Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Fire Has Burned Past Us

The fire is still burning, but the imminent danger to my home has burned past and we are back at home. The evacuation warning is lifted and there is a solid fire line between us and the fire. I really didn’t think would survive. Thanks to the firemen and special thanks to the calm winds. See that little finger on the left (west side) .... that was heading to my house. The photo is taken from Farren Road. Farren Road runs along the top of ridge opposite to the side of Tecolote Canyon where I live. It really does exist, even if it is not on Google Maps!

The thick smoke carbon coats the power lines and thus the power what going off and on. For some reason, the door bell rings when the power goes off or on. This incites the dogs to back as if a guest were at the front door. It is kind of funny now.

While it is not over yet (55% contained and the wind could still change things) we are much calmer. They are no longer handing out NIOSH N95 masks. And we are tired, the tension taking it toll. Check out a really great web posting of the Gap Fire from a nearby resident: Avoiding the Gap Fire ( I think he captures the ups and downs (morning calm, afternoon warning and all hell breaking loose at night) for the West Goleta residents very well.

Some of the lessons to share from our real drill:
1. Planning really pays off. Having a list will help you think in the excitement of an evacuation too. Know your neighbors and know who might need help.
2. Take a video or photos before you leave.
3. Have an old style phone that does not require a powered base so you can get a reverse 911 call.
4. The head lamp works really well when you are packing when the power is out.
5. Leave a list at home so if you kids have to evacuate while you are out of town, they will know what to take.
6. It really sucks when you have packed your car and are ready to get out of dodge and then you can’t remember where you put your car keys. Keep your keys on you so I won’t misplace them in the excitement of the moment. Lots of ladies were wearing their nice jewelry too. Pearls and my grandmother’s diamonds are not my typical everyday wear.
7. When the power goes out in the whole town, the gas stations cannot pump gas, so keep gas in your tank.
8. Keep enough batteries for flashlights and radios. There was a run on size D batteries and local sources were quickly hard to find.
9. The radio had news, but it was painful to wait for the news reports. The very best news was on the internet and the fastest news was reported by your average citizen neighbor. These reports were more accurate than the network news and were faster by leaps and bounds.
10. Say thank you to the firemen, they really do appreciate it!

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