We live in northern coastal San Diego, and the fires are close. The sky is a peculiar yellow, brown color. There is ash falling from the sky, just like the snow flakes we never have. My husband and son spent two hours hosing down our wood shingle roof on Sunday.
Schools are closed. Many roads are closed. There is no mail delivery. Over 300,000 acres have burned in San Diego county. Hundreds have lost their homes, a dozen their lives. We took grocery-store fried chicken down to the shelter, and I took the opportunity to rid my closet of a huge bag full of clothes for the newly homeless.
The TV has been on all day, tuned to the all-fire-all-the-time local news channel. When I took a break from the compulsive disaster watching to write a column, I noticed I felt better.
We are safe, but I have made a list of what we’d take if we needed to evacuate. I was surprised by how short the list was. We are safe, but overwhelmed by sadness for all those that are suffering. It is exhausting to be so sad.
Mary Meline says
I can’t believe you had time to post your account of the tradegy of these wildfires. We have relatives in Big Bear that had to evacuate and are still not back in their home. Our brother in law is a LA County Firefighter. He is so grateful for all of the help others have given his team fighting these fires. The Lord was gracious to us giving us the rain and diminishing winds. We hope you did not loose your home.
Mary in Huntington Beach, CA
I am thinking of you and hoping you and your family are safe. You have touched our lives with your wonderful information that has helped our classrooms, please let me know if I can help you in any way…
Heather, 4th grade teacher from NJ
I pray you are safe. Did any of the schools get destoyed? How can my students help those in need?
Barbara please don’t “make a list” of what you will take! Pack it into the car right now. When or if you get the call you will panic and forget half the stuff. I was evacuated twice this summer here in Kelowna where we had a huge wildfire this summer and I know this is what happens. The last evacuation we had I forgot my jewelry box on the floor of the Laundry room. Didn’t even know I had forgotten it until we came back! Thankfully our house did not burn – but several of my friend’s houses did burn. Our fire, huge as it was for us was not as bad as what you are going through now. But just go ahead and pack now. Don’t wait because it will be too late. Don’t forget your hard drive. Good luck.
Ros Te Maari says
Just thought I’d send a hello to you, hoping all is still well with you and your family. My thoughts are with you and and everyone else in San Diego. Being from Sydney I have felt the brunt of bush fires many times and can relate to what you are feeling at the moment. Especially when you mentioned how little you have found you would take with you. When it comes down to life over property there is no comparison.
A huge cheer also to your firefighters – we have just received the very sad news that one has lost his life in the fight. My prayers go out to his and all the others’ families.
Lee Hemingway says
I hope that this finds you still safe and sound in your home, but as I watch the news here in Vermont, I feel growing concern for you. My son lives in L.A. and we were just out visiting Southern California this past summer. I also recently read Tortilla Curtain, which contains this very sort of scenario in its story. Having survived a house fire in my youth, I can still remember the experience, the smells and sights and how very different it was for my parents than for me.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May the Spirit bring the rains to you and take the winds away. Lee
Kathy Ofsharick says
Thoughts and prayers from Pennsylvania. I can’t imagine sitting and waiting, and pray that your wait will be over soon and that you will not have to leave your home. My heart breaks for the people who must start to rebuild their lives and communities. Once again, the nation is thankful for people who are willing to take on the exhausting, dangerous task of fighting fires. God is with you all!
Pat Donovan says
My heart is saddened by these devasting fires, even though I live across the country. It helps us to realize how grateful we must be each day that our heads hit the pillow and we can sleep peacefully, with no misfortunes occuring that day. We must also always keep in mind how many material possessions we want each day, yet these are not the things that matter most in life. I am grateful more lives have not been lost. I wish you continued safety. God’s blessings. Thank you for providing me with such a great newsletter that I have used over and over again. Sorry it has taken this tragedy to get me to write.
Susan Lajoie says
Dear Barbara –
I just got your letter while a huge gust of wet rain is blowing by my classroom windown. We, in the Northeast, have had lots of rain lately. If only you could have had the rain today that we have had. We may have coastal flooding tonight; all the rivers are running very high. I pray that somehow you get a break in the weather so that the fires can be controlled. Know we pray for all of you suffering out there. Prayerfully, Sue Lajoie, Fourth Grade Teacher
It’s hard to believe the devestation that’s happening in America. We watch our TV screens here in New Zealand and are simply stunned by the magnitude of the disaster. We pray that it ends soon for you all.
Am new to this website – just discovered it. Your posting a letter in the midst of such disaster is commendable. It puts those of us who are only watching in touch with the true grief many are experiencing. Thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings. We continue to pray .
I live in Las Vegas. We can see the smoke that is from the fires, and we can smell it. It is kind of scary to think about the fires where you live. We sent out firefighters from here to help put out the fires.
Thanks for the bulletin from the front; the whole nation is praying for everyone in the area–it will get better.
Please be safe. My prayers are with all of you living with this mess. Keep us posted as you are able.
Our prayers are with you and everyone in that area. Having been through a severe house fire, I know the stress that causes. Perhaps the anticipation is almost as bad. Somehow, maintaining some sense of normalcy is helpful. We are all hoping and praying for rain and an end to this nightmare for you all.
Thank you for saying what so many of us feel. If you hear of any way we can help, please let us know. I am like you. I have cleaned out my clothes, and my kids’ clothes, and could drive them to a shelter. I live in Bakersfield so that is not far to go at all. Our prayers are with you and the many others in harms way.
I called my cousin in Oceanside to be sure she was not in the line of fire and was relieved to learn it was 25-30 miles away from her. My heart goes out to all of you down there, and to the exhausted firefighters. I pray the fires will soon be contained and put out. A good rain storm would be nice.
My thought and prayers are with you and your family. Also, with the many, many homeless and frightened people who are going through this unbelievable time.
May God Bless each and everyone.
Linda Ainsworth says
I didn’t realize you were part of the fires…
My prayers are with you and your family as they are with the others who have lost homes and loved ones.
I enjoy this newsleter so much and use the links as part of my regular classroom; thank you.
Pat Gill says
I pray that by the time this reaches you, the fire will be contained. I know it will be a long time before things are back to normal for you and your neighbors and friends. I’ll keep you in my prayers.
I found out Sunday that my brother and his family were evacuated from their home and are staying with my mother, closer inland in San Diego. Hearing his accounts of their experience was heartbreaking. I know I can’t imagine what people are going through. I am praying that the fires will be contained and out soon. God Bless you and your family.
My prayers go out to you for you and your families saftey. I can’t believe you had time to write, but as alway I am thankful to you and what you do and how unselfish you are thinking of others as you are right now. I hope things go well for you out there and for everyone else.
GOD speed to you
Janet Roberts says
I’m thinking about you from the comparative safety of Wisconsin and hoping you stay safe, or that you have a safe evacuation if the need comes. Thanks for posting your first-hand account and your feelings. Can’t believe you could get a newsletter out under the circumstances, but it’s first-class as always.