Thursday, May 10, 2012
Fire on the Mountain
People who live in the Santa Monica Mountains and other rural areas of Southern California are always alert during fire season - which happens to be almost 12 months a year.
This afternoon sitting at my desk in balmy Santa Monica, two blocks from the beach and ten miles from home, a chance encounter set my alarm system in motion.
A colleague had a meeting with someone who was running late. They were coming from Topanga, they said, and they were running late because there's a fire.
I sprang into action - if you can call websurfing "action". The California Highway Patrol website, the community emergency volunteer site, newsradio sites...one small announcement of fire was all I found.
[The Man I Love] happened to be home, so I called him. My call, relaying something I heard from a chance encounter, was the first he'd heard of it - although he'd heard the sirens. Then he went out on the deck and saw the smoke billowing from the ridge across the boulevard from us. The helicopters were already there, dumping retardant on the fire. While we talked, my mind automatically started listing the items he should take as he evacuated, in order of importance. I'm sure he was doing the same.
As it turned out, it was a car fire up on the ridge, and was put out quickly. Even so, it was a lesson how quickly disaster can happen, how quickly you have to move, and also how lucky we are for such great fire-fighting support.