Escondido Wildfires and my Stubborn Dad

October 25th, 2007

When I heard that San Diego was on fire, the first thing I thought of was my 64 yr. old. Dad. My Dad lives in Escondido (just down the way from the Wild Animal Park). He lives in the house that I grew up in. The house next to the great, big field and across the street from the horse farm. It is a quiet neighborhood where most of the neighbors have lived there for 30+ yrs.

My husband sent me a link to Google Earth showing that familiar areas in Escondido were on fire. From what the interenet said, my Dad’s house was on fire. I was beside myself. I called and talked to my Dad 3 times that first day. How was he? Is he ready to evacuate? What did the local news say?

The projections that the news gave were very different from what was really happening. Yes, there were fires. No, they weren’t closer than a few miles away from my Dad’s house. Yes, there was lots of smoke and debris flying everywhere. No, the world was not coming to an end.

My Dad said that he and his neighbors had not been asked leave (contrary to what the news said). That they were all staying inside their homes and waiting until they were told to leave. Although the media tries to give an accurate picture of a disaster, they don’t always hit “the mark”. That can cause tons of stress for loved ones that are far away. I know I was a wreck for 2 days. I am better today.

I have to say that it is amazing that so many folks can come together when there is a disaster. How people (rich, poor, young, old, etc.) can put aside their lives and help one another. That stress CAN bring out the beauty in people. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? Sure, there were people taking advantage of the situation. My Dad said that he heard of some looters that had a semi-truck and were going through the wealthier areas of San Diego and having a “grabbing spree”. Thankfully, they found the people and arrested them.

My Dad also said that there have been stories of con-artists coming in and saying they are with contractors. They are telling folks that they will rebuild their homes. They ask for a down payment to secure future work and then skip on the work. That tragedy can bring some nasty folks around really sucks. Con-artists are lower-than-low to take advantage after a tragedy. How they could prey on those that are suffering is beyond me. To them: “Your day will come.”

I want to thank all of the volunteers, news people (you tried, I know), fire fighters, etc. that stepped up to help those effected by the San Diego fires. For those that were effected (evacuated, lost their homes, etc.,), I am so sorry. This was a horrific event and will go down in history with Katrina and 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

As the fires rage in San Diego, I also think of the places that are in the “line of fire”. The majestic Palomar Mountain and Observatory, Julian with their adorable shops and Mom’s Apple Pies, Santa Isabel with the best bakery in the world, Ramona & Valley Center with the simple ranches and wondering herds of cattle. Losing these things makes me sad.

Although it breaks my heart to hear that these areas are or might burn, I know they can be replaced. Trees grow back. Shops and bakeries can be rebuilt.

These fires have been a catastrophe for California. My thoughts and prayers are with those that have been effected by them. May this horrific event bring your communities together. May the economy strengthen. May people care for one another from now on as they did during these fires. I am glad that you are all safe.

Dad, I am SO THANKFUL that you are okay. I am glad that my childhood home still stands. I know that Mom is up in Heaven saying: “Why didn’t you evacuate?!” (I am thinking the same thing too.) However, I am extremely thankful that you are alright. Whew!

12 Responses to “Escondido Wildfires and my Stubborn Dad”

  1. BayAreaDM Says:

    It is laughable to compare this to the Indian Tsunami or even Katrina. The loss of human life will always be more valuable that physical possessions. HUNDREDS of thousands perished in India, while the final numbers in Katrina hover around 1,500. So far in SoCal we are looking at less than 10 deaths and less than 100 injuries.

  2. Tony Says:

    Yeah, the largest peacetime evacuation in US history is like no big deal. Geez.

  3. jjabl Says:

    What really makes me mad is that they are saying some of the fires were arson. Not an act of nature as the hurricane or tsunami, but MAN MADE destruction. This will affect the land and the animals and the people for many years to come. Mudslides, lung problems, homelessness, no wild creatures, no trees, for some no home, no pets, NOTHING – not a big deal, HUH?
    What a tragedy for all, but what awesome volunteers have stepped up to help out. THANK YOU for helping.
    Shan – I am so glad your dad is okay – stubborn, yes, but okay.

  4. Shan Says:

    I am sorry, but I believe that these recent events do have things in common and that they were ALL traumatic. I don’t think any of us can speak from experience regarding which was worse. We weren’t evacuated (like almost 1 million people in California were). We didn’t lose all of our treasures or my home. I can’t imagine what anyone from these tragedies have gone through. Can you? Perhaps you should ask those that lost their California home and were afraid of losing their loved ones about the insignificance of their experience?

