Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crying for My Mountains

The Station Fire in Southern California is burning in the mountains behind my house. The picture above was taken from my street. These are the mountains I hike in. The ones that have been facing me my whole life—the view from my parents' kitchen; the view from my driveway. The mountains that provide a sense of comfort and security.

That's a tanker plane doing a drop. The fire has been burning since Wednesday, but it thrashed down my side of the mountain like a wild man today. We have friends who have been evacuated. My brother, a firefighter, and dad, a wannabe firefighter, are way up the hill with a dear family friend, standing watch on his house. They cannot get down the hill, but they have a plan in place in case they become surrounded. They want to save the gorgeous million-dollar home—the home to 5 daughters and many memories.

That's the view from my street earlier today. It's not as close as it looks. My apartment is not in danger. But other homes in the area are for sure. I cannot imagine packing my things to evacuate. I cannot imagine making the decision what to take and what to leave. Photo albums. Computers. Souvenirs from traveling. Maybe some books. I cannot imagine locking the door behind me not knowing if I'd be able to return.

As I was driving home from Pasadena today, and I saw the clouds and flame from a distance I burst into tears. It looked like a warzone to me. This dark cloud pitted against bright blue summer sky. I started to think about everything getting scorched. The wildlife being destroyed. It breaks my heart. My mom told me a coyote wandered into the front yard this afternoon and I almost lost it.

I've heard rumors that they suspect this to be arson. Arsonists should be tried in court as terrorists as far as I'm concerned. This is striking terror in an entire community. I hope to God they get a handle on it soon.


laura said...

Thinking about you guys....hang in there! XOXOXO

justrun said...

Oh my goodness, that is scary. I can't imagine even trying to sleep through the night. I have friends in La Canada (I think that's a different fire) who've been evacuated. I cannot imagine.
I'm thinking of all of you. And praying for those firefighters.

Hannah said...

I know it so awful! My mom called me to tell me that everybody we know is on alert to evacuate or has already. Its so so so sad.
I am so worried for the wildlife and all the people.

I can't even bring myself to think it is an arsonist fire. It's just too much. Lots of tears.

Anonymous said...

Last night I went out walking and could see the orange flames from where I live. I've never seen a fire quite like this one. With no winds, it's simply spreading in all directions, and it's just about impossible to outflank it because there's no way to build a line all the way around.

To think it might be arson, though, makes me rather sick.

For what it's worth, you don't have to worry too much about the wildlife. In the massive Yellowstone blazes in '88, they expected to find mass deaths. Instead, they only found two moose that had gotten caught, and a few small animals. Most everything survived, because after thousands of years, animals know how to get out of the way.

Hope that little bit of info helps.

brookem said...

oh wow.... that's really scary. im sorry this is happening so close to home for you.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

When we were in Montana, they said the imperfect days (i.e., the haze) was due to the California fires. It's not just the immediate beauty that is affected by these flames. Shame on those who played a role in starting it. Maybe the fire be put to rest soon.

Mel Heth said...

Laura - Thanks. I think Denice is going to go on a bender after all this...

JustRun - La Canada is this fire, yes. It's been awhile since these mountains have was definitely freaky to watch the flames from my apartment and my parents' house. Hopefully they'll get it under control soon.

Hannah - Yeah apparently they went up and down some streets with bull horns and sirens last night - but it was a semi-false alarm. It's been a pretty unbelievable few days.

Geekhiker - That actually does make me feel a lot better. I wanted to think that the bunnies and the deer and even the cougars could get away... I'm also mourning the trees and brush though. Hiking up the crest won't quite be the same after this.

Brookem - Thanks, lady. Hopefully they'll get it under control soon. It's been surreal to watch.

Nilsa - That's crazy the smoke would travel that far. I know fire can be a sort of good cleansing event for the forests, but fun when it's happening.

Alysha said...

So sad, I love hiking there and was excited about an upcoming backpacking trip for a quick weekend. It's all part of life's circle, but feels so painful. Glad you are safe!

Lara Watkins said...

Well said. I feel the same way. Those are MY mountains. I'd know them anywhere. They were the background of my childhood. On top of that, the thought of my wonderful little hidden gem of a neighborhood being destroyed makes me sick in so many ways. Thanks for keeping me updated and thank you to your brother and dad for their support.

Sizzle said...

Fire is so scary! I get why people hesitate in evacuating, not wanting to leave their things but then when they get stuck there it's even worse. I hope people get out safely and the fire is put out soon. If it was arson, I agree with you about trying them.

Mermanda said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I'll send some good vibes to your mountains.