’t typically start here in California until mid-summer because temperatures are a lot hotter and conditions are much drier. But, within the last few weeks, there have been numerous fires all over the place here. As I currently type, there’s a small fire just 5 miles from my house. It smells horrible here, like there’s a fire just outside my window. If this is what my summer is going to be like while I’m here, I’m gonna try to take a lot of trips to get away. This is gross.