Earth, Wind and Fire

I hear the hum of aircraft headed to the Santa Ynez Airport, helicopters and air tankers setting down to refuel. The dominating plume of smoke on the mountains warns of a dangerous summer.

Our homes are not threatened here in this little valley, but the highway we take on our frequent trips to Santa Barbara is closed, fire raging on either side of the roadway.

This is the second fire Santa Barbara has endured in the last six months. Our beautiful Riviera is charred. Ash rains down on the beach and most residential areas have been evacuated. So many friends are affected by this. They’ve had to decide what to pack, realizing that what they leave behind, they may never see again.

And the firefighters, many of whom are fathers to the friends of my children, putting their lives on the line to protect the places we hold dear. The children know their fathers are heroes. They try not to focus on the very real danger, or the fact that 10 from their ranks have already been hospitalized.

Every day the fire has doubled in size. The wind has made it harder to fight. I can’t remember a day without wind. It has blown without stopping for several weeks, maybe longer. It blows harder in our valley than it does in Santa Barbara. It makes me wonder…

Our hillsides are brown and humidity is low. I notice people mowing the roadsides. Everyone is trying to create a defensible space around where they live.

I hope it’s enough.

13 thoughts on “Earth, Wind and Fire

  1. This is one of the most powerfully written blog posts I’ve ever read. I guess there’s a propensity for natural disaster anywhere, but this still seems just … unbelievable. Best of luck!

  2. So sad — I have friends in SB/Goleta who are packed and ready to go if they need to. My old house, the one I lived in when I was born, is in an evacuation area. It's right near Berkeley Park. I lived in Ojai 40+ years, so I know what everyone is dealing with there. My thoughts & prayers are with everyone, including all my firefighter friends from VCFD.

    Hope it doesn't get up to you, Sherrie.

  3. It is a time of heat, fire, wind and no rain. One of my favorite sanctuaries is often in trouble as they don’t have a way to evacuate the big cats.

    Hoping the wind dies and the humidity rises very soon.

    Best wishes to all who must evacuate and especially those who lose everything.

  4. Thinking of you lots. This is so scary & horrible. I've driven past and through those hills so many times–I hate to think of this going on. Sending hope that it is safe soon and people have their homes to go back to.

  5. I’m so sad this has to happen. I’m glad you aren’t in an evacuated area, and that you are safe so far. But this is truly a tragedy and breaks my heart for everybody and everything in involved. Please keep us posted. You’re in my prayers.

  6. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and prayers.

    We woke up to fog this morning and firefighters have the blaze 65 percent contained. Only 77 homes were completely lost and most people were allowed back into their homes today. There is ash everywhere and all of us are worried that we’re in for a long hot summer…

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