Our Hearts go out the Families Affected by the Southern California Wildfires.
Although I currently live in Portland, OR, I grew up in Encinitas, California, in San Diego County. I was visiting my parents this weekend when the fires started. We sat, glued to the television, making up checklists of things we needed to get out of the house if forced to evacuate. Then the calls started coming in. My cousin had to evacuate, my aunt got two reverse 911 calls telling her she was under voluntary evacuation; we added to our checklist. Medications, cat food, insurance papers, bedding…we imagined setting up our air mattresses at the crowded evacuation center in Qualcomm stadium, thinking of the images we saw from Katrina.
The fires roared on, the air quality getting increasingly worse. When we left the house to go to the train station, ash was sitting on the cars; it smelled as if a campfire was raging in our yard. People walked the streets with masks on. We couldn’t open the windows. I realized how much we take fresh air for granted.
People say that higher temperatures and global warming may be to blame for the fires. We haven’t thought however of the effect of the fire on global warming. According to Professor Thomas W. Boutton, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University, the result of the burning of 384,000 acres across Southern California has resulted in the emission of 20 million tons of greenhouse gases or the equivalent of 3.5 million cars (25% of all of the cars in California).
This is a terrible tragedy for the people of San Diego County. Many people have lost their homes. Our hearts go out to the families affected by the fires and we hope they are contained soon.
Looking to find out if someone you know is safe? Check out the Red Cross Safe and Well list. https://disastersafe.redcross.org
As of this morning, my parents still haven’t had to evacuate.
The smoke heading toward my parent’s house October 23rd.