Sunday, May 15, 2005 | By: Dusty Taylor

I am Out of town..an old post revisited..

OK...I am out of town till Wed so in case some folks just dont have a friggin thing to read..here is something I wrote roughly a year and a half ago while the big fires were burning in San Diego(which is where I am now :)

They say there are fires in San Diego RIGHT NOW. That’s not THE PROPER PERSPECTIVE….SAN DIEGO IS ON FIRE…THAT’S WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.
SO I SIT, FOUR HOURS AWAY, THREE IF YOU DRIVE LIKE ME, AND I LISTEN AND WATCH UPDATES ON THE INTERNET. ALWAYS REFRESHING PAGES FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION. IT SUCKS TO BE SO FAR AWAY WHEN EVERYTHING YOU GREW UP WITH IS IN FLAMES..OR ABOUT TO BE IT SEEMS. ALL THE AREAS I KNOW SO WELL, THAT I CAN SEE IN MY MINDS EYE ARE BURNING RIGHT NOW..
I HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN EITHER THE CANYONS AND MESA’S OF SAND DIEGO, OR THE COAST..I HATE THE FLAT LANDS..REMINDS ME OF THE MIDWEST (NOTHING DEROGATORY BOUT THE MID WEST, I JUST DON’T FIT IN THERE). THE FIRESTORM THAT IS OVERTAKING PEOPLES HOMES HAS AFFECTED PEOPLE I KNOW AND LOVE.
My sister and her family of 4 are now housing life long friends a family of 5 plus critters numbering 3. various hampsters,cats,dogs big and small. They ALL might be relocating again because my sister’s house is now in the firestorm path. I of course, cannot get information quick enough. The TV channels broadcasting live are not accessible in bakersfrigginfield. The internet is only as good as the people that update it..no live feeds of a city in flames. So, I have to keep refreshing and making myself NOT call my sister every 10 minutes to see if she has packed up her life and put it in their truck and car. There is only one way out for her now, and she’s still not taking it. She tells me Steve’s house is gone, and Kelly and Shawn’s is next, and she thinks surely john hine’s house is gone because they are reporting that neighborhood has totally vanished from the face of the earth. The house that Rick and Jean were building is prolly gone, and now their current house is being evacuated. They are taking what they can do his business office, and keeping their animals there also. But she has to go, and I understand. She has to keep thinking about what it is that can go with them in the confined spaces of a truck and a car. She promises to call me every couple hours, and the last thing she says is…I LOVE YOU……and that scares the shit out of me since MY sister never says I LOVE YOU. I am always the one to say I LOVE YOU first.
So I call my youngest sister, Laurie whose son spent the nite with Kassey, the sister in the firestorms path. Laurie is unable to get to her son and she is frantic since Kassey will not leave yet. I tell her not to stress, Kassey will know when its time to leave, she isn’t stupid. Kassey might be a pain in the ass but she isn’t stupid. I wouldn’t know what to take or when to leave either I tell Laurie, you son will be fine; he just won’t be home tonite..You see, all the freeways and roads running thru the middle of the city are closed..The fire is burning its way to the ocean and its seeking the path of least resistance, the canyons and mesa’s I know so well. Three major freeways most of which are six laned, are engulfed in flames..hip hopping over the lanes like they are nothing more than a country dirt road. Laurie keeps giving me updates from the local TV stations that are showing streets exploding one at a time, as she repeats the names of the streets. I hate that I recognize the names and I can visualize the buildings exteriors perfectly in my mind while she is calling them off. She was at a religious retreat for the weekend..High up in the mountains east of San Diego. She had no TV or radio, and when she rounded the last curve coming down the mountain, she said the shock will never leave her of what she saw…. SAN DIEGO IS ON FIRE. She turned on her radio to confirm what she was seeing. Her description of the carnage was sickening and sad. She was filled with pain and sorrow watching houses pop and burn like matchbooks on the hillsides surrounding her drive home. The speed is what she remembers most..how fast the flames raced from house to house, tornados of flames eating houses, like a NASCAR race to the finish. The flames can be seen for miles and miles and Laurie remembers they looked like they were five stories high with ash bellowing and swirling around everything. You can’t go outside she says, the smoke is as thick as fog and the ash keeps falling like rain drops.
So I look at a clock for the hundredth time, wanting to call Kassey to see if she’s left yet. It’s only been 45 minutes since I talked to her last, but it feels like hours. I tell Laurie to call me later with updates since I can no longer sit and listen to her relive her drive home. I tell her again, Kassey will not jeopardize all the kids and people now under her roof and they will leave when they are told to go. But Laurie isn’t buying this, she says the people on TV say not to wait, there aren’t enough emergency services workers to drive all the hundreds of streets in danger right now. All the neighborhoods like Serra mesa, mira mesa, Claremont, Poway, Scripps ranch, romona..the list is endless. I call it “The Great Conflagration”. The name that was given to the great Chicago fire. Sadly it fits Laurie says, because San Diego is on fire and they haven’t even begun to put it out.

My sisters house was spared but alot of our friends weren't so lucky. Most are rebuilt or in the final stages of rebuilding..I still get goosebumps when i drive thru the neighborhoods because you can still tell what happened and you remember what horrific toll it took.



5 people gave us their .02 cents:

FantasticAlice said...

I myself was living in St. Louis at the times of the 93 great floods. I watched home being carried down the Mississippi river from a sudden insurgence of water. I helped sandbag at the arch and elsewhere. The only relief that I can ever assure anyone of, is that when a major catastophe like that happens, that is when Mankind is at its best.

So when did these fires happen? Where they last year?

dusty said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dusty said...

They were two years ago this summer. There were over 20 people killed and millions of acres burned. There was a area the size of Rhode Island on fire in San Diego county alone Alice..its a nitemare that many people are still living since normal insurance does not cover such catastophies. There were whole neighborhoods burned out, sometimes one house would be spared..i wrote another story about the after effects of survivors guilt for those people..nothing like a saturday morning after the fires and your whole block is gone...the quiet was deafening as they say...the fire was started by a fatass that was lost whilst hunting..amazing eh? he shot off a flare knowing full well it was not allowed during fire season..the guy didnt feel like walking out so he shot off the flare hoping someone would find him..

FantasticAlice said...

It only takes one asshole to ruin it for everyone.

As for insurance, people I knew were hit with the flood and lived over 15 miles from the river... believe me they never thought they needed flood insurance.

It is such a shame when mother nature kicks our ass, but when a human helps out... boy, that just raises my hackles.

Rat In A Cage said...

Where were you? You smlokers like to start forest fires.