Friday, October 26, 2007

Firestorm 2007

As you know, since Sunday night (10/21/07), San Diego has been burning, in fact much of Southern California has been burning in the worst Firestorms California has ever seen. It's also the worst wildfire Nick has seen or fought in his 30 year career with the fire service. The first two photos are in Del Dios, part of Nick's district.

The Witch Fire named after the starting point of the fire, Witch Creek, between Julian and Ramona, burned its way southwest due to the fierce Santa Ana winds and low, almost non-existent, humidity.
It has burned more than 198,000 acres, and it, along with 9 other fires in San Diego county, caused the evacuation of almost 500,000 people. It burned heavily in Nick's district of Rancho Santa Fe, burning 6 homes in their 4S Ranch area of Rancho Bernardo,(this photos is of 4S Ranch) around Lake Hodges, and the area of Del Dios, where they lost 23 homes. Fortunately, the Santa Ana winds died down and switched to westerly winds, so the fire didn't destroy any more property in Rancho Santa Fe.

While the fire no longer burns in the RSF area, there is still the possibility of hot spots flaring up which firefighters have to attend to> RSF firefighters continue to assist fighting the fires in other nearby areas.

Amazingly, amidst this immense tragedy, while many San Diegans have rallied together volunteering their time, making donations of necessities, taking in their neighbors, to help the evacuees, there has still been some controversy. Rather than supporting the tireless, selfless efforts of the thousands of firefighters and law enforcement personnel, some evacuated residents of Ramona were screaming mad wanting to get back into their community before officials had thought it safe. Officials have a lot of criteria that is considered before repopulation of an evacuated area is done. It is astonishing to read some of their selfish, irate comments on a San Diego news blog page, many of which are ignorant at best.

Some of those same angry residents were screaming they would never evacuate again. Evacuation has more to do with the safety and well being of everyone, residents AND firefighters who are putting their lives on the line to save the lives and property of those in a fire affected area!! The firefighters have a most difficult job to do; they never give a single thought to the danger they might be in as they fight fire. People asked to evacuate need to cooperate and allow them to do their job. They also need to let the officials who know all the facts to make the educated decision as to whether it is safe for anyone to return to their community safely. There is a system in place for the safety of the all. Too often well-meaning residents often get in the way of the firefighters doing their job!!

Firefighters dedicate their lives to serving the greater good of mankind and they fought this fire from the beginning with little rest for days. They don't do it for political gain, or personal glory. They do it to help others! They have to make quick decisions in the worst of circumstances. Often their hands are tied if a fire is moving too fast, particularly when driven by fierce Santa Ana winds of sometimes 50-100 mph, or if it is too late to save a structure. They then must decide what to try to save.

All family members of every firefighter know all to well about the dedication and sacrifices each and every firefighter makes every day of a career in the fire service. While it can't compare to the mental and physical exhaustion of a firefighter, those of us at home experience a mental anguish and exhaustion of our own. Reports of controversy in the middle of a tragedy such as this are both maddening and frustrating for all connected to the fire family. The fire service and law enforcement have done a phenomenal job on this, the worst Firestorm San Diego has experienced, and they deserve everyone's thanks and praise!! It is heart warming to know they do receive it from the majority of San Diego!

As of today, Oct. 26, 2007, officials have said the Witch Fire is 45% contained. Although fires were burning around us, our home and area were not threatened, here in San Marcos. We have had a lot of smoke and ash, of course, nothing more.

Check these links for lots of unbelievable photos:
from FoxNews in SD--


Nicole Viola said...

Amen! Firefighters are awesome. Go Dad!

Sue said...

We think of you constantly and can't even imagine what you've been going through. Thanks for writing from the firefighter's (and family's) perspective. love, Sue and Bill