The difference between a normal night out and a night of anxiety watching a wildfire just within a couple of miles by my house is less than 60 minutes
It was Friday night. I was debating whether or not to go out and be social since I knew of a big party where I could potentially meet many people. That was my first mistake.
Within an hour of arriving to the bar in Chinatown, I received a picturemail with what looked like distant flames and then a phone call telling me that there’s a huge fire in my front yard. I made no hestitation about leaving, saying goodbye to the host, and I was on my way to spend the rest of my night worrying.
Traveling up the freeway, the closer I got to my neighborhood, the brighter the sky around it became. Once I passed over a slight hill that was blocking my view, I saw flames literally engulf the side of a mountain just to the northwest of my house. Not that I knew where I was looking, as I got closer I knew these flames were literally within walking biking/driving distance of my house.
The remainder of the night was spent without electricity, the occasional visit to online news sites from my phone, taking photographs of what I saw, and wondering if/when we were going to be evacuated. Because of the intense Santa Ana winds, evacuation was mandatory for all neighborhoods to our west. We, however, were lucky enough to escape this fire narrowly. We knew by 3am that this probably wouldn’t hit us.
As restless as I was, I spent the remainder of my three hours awake going online, reading, watching, and trying to get a connection from my phone to my laptop. It was frustrating, I was jittery, and I was ready to go to sleep even though my mind would not let me.
By the time I woke up on Saturday morning, only getting around 4 hours of sleep, I decided that without electricity I would be useless at my house. So I decided to spend the day at work to ease my mind and watch the news. Knowing that the house electricity had not been restored that day, I also spent most of the evening out before deciding to try the house and see if power was back. Victory!
24 hours of wildfire madness was enough for me. I’m thankful to still have a standing home and a place to sleep. I think this was the last thread of wildfires I will see in this area for a long time. Two in one year is more than enough.