The Fires Started Sunday

Thank you all for the well wishes. It means a lot to me.

The fires started Sunday morning on the other side of the mountain ridge that’s between our home and the ocean. A diligent neighbor called us at about 3am to warn us of the nearby fires started by the night’s lightning storm.

A couple hours after the phone call, lightning took out our power and with that our connection to the outside world. We’re just rural enough to not have cell coverage. From Sunday morning until Tuesday afternoon, we stayed connected by driving up the mountain to a cell signal.

On Sunday, in addition to the two fires made visible by smoke towers on the ridge between us and the ocean, a fire also started in or near the park that borders our small neighborhood. Fortunately, this little fire would fade over the next day or so but one of the two larger fires had come over the ridge and was slowly creeping down towards the park and our neighborhood.

By mid-day Monday, it was clear the two ridge fires were not going to burn themselves out quickly and we started thinking about evacuation.

On Tuesday morning we drove over the mountain to Mountain View to take our dog to the vet. When we arrived home early Tuesday afternoon, we talked with a neighbor who advised it was probably time to bug out. The fires were merging and a catastrophe was unfolding.

Another neighbor came by at about 4pm to tell us that she’d spoken with the authorities and it was indeed time to go. We quickly packed our two cars with basic necessities, clothes, electronics, and our pets and ourselves. We evacuated at about 5PM on Tuesday evening, driving over the mountain to a hotel in Mountain View.

As of this evening, it looks like the fire has spread the length of the ridge, and has come down our side all the way to near the creek at its base (a major stream in the area.) We live precisely one mile from that creek.

The wind has been in our favor and the fire, according to the NASA/NOAA maps, has not crossed the creek yet. Today the winds also died down some and the fire team was able to bring in some air support for suppression and documentation.

The good news is that our house is probably still there. The sad news is that the fire covers an area of about 75 square miles, and at least 50 families are known to have lost their homes so far.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to put in my first full day of work this week. No idea how that’s gonna go. Wish me luck.