October 24, 2007

Wednesday Fire

Fire sunset. Photo: G Oct. 07.

0722: I sip my coffee from an old, mid-sized cup. Most anyone else would think it huge, but not me. As I grew out of my assorted addictions, my coffee cup grew in size until one pot would fill a cup. Today’s cup will hold a half a pot. I was smoking when I last drank from this cup. This morning it’s been dragged from a back cabinet because all the other cups have been used….for we have not been using our dishwasher.

We San Diegans have been asked not to use the freeways so most of the city has stayed home. We have lost our outside electrical transmission capabilities, so we have been asked to not use electricity….or as little as possible. G and I, I have been rinsing the dishes in cold water and placing them in the dishwasher. Hand washing things uses more electrical power for the hot water heater than does the dishwasher. Now after three days, it’s time to let the washer do the washing. After today, we will begin using paper plates.

All the schools are closed….colleges and universities too. All school functions everywhere are closed. Mail is being held. Everyone has been asked to stay home, indoors, and not use their air-conditioning. We discovered that we needed to replace our old land-line, portable phone…this crisis making it apparent that the handset was worn out. Out into the world we dared. On the way to get the phone, thinking could get a good photograph or two from the top of the point, we drove on up the hill but found the park closed and everyone wearing particulate masks.

Back down the hill, we found most of the city was shopping letting Target’s air handling do the work. Sam, one of the Petco Park Guest Service Representatives, (GSR), was there and introduced me to his wife and son. Rudy, a GSR who lost his wife of 60 years, was there and gave me the familiar call of, “Geeeeeeeeeeeeeorrrrrrrrrrrrrrgette!” Only Rudy calls me that with that particular intonation.

I asked him how he was and he replied that he wasn’t eating and couldn’t sleep. He’s still mourning his wife. I feel so very bad for him. It was a joy to be able to introduce this ex Yankee to dear G. We found a phone, a green runner that we didn’t really need, and cold diet Root Beer for Ducks roommate and stood in long checkout lines with very friendly people on all sides. This crisis seems to have brought out the best in people everywhere throughout the city.

0901: There were two football games scheduled this weekend. The SDSU Saturday game has been cancelled, and I’m glad. The Chargers have relocated and are practicing in Arizona. They haven’t announced canceling the game yet.

Qualcom Stadium, at the heart of the city where the football games were to be held, is the central City owned evacuation site. As of yesterday, they have had so many donations and volunteers that they are now being used as a central distribution point for all the other evacuation centers. The Club level is being used as a medical facility with many senior centers and homes using this as their relocation site. Late last night they were calling for heart doctors and nurses to volunteer here.

I, who long to volunteer, am finding the smoke sits heavy on my chest. I have asthma. Outside the air looks like LA during one of the worst smog attacks of 1963. We didn’t think a thing about this then. Now it frightens me. I’ll spend the day quietly, not thinking, and hope that I can get Snapfish running again to show new photos.

Our beautiful city has now evacuated well over half a million people. This is the highest number in US history according to the journalism professor at a northern California College. The skies are grey and a gold tinged to highlights the ash that falls like snow everywhere.

G has been called into work. He emailed me to say he got through tho the traffic was heavy at times. I’m hoping he took a mask or two with him to work. He used to smoke heavily too. My eldest daughter is still in harms way, but the rest of our extended family is fine. Thanking all of you for your loving and caring notes. I’ll write later when I can…..please check out the local links below for the details.

1200 Noon: Just moments ago, much to my surprise having comfortably settled into a by-myself-time, there was G coming up the stairs. Someone noticed that they were all in a mandatory evacuation area working. Poor man had gone to work in real clothes and found himself in a fire zone with no air handling turned on. Post Office employees are all at work across the road in our new main Post Office though.

He reports that no burn areas are visible near the freeways up 15 to where he works in Rancho Bernardo. The air is smoky and solid grey everywhere. It’s hot out there.


SD County Emergency Index Map

NBC San Diego

San Diego Union/Tribune

Fire Map from SDSU

2007 Forest Service Map

Channel 10/ABC News

Fox 6 News

CBS/8: Great maps


  1. Thank you for the continued updates. Those of us "out here" feel so damned helpless. It's ironic that you're in the danger zone and you're comforting the onlookers. (wry smile) Take care and know the mojo keeps pouring in.

    Hugs ...

  2. You're right about disasters bringing out the best in people. I don't wish them on anybody, but they do remind us how much we depend on each other, and rightfully so. Stay safe, and take care of your own health.


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