This was the view from my backyard yesterday morning. It should have been a pure blue sky.
It got worse than this before it got better.
The land our house sits on burned 11 years ago in the Harmony Grove fire. That open space just behind our fence is surrounded by houses, but the high winds were carrying embers up to two miles, so any fire in the general area could have ignited it. The winds were so hard Sunday night and all day Monday and last night that some trees were snapped along the street and a neighbor’s patio table was smashed. Our poor tipu tree bent at 90 degrees in this photo (to the left of the curved wall) seems to have made it, but many of our trees are de-leafed.
We had a mandatory evacuation yesterday afternoon because our neighborhood backs onto the open land going toward Elfin Forest. In addition to the Witch fire covered in the news there was a fire called the Coronado Hills fire in San Marcos, which is upwind of us. I don’t think it was on the news much with so many other more dangerous and volatile situations, but the police closed this area and drove around with loud speakers telling everyone to evacuate. Some neighbors stayed, but because of the amount of ash falling and another night of winds coming, we didn’t want to have a middle of the night exit. We had lost cable and internet in the morning and we were feeling very cut off.
We had received a reverse 911 call around 6 am telling us to be ready for evacuation, so we had already packed the cars with photos and albums, quilts and knitting, artwork and other special things, papers and necessities, etc, awaiting the mandatory call. While it was hard to leave home, we did it with more than the clothes on our backs like so many people, so I’ve not been as worried. Notice that photo albums, quilts and knitting were in front of papers on that list - I did the papers first, but those crafty were the things closest to my heart! We felt lucky to have had so much time to plan.
We stayed with my SIL in OC last night. In OC it was very hard to get detailed news about SD because of all the fires in the OC and LA areas My husband returned this morning to find relatively clearer skies and the barriers into our neighborhood pushed aside. The girls and I followed this afternoon (and the two cats and dog – that was a fun ride!).
Because the Coronado Hills fire was 100% contained this morning at just 300 acres we’ve decided to stay, but of course can leave asap if required. The yard and walks are ashy, but the house was closed up to the winds before the fires got bad, so it’s pretty clean inside. I’m so thankful for our good fortune, but I have friends still evacuated and they're more in the line of the active fires than us. I used to live and work in Rancho Bernardo, so of course this all hits close to home. The areas of the Witch fire west of I-15 are very familiar to me. I used to drive along Del Dios Highway every day, so it’s been hard not to stay glued to the TV.
My husband is working from home because they’ve asked everyone that can to stay home, so I’m only getting to “borrow” the PC for a few minutes. The winds are only going to improve from here and the temperature is dropping from the record highs, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My kids are off school for two weeks anyway (modified year-round) and now the house is in chaos, so you might not hear from me for a bit, but we're OK. Take care everyone. Our thoughts are with those who've lost their homes or don't know what they'll find.