Wildfires in California

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earlene

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I hope everyone else is okay who lives in (or is traveling) in the areas of the fires. My husband considered me and my son among the 'hundreds of missing' for a couple of days. I woke up Monday morning to a smokey haze as far as the eye could see and the smell of smoke in the air and ash falling from the sky like snow, but didn't hear about the fires until my son & I had a hard time finding a place to eat that was open, and then only taking cash.

We learned about the fires from a clerk at Jack-in-the Box. Upon searching for open businesses we found many closed with hand-written signs in the windows. Returning to my hotel, I learned that people were evacuated 2 miles South of my location and checking in after saving their horses. My son lives 8 miles north of town in a forested area and we were both quite concerned about the possibilities.

No cell service, no ATMS or credit card machines working anywhere in town, and no Internet either on Monday.

Roads in and out of town were closed for a few hours after my son had left to return home and as it turns out neither of us could sleep Monday night. Tuesday morning I went to wash up and found no hot water. The natural gas had been turned off all over town (and probably everywhere in several counties) because of the fires, so no hot water for showers.

On my way to my son's place (a whole other story; he just moved in and is now moving out)I noticed 3 gas stations had the pumps cordoned off, so I stopped to fill up my tank at the first one I found still open for business. Our plans had been to drive to the coast to conduct some business and gas was a necessity. But then I saw a cardboard sign saying there was WiFi at the library. So after getting my son we went in search of food again and none of the restaurants or fast food places were open, but the groceries stores were open. Cash only of course. Thank God I had enough cash with me for gas and food and so forth. And that I brought along a hotplates and some pans and plates for my son, so I am able to cook us meals. Otherwise we wouldn't be eating much.

And thankfully we are not among those thousands of folks without any power at all. This town still has electricity and the TV stations via satellite are still working, so The weather channel and CNN are my only sources of news about the fires. I'm watching now to learn more about the road closures and it looks like it's going to be hard to get out of here. I'm scheduled to leave on Saturday and I'm taking my son and his dog with me. So working on preparing for him to move out and shipping his stuff to Illinois is pretty much the order of the next 3 days.

Thankfully the fires have not reached my son's area, but with all those trees (forest) he's having a hard time sleeping. We did learn from a clerk at the grocery store that the WiFi in a pub in town was working and people were not having trouble getting on like they were at the library. So we made sure to arrive when they opened at 3 pm and I sent a message to my husband.

Then late last night the Internet started working here at the hotel, so I feel less isolated from the outside world. I still nèd to contact my brothers. One has been trying to call me everyday, but there is still no cell service. He is expecting me to alive on Saturday evening.

Pardon my self-centered rambling on the topic. I am sure some of our members were more affected and possibly lost their homes or worse. I do hope everyone and your loved ones and pets are all okay.
 

Obsidian

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Good to hear you are safe. I have a distant relative who lost her house and all belongings. When she evacuated, she only took 2 days worth of clothes.
Luckily she has a lot of family in safe areas so she had a place to go.
Did you ever hear how the for started? I don't watch the news, have to depend on second hand info instead.
 

Kittish

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Good to hear you are safe. I have a distant relative who lost her house and all belongings. When she evacuated, she only took 2 days worth of clothes.
Luckily she has a lot of family in safe areas so she had a place to go.
Did you ever hear how the for started? I don't watch the news, have to depend on second hand info instead.

Which fire? There are a dozen or so major wildfires going in California right now, all over the state. It's pretty bad.
 

KristaY

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I'm so happy to hear you're safe, Earlene. I was in the middle of one of those So Cal fires when I was a kid. We lived in the Simi Valley area and had to evacuate in the middle of the night. I still remember driving to family who lived at the beach and watching the massive flames all around us, jumping over the freeways, houses erupting in fire.... It was the most terrifying thing I've ever been through. My prayers are with you and all the residents in the fire paths.
 

earlene

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No, I have no idea how each of these fires started, but apparently they started overnight in several spots. The news mention that conditions are ripe for fires due to drought and high winds. High winds spread the sparks from fires and shifting winds make control and containment very difficult, in addition to the dryness of the vegetation because of a very hot summer and drought conditions. Before the natural gas lines were shut down, that was contributing to the spread of the fires when structures went up in flames and gas lines caught fire. Forested areas are always prone to hard-to-control spread of fire, and most of these areas are heavily forested even though also very populated.

So far, the death tole is at 17, and last I heard 380 people are still considered missing because loved-ones cannot reach them, so authorities are working on finding and re-uniting people in some fashion as possible.
 

Millie

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Wow, I am glad you are ok and hope you continue to be ok. Wishing you and your son a safe journey.
 
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Good to hear from you and that you are okay.
Those "missing" cannot be reached because several cel towers have been destroyed as well and several land switching stations. Phone service is sketchy in those areas at best. Santa Rosa is bad. My daughter in SF said it looks like fog - but it's much worse IF you have to go out in it.
 

earlene

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The news is not happy. The death toll is now up to 21, and 185 injured. Of 800 people reported missing, 315 have been found/accounted for.

The road closures are so extensive around here, it is looking like our only way out of here now will be to go West to the Coast, the North to Eureka and either take 299 East or to continue further north into Oregon before heading East and then South to get to the Houston area in Texas in time for granddaughter's 16th birthday. But this could change for various unforeseen circumstances.
 
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