I need to create a recurring appointment on my calendar for Oct. 21. The devastating fire that is still burning in San Diego occurred 4 years to the day since the Cedar fire, the largest fire San Diego has experienced till today, and 11 years to the day since the Harmony Grove fire which destroyed over 50 homes within a couple mile radius of our house.
The current fires were slowly approaching our house under construction and our temporary housing as it marched toward the ocean. Fortunately, the whipping dry Santa Ana winds calmed down before hitting the Harmony Grove/Elfin Forest area, an area under a mandatory evacuation. If the fire had reached Harmony Grove, our area would have been threatened.
There was a voluntary evacuation of our area, mainly due to air quality. We decided to “evacuate” to a friend’s place because the air quality was getting so bad that our eyes were watering and we were experiencing headaches with all windows closed and all exhaust fans going.
The fire department predicted the fire would reach the ocean, which is unprecedented. The fire got as close as halfway through Rancho Santa Fe on its march toward the ocean. With the continued global warming and the “perfect drought” conditions, this may not be the worst we’ll see.
Both our workplaces will be closed for several day as they were close to the burn area and air quality poses a health risk. My employer really seems to follow its stated value – “It’s the people” – and the CEO sent out an email stating “business can wait” and to take care of yourself and family first. My employer has offered temporary housing for all employees displaced. As a comparison, all my friend got from his employer’s CEO is an email stating they won’t be deducted vacation time…even though their facility was close.
Our friends were in the middle of the burn area, fortunately their house seems to be ok based on a list published by the city but another house on their street and numerous houses on adjacent streets did burn down. The fire is very unpredictable, leaving one house as a heap of ashes and another untouched including flowers in bloom.