We Are OK
The last few days have felt like a thousand years. We are exhausted and in shock. While we live a few miles away from the fire damage, the fire burned the neighborhoods where our children go to school and where David works. All of the 346 homes that were destroyed are in the attendance zone for David's school, Carver's (and next year Lily's) middle school, and Zinabu's elementary school. Many, many, many of our friends, teachers, and community members have lost their homes. I had to tell Carver this morning that one of his best friends found out last night that she is officially homeless. I am constantly writing texts like "How are you?" and am receiving texts like this one from my friend Lisa, "We are with friends but we know our house is gone."
It feels like too much.
My aunt and uncle are staying with us with their dog and cats. They fled the fire on Tuesday night and showed up at our house covered in ash. My friend Heidi told me the harrowing tale of seeing flames behind them as they were in bumper to bumper traffic, trying to get out of her neighborhood. Dawn told me there was so much smoke she wasn't sure what they were driving into. Others who had been packed for days and ready to evacuate wound up driving through their garage doors because the power was out and they couldn't escape their garages. It was horrific and crazy. Even the federal fire experts who are here working the command center said they have never seen a fire move like that.
The fire had been burning for days, and the smoke in the city was significant, but the flames were staying behind the one ridge that separated our neighborhoods from the fire. But on Tuesday night, the winds kicked up and everything exploded. At first all we could see was smoke. Billowing, choking smoke. But later that evening when the winds shifted and blew the smoke off the ridge, we saw the entire canyon up in flames. David and I stood in front of the television and wept.
But we are thankful. David's school is fine. Carver's school is fine. Zinabu's school is still standing. It is an epic miracle. Some of our friends still have their homes. Everyone we know is safe and accounted for.
In fact, here is a picture of Carver's school.
The fire crews are using the school for staging and planning and the field behind it for all the firemen to sleep. We are so, so thankful for them.
While my aunt and uncle wait for good news and the hope that they can return to their home in the next week, my kids are showering them with attention. It's keeping my children busy and happy. David and I have everything packed for an evacuation ourselves--should the unthinkable happen. Ash is everywhere. Everywhere. And it only takes one ember to start a new fire. So we are prepared.
We don't know what tomorrow will look like, let alone next week or month or year. But for today, we are ok.