FIRE BLOGS: San Diego
October 25, 2007 6:12 PM
I’ve taken to the habit of nicknaming San Francisco “a frigid bitch” for the distinct sea breeze and cloudy weather that sit over SF State and my Sunset district apartment.
Every year The City changes for a few months as dry desert winds provide a natural heater for the Bay Area, i.e. Indian summer. Skirts and shorts, cotton tees and flip-flops come out of the woodworks as people enjoy good weather before that bitch of bad weather returns.
But that same hot wind has ravaged southern California, most of all my hometown San Diego. I was oblivious to the story until Monday morning when I got a call from my mother. Here’s an excerpt from the voicemail message she left me:
“I was calling to let you know that we are packing and we may have to evacuate. The flames, they said, they’ve seen some in Rancho San Diego and we can walk out our door and see them. It can come over the hill at us.”
My aunt and her two teenage girls in southern SD county voluntarily evacuated as well, all threatened by the Harris fire.
Status of Harris fire as of 10:04 a.m. Friday
20 percent contained
Though the fire threatens friends and family directly, evacuations were never mandatory. Actual damage was in north county where the Witch Creek fire, the largest fire in California, continues to rage.
Jason Sattam has been my best friend since middle school. He lives less five minutes from my parent’s place and is a member of El Cajon’s Chaldean (an Iraqi-Christian group) community, one of the largest Iraqi communities in the country. His sister lost her Encinitas apartment to the Witch fire. His cousin was going to get married this weekend but canceled the wedding and sent home family from Detroit and as far away as Jordan.
Hope and Joy Goodwin used to live in San Francisco near the zoo with a stable of horses. Today they live in the city of Escondido in San Diego’s north county. They still have stables full of horses but “Aunt Joy” has been in and out of the hospital for more than a year.
I’ve been trying to reach them since Monday but each time I’m met with a busy tone. Grandpa says they’re OK but I haven’t been able to talk to them about it personally. Communications with everyone in San Diego have been limited since people were encouraged not to use cell phones.
Status of Witch fire as of 11:03 a.m. Friday:
About 10 miles west of my family, closer to San Diego proper, is Qualcomm Stadium. At one point, CNN says 11,000 people filled the stadium. By the end of today it’ll be empty. But seeing all those people occupy stadium seats brings back memories of the Louisiana Superdome, minus the death and disparity. It can’t be easy waiting to see whether or not your house burned down but all reports say that is where similarities end. Massages, yoga and even buffets were made available.
The SD Union Tribune says we need to measure federal government response by weeks and months to know whether or not things have improved since Katrina.
The questions that remains unanswered for me (though vital considering San Diego’s demographics and location) is how are undocumented immigrants being treated? Are they being offered services like everyone else and most importantly, are they coming forward for volunteered services like everyone else?
G Dub’s got it though… that and a photo shoot.
In 2003 after the Cedar fires President Bush stood on top of what used to be Joe Bentley and his family’s home.
He did the same yesterday on top of the rubble of Kendra Jeffcoat’s Rancho Bernardo home.
Four years later, a vacant lot sits where the Bentley’s home used to be as they wait for the city to approve construction plans, NBC Nightly News reported last night.
SD county Sheriff Bill Kolender said more people evacuated San Diego than New Orleans during Katrina though there are certainly more San Diegans who can return home than people in the path of Katrina, more even than in the Cedar fire which took 3,500 homes.
There was no total breakdown of infrastructure or slow deterioration into chaos. Just massages, buffets, unbreathable air and a whole lot of ruined or inconvenienced lives. Maybe it’s the economic importance of the region or that it must be one of the most militarized cities in the country or that San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter is running for president or that FEMA really did make massive improvements. Regardless, THIS IS NOT KATRINA and it’s going to take a lot longer to adequately measure government response.
» FIRE BLOGS: Santa Barbara - Angela Bacca's take on what going on in her neck of the woods
» FIRE BLOGS: Los Angeles - Lindsay Rasten gives us the low-down in her old stomping grounds
» Devastation - Southen California ravaged by wildfires that have destroyed 1600 homes and businesses and cost more than $1 billion in damages.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University