I strongly dislike fires. Always have. When I was 8 or 9, my mother decided it was high time I struck a match. I sat crying by the fireplace for a long, long time afraid to light the fire in the fireplace. I liked to sit by the fire, didn’t want to strike that match. After that first one, I didn’t have problems the next time.
I grew up in the mountains where sirens meant fires. I never had to evacuate, but we were packed up a few times in the ‘50’s. For years after, I went through what I now recognize as mini-panic attacks until the sound faded. My heart raced. I wanted to run and freeze in place at the same time. That stopped when I moved to the big city where I heard sirens all the time. We’ve had some big ones in San Diego County in the last 9 years.
Skipping forward to those years: In 2003, we self-evacuated because we lived a couple of blocks south of the road everyone north of was to evacuate, and were about the same distance west of the street people east of were to evacuate. (Okay, I know that sentence is awkward.) Those two roads were the only way out due to a hill behind us.
In 2007, we were in Thailand and had sketchy information at best. That was harder. No matter what the natural disaster threat is, HAVE AN OUT OF STATE CONTACT PERSON. Yes, I’m shouting. Our son that lived in another state, gathered information and kept us updated on who was where. All were safe.
Last week, we once again self-evacuated. It turned out to be the smallest fire, only 1 acre, but every one of the 9, um, er, 10 fires (a new one started a day later) started out at 1 acre. One of our sons helped my husband pack up the RV because I was babysitting for one of our daughters. By the time I joined Dan at our eldest daughter’s house, the Coco’s Fire had just started a few miles from her house.
We watched it for awhile as it got bigger and closer then loaded up her vehicle, and went back to the house where I had just been. (The Santa Anna wind had blown the other daughter’s fence over the day before.)
By that time our fire was a non-issue so we left for home, but didn’t unpack until the next day.
It was a little disconcerting to see 6-8 fire trucks lined up on the main road to our house. I wondered if they knew about a new fire in the area. I didn’t see any smoke. Obviously that wasn’t the answer. I still don’t know.
Our eldest daughter returned to her home the next morning.
I think I’ll bake the fire fighters near our house a batch of peanut butter cookies or a loaf of bread today.