Hey everybody. Thanks for the concerns and well wishes (AGAIN). We've had the computer packed up along with a lot of our other things, hence my silence since Saturday's post here...
Very pleased to say we're fine, and still have a home standing, and still have a very large Star Wars collection to enjoy.
It's been a hellacious weekend monitoring our 'Foothill Fire' though, but fortunately the winds shifted direction to the Northeast pretty good on Saturday evening, keeping us somewhat out of immediate danger even though the fire was just about 3/4 mile away.
The fire's been burning all the way up our local 14 freeway, which has been serving effectively as a firebreak keeping "our side" safe so far. The firemen have basically just been letting it burn right down to the edge of the freeway, but making sure it doesn't hop the freeway over to our side, which is a very real concern with the insane winds happening, and the massive amounts of ash flying around everywhere. We've got a good inch of it on our back patio and in the front yard, not to mention our entire house smells like smoke (even though we've had the windows closed). Pretty nasty stuff... There's also been firedropping planes and helicopters flying over every few minutes too, which is pretty crazy considering the flying conditions (like zero visibility).
Still looks like our whole valley is under a nuclear bomb cloud, with an eerie orange glow shining through from time to time. Add to that all the black, charred hills all around us, and it really feels and looks like a war zone. The first 6 miles of my drive in to work today were all along burnt out hills. Very depressing. The thing's still burning
pretty good today as well, though not quite as close to us now - a little over a mile away, though there's been a number of smaller flare ups closer than that. We live off the Placerita Canyon exit, which is where a lot of the action's still taking place, on the opposite side of the freeway. They had to evacuate another 1,600 homes last night now that the fire's approaching the populated areas, and has burned right up to some houses yards. We never got a mandatory evacuation announcement, but most of our neighborhood was totally packed up and ready to go on Saturday afternoon. Last I heard, the fire was 39% contained, and there still hasn't been any structures lost, amazingly. Definitely a result of the firefighters great work, as they've always got defensive perimeters around any threatened structures, whereas they'll just let the fire burn if nothing important is around.
Patty and I spent a lot of the day yesterday taking cold bottles of Gatorade around to all the fire fighters (Patty's idea, of course). Then we spent most of the evening and night up on some lookout areas, observing the fires at very close range. I've gotta tell you that there's nothing more amazing and impressive in nature than watching a 30 foot high wall of fire a couple miles long, just marching up and down hillsides in one long, continuous line. Also saw a bunch of firefighters starting huge backfires too. Pretty cool seeing them shoot flare after flare into the brush, and seeing a huge blaze erupt. Almost looked like something out of a Sci Fi flick, since it was night time and dark out, but you'd see these little purple/red balls of flame flying 20 feet through the sky, way up on a nearby hill.
Just a crazy and very stressful experience all the way around, especially considering the brush from the neighboring hills goes right up to our back patio, plus the fact that my stupid ass still hasn't gotten contents insurance (the structure is covered though). We've actually still got all of our stuff packed up, just in case there's another shift in the winds and something kicks up closer to us again. Hopefully that won't be the case though. (fingers crossed)
Thanks again for the concern everyone, and I'll keep ya' posted if anything changes...
P.S. The start to the fire supposedly occurred when a red-tailed hawk got electrocuted on a nearby power line, and dropped (on fire) into the nearby brush, sparking the entire blaze.