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Mt. Washington, Ca
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Registered User
(11/12/03 10:15 am)
the good we may yet do
my parting post from the walrus board:

may we do some of the good in the world that PY and Amma have done

my heartfelt thanks to SRF, PY and Amma for the positive they have brought to the world

Goodbye one and All

Registered User
(1/4/04 5:03 pm)
First hand observations
Morning of 10/26: Woke up and meditated. When I finished at around 8am or 9am I went and logged onto my computer. Well, I didn't get that far. As it was booting up the power when off. I thought, "Oh no, not again." The power tends to go off during a Santa Ana wind - which we had. The power came back on. Then it went off. And it performed the same cycle several times before finally staying off.

It was only then that I realized that it was DARK outside. In the morning. It was only when I looked out that I noticed that the sky was black. So I went outside. My thoughts, "Uh oh - this looks serious - take a shower and get dressed." In other words, get ready to leave.

Power was out for 8 days. Phone service: 26 days. Thank goodness we're "downhill" from the reservoirs - without electricity for pumps - water still flowed.

Although the smoke was blowing directly overhead, we did not smell any. The wind on the ground was blowing directly towards the fire - which was moving directly toward us.

At 11am the Sheriff department rolled through the neighborhood and suggested we evacuate. I and my neighbors weren't moving until we saw the "whites of their eyes", er, the fire, that is. The sun appeared blood red when it peeked through the smoke. Interesting color.

We spent the day listening to the incredibly lousy news coverage on the radio. Most reports centered around the fires in the more expensive neighborhoods. We're watching the fires get closer and closer and we hear news coverage about another fire elsewhere.

We watched the fire burn around to the north and miss us.
Neighbors and I spent time watching through binoculars to determine how close the fire was, the direction it was burning, how fast it was burning, etc. We climbed nearby hills/mountains to get a better view. It had burned to within several miles north of us and another front was many, many miles away. This was a neighbors report at 2am Monday morning from a hilltop: fire many many miles away. WRONG!

The Sheriffs department came around again at 1am Monday morning with sirens blaring and told us to evacuate, although it was not yet mandatory. Some neighbors left. The Sheriffs were concerned that the fire that burned to the north around to the west would burn back. He was not concerned about the fire approaching from the east.

I packed my car with my clothes and computers ready to make my escape. I knew if I left I might not be back for several days. I knew I could stay because of a safe area: HV ashram and neighbors property in the valley.

It was an uneasy nights sleep. Sleeping with one eye open or one nostril open as an early alert system is not restful.

I work up at 5am Monday morning and looked outside. Looked like the sun was rising in the east. The sky was a flickering orange just over the hill to the east - a 300 foot steep rise. Except for the peculiar sound of a rumbling freight train behind the hill - you could have sworn the sun was coming up.

Twenty minutes later CDF showed up and placed a truck at each house or outbuilding. Moments laters a neighbor came through and said the fire's coming right over the hill - 50 to 100 foot flames. The fire had created it's own weather. It was preheating everything in front of it. (I knew that the one road in and out was now blocked by the fire - there was no way out to leave the area although a safe area existed.)

I listened to the rumbling get louder and louder and BOOM! The fire exploded over the hill. Trees exploded. Other plants too. The CDF stood around. They were only there to protect structures. The fire was too big.

The fire hit an avocado grove. That slowed it down. The wind started to change direction. I went to HV to see if they needed help.

Bro. Bimalanada was praying. I don't think it was simply narrowly for HV ashram. At least, that's not the feeling I got. I think he was praying for all the fires to be controlled or go out. The wind changed direction as the fire began to heat up the wooded sections of HV. This would have taken out a part of HV and houses that neighbors lived in. The wind changed direction 180 degrees and continued burning 10s of thousands of acres in another direction.

When the fire direction changed I was able to gather some perspective on the power and size of this fire. The fire preheated hillsides which exploded within minutes entirely engulfed in flames. From the distance I was watching the firetrucks appeared to be 1/4" tall. The fire: 4 inches tall. Look at a ruler. There was no way to fight this with conventional methods.

This was a firestorm. Words, pictures, videos, news accounts cannot describe the intense destruction this wrought on many neighborhoods. How the fire chewed up anything and everything in its path. I and a few others were fortunate. We were without phone and power for a while but still had a place to live. (Cluttered with stuff we really don't need anyway.)

I left for work late on Monday and was not able to return for several days so ended up sleeping in my car. (Had all my clothes anyway.) Returning, one needed ID to show the Highway Patrol because they had closed all roads for residents only. They wanted to prevent looting problems. Believe it or not, those looting "problems" were caused by reporters walking through burned out areas and picking up stuff to describe to viewers/listeners. A no-no.

Air quality was HAZARDOUS on Tuesday. The winds had died down overnight and the smoke settled to the ground. The air was a tan smokey color with visibility around 200 feet or less. All respirators were sold out in the area and people were wearing clothes over their mouths or dust masks (which were ineffective).

We're watching life spring back in the burned out areas. Blades of grass and other plants growing where they'd not been see before. Where'd the seed come from? We also have some mudslides due to ran resulting in road closings. I wonder how the wildlife is faring: mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, deer, etc. Time will tell.

Life goes on.

Peace to all...

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