As some of you may know, I spent the last three or four days rather caught up in the fires that have been raging all over San Diego.
My wife Cat and I are totally fine. Our car’s been sitting in the garage for three days, all packed up and ready to go. We live in a complex of two-and-three story townhouse condos. Our whole neighborhood was told to evacuate three days ago, but Cat and I could see that wasn’t necessary, so we (along with I’d guess twenty percent of our neighbors) decided to stay.
I’m a rebel, man. A rebel who’s not afraid to catch fire and die for the cause of being too lazy and stupid to follow orders. That’s how I roll, man. On the ground. Covered with a blanket. Because I’m an idiot.
No, but because of where we’re located within our complex we were able to see, from the third floor of our place (our bedroom) the ridge of the hill over which, if the winds changed, the fire would come toward us. So for three days we spent considerable time at the windows in our bedroom watching that ridge, and the huge clouds of smoke rising over it, sometimes black, sometimes white, usually some degree of both. Our view from up there was pretty much exactly this:
Cat and I don’t have regular cable TV (for entertainment we watch Neflix or Apple TV/movies—TMI, I know, but there it is), so for news we relied on the Internet and radio, which was more than adequate.
Mostly here at our house it was just mad hot. It was 100 degrees for those three or four days, which was just a tad brutal–especially on Thursday, when, for about eight hours during the day, we lost all power.
But we have no complaints. It was hot; the air smelled like an ashtray for two or three days and ash snowed everywhere–but two days ago the wind started pushing all that bad air (along with the terrible fire causing it) east and south of us, which was good news for us, but of course dreadful news for others.
Today where we live the air is clean, the skies are blue, the expected high is 80ish, the evacuation has been lifted, and our neighborhood Albertson’s is open again. All is well where we are.
One thing I liked about this experience was that I finally had a reason to meet some our neighbors. You know how stuff like that is: suddenly everyone’s outside walking around, concerned, wanting to talk and share news, updates, etc. So that part was great. (Plus, it’s always so amazing what people know. We had our ears glued to the radio, were reading and streaming everything online we could find, were getting every update from all the local and county emergency service agencies–and we never knew half as much as we learned just walking around talking to other people in our neighborhood who, like us, had stayed after the evacuation. This lady had talked to a cop. That guy has spoken with a fireman. This couple have friends on the other side of the fire who had just seen a giant airbus flying so low over their they thought it was crashing–but instead it was helping save the day. All that sort of thing. It was awesome.)
The really scary thing overall is that fire season here in southern California–or at least here in San Diego, which I guess is the only place I feel all experty about–hasn’t even started yet. It’s not supposed to have, anyway. Right now in San Diego we’re supposed to be experiencing what we San Dieganoites (har! Anchorman joke!) call “May gray”–followed by the usual “June gloom.” May and June in San Diego are always overcast and cool.
They’re supposed to, anyway. That’s the weather rule. But clearly all the Weather Rules are now being rewritten. (Tell us about your weather here.)
As you may know, California is in the midst of a severe drought, of which there’s no end in sight. Add to that the crazy Santa Ana winds, which used to blow every so often in the fall but now seem to blow all year round, plus a summer which now apparently starts in the spring, and you have yourself a problematic environment.
If I am correctly interpreting all the latest climate reports and scientific studies on the matter, by approximately fall 2016 San Diego is going to look like this:
But … scientists. Pffft. Like you can trust those exaggerators.