Friday, July 04, 2008

For Once This Is Not About The Baby...

Last year when wildfires threatened our home, I packed our 'grab-n-go' box and found $600 in my travel wallet that I'd forgotten about from our trip to the UK a few months earlier. Nice one! No such luck this time. I am acutely aware of the state of our finances, to the very penny picked up off the street. So aware, that I'm a little disappointed that this weekend's fire isn't a tad closer to our house.

I'm only half joking.

We went out to a concert last night (as you do, if a major wildfire threatens to engulf your town - and as you can see we weren't the only ones), the fire looming in the background, and we discussed what we'd pack.

We decided on:

The Hard Drive (a close second)
Passports/ID cards/Birth Certificates etc
Deed to the apartment building
Insurance policy
The jewelery that I wear every day.

I would have been sad to leave our bed behind (it belonged to LK's grandparents, funky carved wood from the 1950s), but LK reassured me he could easily handcraft another one from memory (?!).

That was IT.

The rest is just stuff. Replaceable stuff. Rather humbling and freeing actually.

I'm sure it would be very different if (when?) the fire is 500 yards from our house instead of 5-10 miles but still it was amazing how short our list was and how completely in agreement we were on our choices.

Whoops, I forgot the guinea pig. Sorry Louis.

The fish is on his own.

Right now the fire is 10% contained and despite the massive infernos raging in Big Sur the Goleta fire is ranked #1 in terms of emergent threat because of its proximity to a major urban area (us). The TV crew were oddly jubilant about that fact on last night's emergency broadcast.

I was nervous last night as the fire hit a sub-station and our power went out. It was also alarming to see the DC-10s lumbering across the sky this morning to dump water on the fire. I will also be worried tonight as the sundowner winds pick up and we discover which direction the fire will spread. The firefighters do an amazing job, but faced with wind, fire is an unstoppable force. About 20 years ago the Painted Cave Fire tore through Santa Barbara with the force and sound of a freight train. It was so powerful it jumped six lanes of freeway and burned all the way to the ocean. There are no guarantees that won't happen again. It is also rather alarming to note that there is one road in to Santa Barbara and one road out (now that the 154 is closed due to the fire). It will be hard to swim with a hard-drive. The guinea pig will be on his own. The fish will be fine.

So tonight, as we stand on a friend's balcony watching the 4th of July fireworks (amazingly still going ahead - a little inappropriate perhaps?!), we will be looking over our shoulder at the more impressive display behind us and keeping our fingers crossed.


Norm said...

Were you here for Painted Cave? Oh lordy, that was a night. Of course, it was 106F at 5PM when the fire started. This seems almost innocuous in comparison. I recall our 1 month old slept through the whole thing (smart baby)


Eden Kennedy Onassis said...

We were feeling awfully smug down here in Carp until our power went out, too. We always have room for you, should such a need come to pass.

Hyphen Mama said...

I really hope it's contained soon. Wildfire is SO unpredictable and scary.

mmennen said...

I didn't realize your power went out! Raph said it never went out at our house, but maybe he didn't even notice : ). Somehow, reading this post, and thinking about potential catastrophes in general, I started thinking that we should all invest in a boat. That would be one of the only ways to get out of town!