I thought the worst thing that was going to happen this week was my root canal. Wow, was I wrong.
SoCal is on fire this week and not in any of the ways one might hope. At the moment, six separate blazes are aflame from San Diego up to the edge of Santa Barbara County. The Thomas Fire, the largest of all the conflagrations, has destroyed more than 400 structures and displaced thousands of people. It has been nipping at the edges of the greater Santa Barbara area the past few days, jumping the freeway at Ventura County’s Solimar Beach, burning at least one structure at La Conchita and prompting evacuations in the town of Carpinteria.
KTLA took this photo of La Conchita in flames:
It started in Santa Paula, but fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds, which are supposed to kick up again this weekend to the tune of 45 m.p.h., quickly spread, at one point burning at the rate of an acre per second, according to the Washington Post.
For those who have inquired, we are (for the moment, at least) miles and miles away from it all. Not a breath of wind in our part of town all week. But wow, it has been eerie. I took this photo at 1:30 in the afternoon yesterday. Early afternoon looked like dusk and smelled like the world’s largest campfire:
This morning’s sky looks even more apocalyptic, but according to the latest news, while the blaze has grown to 148,000 acres it is now 15% contained. We’ve had power outages, our neighborhood and house smell like eau-de-giant-ashtray, and like everyone else, we’ve been forced to see the 8,000 retweets of the guy who saved a bunny by the side of the freeway, But thus far, this fire has passed us by. May we be so lucky the next time.
Oh, and the root canal? Every bit as awful as advertised. But not even a blip on the radar screen compared to what families in Santa Paula, Ojai and Ventura have suffered. I found this “confirmed burn” map on Google and it is heartbreaking.
How to help? My favorite option is the Ventura Corps of the Salvation Army. Other options are The Thomas Fire Fund, a hybrid project of Ventura’s United Way and Red Cross, and, remembering all the animals that have been displaced along with humans, the Humane Society of Ventura County.
And, as always, pray for rain…