Saturday, October 26, 2019

Didn't We Already See This Movie?

Update: Thanks for all you good thoughts and comments via Facebook, they help! Here's what's up with us:

Until now, the Kincade fire has been a relatively well-behaved wildfire many miles north of us. It destroyed some homes and buildings, but hasn't killed anyone and pretty much kept its destruction to the backwoods. That's expected to change tonight, however, with hurricane-force winds forecast--a chillingly similar situation to two years ago, though they're coming from the north rather than east this time.

We understand better than most how far and fast a fire can travel when propelled by 70 mph wind.

Karen's been leading part of the County's emergency response since very late last night/early this morning. Her main job has been figuring out where 50,000 evacuees can go for help, shelter, services, etc., setting up at fairgrounds and schools. Meanwhile, I packed up the house, starting with the few treasures we saved from the last fire. I had all day. The sun was up. Neighbors all helped each other. These are advantages we didn't have in 2017, but which made me really appreciate what a great job we did last time when we had 20 minutes in pitch darkness.

The officials who choose evacuation zones are being very conservative. They won't know where the Kincade fire is going if/until the winds kick up, so they're evacuating basically every different path it might take. One of them goes through my neighborhood. Another marches 30 miles straight west to the Pacific Ocean. They're covering a lot of bases. Tonight it seems like half the county is under mandatory or voluntary evacuation.

Meanwhile, our daughters Laura and Robin have taken us in to their apartment, halfway between home and San Francisco, just like they did two years ago. We're fine and safe. Had a nice dinner. Just blew up an air mattress. We can do this for a day or two.

Today was weird. For me it felt kind of like a "do over," a chance to avoid the mistakes I made last time and get it right. Almost leisurely. We packed and evacuated well. This is not the sort of skill one wants to master. It's possible--not probable, but possible--that our home won't be there this time tomorrow. That's a strange, unsettling uncertainty to live with.

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