Don’t yell it in a theater
Wednesday July 23rd 2008, 10:46 pm
Filed under: Life

smoke from the fire

“I smell fire.”

“I do too.”

Yes, there’s been this generalized omnipresent smoke all over California for a month now, but this was a far different intensity, and it hadn’t been there at all a few hours earlier when I’d been outside. I got up and investigated. Not in this room so much, strong in that, strong in that…I opened the back door and sniffed. Fire! I shut it quick. I opened the front door: fire! But I wanted to know how close. I stepped to the sidewalk and looked around: the strongest browns in the air seemed definitely to be towards the east, and they were not a sunset. Between us and the Bay, most likely, probably not way across the Bay, it was just too intense for that. But wow, look at that stream of smoke. It was comforting, at the same time; it wasn’t the neighbors’ houses or anything immediately discernible. It was hard to breathe, though, and I hurried back inside, wondering what on earth we would grab and go should it come to that, even if I didn’t think it would, and how on earth the holdouts around Carmel and Big Sur had done it, had hung in there with theirs so close by for so long.

Twice, we heard helicopters overhead. I googled. Must not have used quite the right search terms. Nada.

Our city, about ten years ago, set up a reverse-911 call system to notify all residents in the event of an emergency; it’s slower than I’d like, but it gets there. The hubby, being on both the Red Cross and the city’s emergency communications volunteer teams with his ham radio license, got called well before the household phone did. But the recorded calls did come.

It’s between us and the Bay (called that one right!) although, to the north by a few miles and across a major freeway, a natural firebreak. It’s the city’s mega-compost pile, with no structures threatened except the ones in our lungs.

I’ve been sitting here the last two hours thinking that sometimes life hands you, if you’re one of the lucky ones, just a taste of what others have to go through so you’ll have some idea of what it’s like when they need you to listen, some day in the future.

12 Comments so far
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I am very glad to know you are not in any immediate danger.
You have given me some food for thought today.

Comment by Sonya 07.24.08 @ 1:40 am

Glad you are safe. The threat of fire is always so frightening. Be careful!

Comment by Joansie 07.24.08 @ 5:16 am

I’ve thought about evacuation plans (even in central Louisiana) and what to take. It’s part of my “I can’t fall asleep” thought chain. As I started to make a list here, it was quickly becoming a blog post on its own! VBG!

You’ve set me thinking; I’ll post on it soon.

Comment by Barbara-Kay 07.24.08 @ 5:22 am

“When they need you to listen”
Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 07.24.08 @ 5:25 am

I’m relieved to know you and Richard as well as your local friends are safe. Thanks for the reminder about when others need you to listen.

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 07.24.08 @ 5:59 am

First thing first, wrap all the important documents in cashmere yarn for safe keeping.

I’m glad you are away from the fire and my hope is you stay that way.

Comment by Michelle 07.24.08 @ 8:29 am

Stay safe, and inside as much as possible!

Comment by Channon 07.24.08 @ 11:19 am

I’m with Michelle!

Should disaster strike, I would DEFINITELY need knitting.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.24.08 @ 11:40 am

Yes, it’s scarey. I remember the fires in 2003. We were in no danger (except for our lungs, as you point out) as the fires were 30 miles away. But what I remember most was the strange orange cast of the air and the drifts of ashes. Driving at night, the ashes looked like snow falling in the headlights of my car.

Comment by Linda 07.24.08 @ 1:48 pm

Whew, glad to hear you are safe and sound. That does make me think.

Comment by Alicia 07.24.08 @ 1:57 pm

I wish I could send you our rain. My pool is overflowing. We’ve had at least one gullywashing rainstorm a day for a week.

Comment by RobinH 07.24.08 @ 6:00 pm

I know how you feel. Two summers ago I sat out on the picnic table with a hose until the wind changed at 2:00 in the morning and watched the hillside above me go up in flames. Darn scary.

Stay safe and don’t breath any more smoke than you have to.

Comment by Wunx~ 07.24.08 @ 9:34 pm

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