Ironically, the winds are blowing the front line of the fire right up to the doorstep of homes belonging to two of my cousins and my sister. They all live in Orange County, in the areas of Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda.
My cousin Jan and her husband were forced to evacuate earlier today.
Then my cousin Ann, who was out shopping, happened to hear that the fire had encroached upon her hillside home, so she tried to head back to pack her things and prepare to evacuate. Because of freeway closures she couldn't make it and paused in a Target parking lot to call home and give packing instructions to her husband and son. That's when she noticed that a big tree in the Target parking lot had caught on fire!
My sister Jill had was heading home from our parents' place after spending time with her horse Topper. She had her two dogs in the car with her. Again, the freeway was closed so she had to turn around and head back to our parents. That's about the time her husband-- who was at home-- heard a helicopter unleash a water drop directly on the roof of their home. Moments later, the sheriff ordered a full evacuation of the neighborhood.
In Southern California this time of year our seasonal winds combined with our drought-stricken foliage leads to wildfires. About anything can start the flames, from sparking transformers on electrical lines to careless campers. And let's not ignore the despicable deeds of nefarious arsonists.
But how, precisely, do you decide what to pack when you're forced to evacuate? Ron and I think about it a lot, especially since our home backs up to a dry hillside.
I figure I could always saddle up Wally and ride him to safety. And I'd have Ron grab our dog, Betsy, and an armload of important papers. But what else? Photos (naturally, those of my previous, beloved horses) would be a priority. And so would some family mementos. Yet otherwise, it's all just "stuff." As long as Wally and Ron and Betsy made it out safely, I'd get over the sadness. Eventually.
Oh dear. Did I just put Wally first on my list of Most Important Things to Save in a Fire, ahead of my husband? !?!
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