Monday, October 27, 2003

Too bad, too sad

All day I've been thinking about the fires. I grew up out there, north of LA, near the Simi fire. We used to watch them, almost every Fall when the Santa Ana's would whip things up. Fires a tenth or less the size of these. From twenty or thirty miles away, at night, you could see the fronts on the hills and watch masses of flame detach themselves from the line and lift off. They must have been enormous, given how they looked even from that distance. And the smoke would fill the air and ash cover the sidewalks. Then I moved to San Diego where the other fires are. One year a small one started and climbed up the canyon behind my house on top of the mesa. It was like being at the top of a vast chimney. It died in the ice plant, but it was plenty impressive and plenty scary. It was like a life form unto itself - a uncaring, destructive, violent beast. That fire was an acre or two with a front 50 to 100 feet wide. It took my eyebrows from quite a distance as I tried to slow it with a pathetic garden hose. These things out there now are tens of thousands of acres in size with fronts 40 or 50 miles long and at least an order of magnitude beyond anything one could call "normal". The hot Santa Ana just keeps blowing out of the desert and down the hills like hell's own bellows. These aren't trees. This is practically a whole state of six to nine foot high, dense, impenetrable, dry "hedge" going up like a bomb in terrain that is folded up like a wad of paper. It hasn't rained since March or April, probably, and the thing just propagates with amazing speed by radiation and wind to where the fuel remains and the supply of oxygen is most ample . It isn't just the houses and the people. There are dogs and cats and horses. And mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, possum, cougar, racoons, rabbits, foxes, chipmunks, probably a few bears here and there, rodents, lizards, horned toads, ground toads, snakes, ground birds, bugs of all description, etc. and etc. They aren't all getting away, and for most those that do, the food supply is gone or disrupted. Probably most aren't. Too much smoke and heat and confusion. And how does one escape a fire fifty miles wide? Like the people, they wait too long and then are unsure where to go. And then it and the panic is on them. OM AMI DEWA HRI. OM AMI DEWA HRI. OM AMI DEWA HRI.


Post a Comment

<< Home