I live in Southern California and basically it is nothing but a dried up desert in the summertime. So wild fires are a reality for me. Being in California I get asked a lot about earthquakes, and to be honest fires scare me more. Do not get me wrong. I hate earthquakes. But it is a “less than a minute” shake of terror and then it is over. Kinda. But for me fires are this sense of dread and anticipation as it gets closer and closer to my house. Thoughts of evacuations and losing everything comes to mind.
What started out as a normal SAturday afternoon turned scary. I noticed the light outside seemed to have a yellow haze to it, but I did not see anything in the sky from the view in my kitchen.
Then I heard a siren. Then another.
I thought, oh geez, someone’s house is on fire.
Then another siren.
Then a helicopter. I knew when I heard the helicopter that it was something bigger.
I went to the front of the house and I could see that it was indeed a fire.
For those who do not know me, or where I live. My little neighborhood is butted up against the freeway. On the other side of the freeway is scrub brush covered hills. The type of scrub brush that will go up like tinder. There are also houses located on those hills.
I went back inside and then the helicopter kept going over my house. They were so loud I swear they were about to land on my roof.
The sky kept getting darker and darker and by now there were about 8 helicopters constantly moving around dropping off water.
My brother who worked for Aerospace said, well as long as the DC10 does not come, it means they got it under control. Those DC10’s cost a million dollar to use, so they have to be serious.
I asked him what it looked like, how would I recognize it.
He said, you will know. It is a huge huge plane. There is no mistaking it.
The smoke was thick. The smell was thick and smokey. The fires seems to be getting bigger and bigger.
Then the helicopters increased and I felt like it was a war zone. One after another going over the house to get to the fire.
Then I saw the BIG plane. I asked my brother “Is that the DC-10?” “Yes it is”
Sorry I don’t have a picture. It had dropped it load when I first spotted it. Since it is a one drop scenario, it then looped away and fly off.
Although this looks bad, it is really much better than it was earlier.
We took a car ride up onto the freeway and saw the flames on the hills. Even though it was close, I knew if they let us on the freeway, they felt it was safe.
That night I sat outside by my pool, still hearing the helicopters, still smelling the smoke and watching the fine ash floated around me.
I felt better, since it seemed to be under control.
But with fires you never know.
Here it is Monday and the helicopters are still coming but only once in awhile. I think they check for smothering hot spots to make sure it is out.
I truly admire firefighters. Such a dangerous job and they risk their lives to help save our homes. True heroes. Thank you for doing what you do for all of us!!!