Last weekend’s mass evacuation from the Kincade Fire threat has people from all economical backgrounds and political parties thinking alike. They aren’t thinking about who’s running for president, or who said what, or who did what. They’re concerned for their lives, their families, and their property. When push comes to shove, it’s what we’re all concerned about–our families lives and our property. Is it a kumbaya moment for California? Probably not, but it certainly brings families that have different political views together.
The questions vary from: Do you have power? Can you smell smoke? Do you want to stay at my house? How can you make coffee? Is it windy there? Do you need to charge your phones or use my refrigerator? It is refreshing for a minute–a hot minute–if I do say so myself. Because when all the political noise goes away, we’re all just people living in the same state and wanting the same things: safety, comfort, and happiness. We all want the best for each other.
Two years ago I evacuated at three a.m. in Santa Rosa with the clothes on my back. I was finally allowed back in my place two weeks later. My husband said, “We need to sell this place; it will only get worse.” We had only lived there one year. He was right, though. We sold it a few months ago and moved across the county to a less mountainous area. We didn’t have to evacuate from this current fire yet but had a power outage for three days during random power outages.
The visual of the people escaping the fires in Windsor, Healdsburg, and Geyserville definitely brought back bad memories or PTSD. Although our place didn’t burn down two years ago, we still have the scars of escaping a firestorm in the dead of night. It’s something you only can do once in a lifetime, if at all. We thought it was a terror attack as we drove south on 101 not sure where we were heading. Fires were on both sides of the freeway. We had no early warnings back then. We were the prototype for what’s going on today. They don’t want any more lives to be lost.
Four thousand homes were lost that night as well as 22 lives. We dodged power lines that had fallen and were sparking in the streets mixed with amputated tree limbs while escaping. We had no warning. Luckily, I was a light sleeper and heard all the commotion from afar, got up at 2 am, and witnessed an orange glow through the trees coming from the golf course club house which burned to the ground. We were out of the house within five minutes. Patients were being evacuated from hospitals in wheelchairs as we drove down the darkened hillside lit by an occasional burning ember in dry grass. Miraculously, the fire hopped our street and went to the other side of our complex. It did millions in damage to the complex and has still not recovered due to weather, insurance issues, and new building codes.
I live amongst lots of Democrats and never bring up politics with neighbors. It’s forbidden. But it’s not my permanent residence, so I can handle it in short spurts as long as I see my grandkids. As I sit here today wondering if our power will go out again, if my kids need my refrigerator, or if I should even stick around, I’m just happy that for a few days no one in the media is talking politics, thinking politics, or picking on Trump, in California anyway. Trump has nothing to do with these fires. They can’t blame him.
Fire does not discriminate along political lines or economical lines. It goes where it wants, regardless if you own a mansion, a tract home, condo, or a mobile home. Does not care. Fire is an equal-opportunity destroyer. But when it does destroy homes and lives, it has a way of bringing those from different backgrounds together.
So as I’m enjoying the quiet of no politics here and no protesters or crazies due of the threat of fire and high winds, I’m debating if I should leave and go back to my permanent home in a little more fire-friendly territory where there’s: no random power outages, no checkers asking if I want to buy a grocery bag, no crowded freeways, gas stations that have power, and no garbage collection police. It is California after all. The rules here for garbage are ridiculous. If the lid is not all the way down, they charge extra. Give me a break. California has bigger problems than that. They sweat the small sh-t and not the big stuff.
Without electrical power one cannot charge their electric cars and their solar panels get shut off. It’s an oxymoron that the Green New Deal needs to think about. We all need electricity whether the environmentalists like it or not. And the forest service needs to thin out the dead trees that are fueling these fires. And PG&E should think about putting more power lines underground near housing projects. For instance, yesterday in the rich town of Lafayette, a power line fell due to high winds and sparked a grass fire which burned down a tennis resort. Didn’t care if rich folks played tennis there. But if those lines had been underground, no fire would have occurred.
In the meantime, I pray that the fire will be contained today as the winds have subsided. I pray that the displayed folks can get back in their homes. I pray that the power will come back on for thousands of homes. I pray that there’s no more outages. And I pray for some rain. Rain, rain, and more rain. Then we can worry about flooding, building more dams, and our outdated storm drainage. It’s always something!
Updated: 11/3/19. Newsome just blamed Trump for the fires in California something to do with money. It was Democrat governors that turned down proposal to thin out the forests of dead trees due to environmentalists’ concerns for animals. As I drive from Nevada side of the Sierras to the California side one can see a remarkable difference. Nevada doesn’t have one dried up tree standing, whereas California’s mountains are filled with dead or burned pines which only fuel the next lightning strike. California needs to wake up and see the forest for the trees. Their forests are browning.