Southern California

26 10 2007

As anyone who reads knows, I live in Southern California. As anyone with a TV knows, Southern California is currently going through another fire season. The air is thick with smoke and it sits heavily on top of us. I’ve been fighting off a sore throat since Monday night and it was only today that I actually connected it with the fact that I literally live in a punchbowl, and the smoke from the surrounding fires is acting as the punch.

This picture was taken on Monday the 22nd on my way home from work. The smoke was coming from the fire that was burning in San Bernardino near the University, and also from the fires in Arrowhead.
This is what was left of the hillsides near the University.

That picture was taken on Wednesday the 24th, no less than 15 miles from where SBJ goes to school and now lives. His school was evacuated Monday afternoon as a safety precaution. He just thought it was cool to ride the bus. The great thing about his school is that they are the first to leave the area in the event of a fire. His town got lucky this year, as portions of the surrounding areas burned starting Sunday, and very luckily being controlled and put out by Tuesday. He got extra lucky though because his school closed for the week, starting his vacation early. He is off track the whole month of November and today was supposed to be his last day.

Monday was the last time that we could see these mountains clearly.

Now they are completely hidden behind smoke.

The wind was so severe that fire spread within minutes. Huge trucks tipped. Trailers were literally ripped apart. Trees broken and scattered across the highways.

Now the wind is gone and the smoke has settled. Schools are still closed. People of all ages are having trouble breathing. Sports are cancelled and are being rescheduled. No soccer for SBJ tomorrow. Football stadiums, usually filled to capacity on a Friday night sit empty. When I wake up in the morning, I cant tell if its early morning fog, or smoke that blocks the sun. When it doesnt burn off by 11, I know its still smoke.

So we wait. We wait for the fearless men and women who are out there, day and night, to finish their jobs. Those fires will go out. The wind will pick up again and blow all this smoke out to the ocean. We’ll remember how it feels to breathe deeply again. And we will rebuild. If there is anything that California can do, its help each other move forward. We wont sit on our asses and feel sorry for one another. We will get out our brooms, our tools, and we will be back on our feet.

Its amazing how life continues on while our little part of the state is being ravaged by fire. I still go to work. Rura still does what he has to do. Today he had to take part in the hardest job of all. The words are hard for me even to type because I dont feel like I can do them any justice. Rialto, California lost one of its finest last week. He was doing his job and he didn’t come home to his wife and two kids. He was only 29 years old. He was working with his SWAT team, right along side the very post Rura will someday work for. Right along side one of Rura’s mentor’s. We aren’t married and he isnt a paid employee for that station, but it feels as if we have lost family. It became reality. Going with Rura to get his post’s mourning bands, which block their sheilds, was reality. Having him sleeping next to me and only knowing that today was “so sad” for him. It’s reality. It’s the life we choose. And days like today will not be our last.

Rest in Peace Officer Carrera. You will forever be one of Rialto’s finest, and will forever be in the hearts of every officer before, and after you.

And hang in there So Cal. We’ll breathe deeply together when the smoke clears.




4 responses

27 10 2007

What an eye-opening post, Miss. How sad is it to wake up in the morning and not know whether it’s smog or smoke from fires that is obscuring the skyline?

I hope you and your family stay safe!

27 10 2007

My sister was also excited because she goes off track next week too, so she’s also got five weeks off.

Man, the last two days it’s been really smokey here. And this morning, its cold, so I think that it REALLY IS FOG! Between the smoke and the dust, David’s been wearing those germ mask things all week at work. Its terrible.

29 10 2007

amazing pictures. its always great to hear the perspective of people who are actually there for news events instead of the media perspective. And I like your new banner.

29 10 2007

Hope you guys are surviving the smoke and ash. So sad about the police officer. This has been a terrible tragedy for so many.

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