Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I open the window ... and then quickly close it. The smell of fire is everywhere. A headache expands across the back of my skull, my eyes are dry, red and irritated, my lungs feel dirty. The sky has disappeared, blanketed with a thick gray/brown cloud of smoke and ash. I try to keep my breath shallow, not breathing the air too deeply into my lungs. I cough anyway. Even with the windows closed, a fine silt covers every surface. The carpet feels crunchy; I can feel the fine layer of dirt on the wood floors beneath my bare feet.

One of the wildfires (there are 14 now) is a few miles from my office. About 4-5 of us toughed it out at the office yesterday, others worked from home, and still others had to evacuate, hoping they would have homes left when the fires had finished their work. It wasn't easy being in the office. Even inside, the air tasted smoky and burned my eyes and lungs.

The hot, dry Santa Ana winds have spread the fires rapidly. Strong 60mph gusts swept the leaping flames in many different directions at once, creating great danger for firefighters and homes. The blaze near my office is thought to be arson. What evil would compel a person to deliberately set a fire, scorching the earth, destroying homes, putting homeowners, firefighters and animals in danger? Near a trail, two burned bodies have been found in that fire, unidentifiable, burned beyond recognition.
Firefighters are bravely battling, but there are so many fires, so many acres ablaze. Resources are spread very thinly throughout the area. Several of them had to take shelter in their emergency shelters yesterday, when the wind turned and they were caught in the middle with no escape. I thank God that the fire didn't kill them and they survived and will eventually return to their families when this is over.

Hundreds of thousands of acres are on fire; 250,000 people have been evacuated for their safety, taking whatever they could with them, praying their homes would still stand when they returned.

Please pray for all those who are so very bravely putting their own lives in danger to help others. Please pray for the residents who don't know if they will have homes, and for those who have already lost theirs. Please pray for the animals, pets and wildlife, impacted by these dangerous fires.

I pray the winds die down today. Even so, it will be many days before the fires can be contained and then extinguished.

Southern California is on fire.
All photos from the Orange County Register

Today's simple pleasure: gratitude for firefighters, the Red Cross, emergency services and the volunteers who give of themselves to help others.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I am keeping California in my prayers..I have so many good friends and family there that my heart is really with all of you. We are experiencing the worst drought here in Georgia this year, so I can relate to what is going on out there.