    As this will go down as the worst wildfire in California history, I believe the millions of people that were asked to evacuate would consider their situation a catastrophe. Thank the Lord that more lives WERE NOT lost to this. That people did evacuate and work together. I believe that our nation learned quite a bit from Katrina and the loss of property/life. All who have gone through situations like this should be recognized and admired.

  5. aly Says:

    Shan – good to hear your dad is okay. I haven’t heard any news about my uncle and his family in San Diego. Some of our friends only had smoke damage, so they were among the fortunate.

    As far as whether or not comparisons can be made to the Indonesian tsunamis or Katrina, let’s not be callous or insensitive or compare apples to oranges. To be displaced, to lose even one human life, is traumatic enough in the face of any disaster. Californians just went through this in 2003, with a very real possibility of repeats every year. It’s remarkable that there have been so few deaths and injuries.

    Hugs, Shan!

  6. BayAreaDM Says:

    I missed something – or more like, everyone here missed something. Did I say it was no big deal? No, I said there is no comparison. I’m sorry for everyone’s losses, and I had friends down there too.

    Did I mention hundreds of thousands dead? Oh yes, I did.

  7. BayAreaDM Says:

    I noticed we have some people here who are not used to having their viewpoints questioned.

  8. Tony Says:

    Dude, get over yourself. She never compared them. Try brushing up on your reading comprehension skills there. She said this “was a horrific event and will go down in history”. Was the shuttle breaking up over Texas a horrific event? I’d say yes. Only 7 dead there. Columbine? Only 15 dead. Does there have to be a massive loss of life for an event to be horrific or go down in history?

  9. BayAreaDM Says:

    Again, “dude”, it can’t even be compared, which is what she is doing. It’s not even in the same category. My reading comprehension is just fine, so maybe you and Shannon should stop speaking in vulgar generalities.

  10. Shan Says:

    LOL….too funny….I know you want to get a rise out of me, D. However, arguing with you is like talking to a rock at times. It gets neither of us anywhere.

    You have your opinion about what a “catastrophe” means. However, I believe that being involved in a typhoon, earthquake, fire, avalanche, etc. can ALL be considered “bad”. Especially if it happens to YOU.

    I think it is silly to say that the San Diego fires mean nothing due to the quick thinking, community cooperation, and low death toll. If people in California had “waited for the government to take care of them” instead of fending for themselves and working together, I believe that the fatalities would have been considerably higher. You can debate about that all day, but Californians did work together and did evacuate when they were told. Something that many in the path of Katrina failed to do.

    However, if you feel that the number of fatalities “makes the catastrophe”, you might want to reconsider. If that were the case, Hurricane Katrina (1,836 reported fatalities according to Wikipedia) wouldn’t come close to:

    *Chernobyl (4,000-90,000)
    *1931 Yellow River (Huang He) flood (1-3 MILLION)
    *Bhola cyclone (500,000)
    *1999 Venezualan Torrential rains and mudslides (15,000)
    *2003 European Heat Wave of 2003 (35,000)
    *1980 United States heat wave (1250-10,000)
    *Krakatoa Eruption (35,000)
    *1906 San Francisco earthquake (3,000)
    *2005 Kashmir earthquake (79,000)
    *1998 Yangtze River Floods (3,000 dead with 14 MILLION homeless)
    *Twin towers attack (3,646)

    So, are you saying events such as the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, 1994 Northridge earthquake, Hindenburg crash, Donner Party, Oklahoma City bombing, and the Dust Bowl mean nothing because fewer people died? What about miners that are stuck hundreds of feet underground and perish due to collapse. Is that not a tragedy?

    What about those that die due to terroristic acts? If only 20 people die in a subway bombing, is that not a tragedy?

    By your thinking, the death toll is FAR HIGHER for diseases than Natural Disasters and terroristic attacks. If death is what makes a “disaster”, how about:

    *Smallpox (300,000,000 in the 20th Century alone)
    *Malaria (80,000,000-250,000,000 in the 20th Century to now)
    *Aids (25,000,000+)
    *TB (40,000,000-100,000,000)
    *1346-52 Bubonic plague (one third of the European population dead plus millions in Asia and North Africa for a total of 25 million DEAD)

    By your account, the folks who lived through things like West Nile, Bird Flu, etc. really didn’t suffer much because not as many people died. Hmmm…

    Well, if that were the case, what about famine? Natural Disasters, terroristic acts, and diseases don’t really compare to the world wide famine fatalities throughout history.

    DM, are you seeing how your argument really sounds ludicrous? Loss of property, life, health, home, safety & security..it ALL matters.

  11. BayAreaDM Says:

    Wait…again you are not reading my words. Did I say the “San Diego fires mean nothing”? No, I did not. Please point that out somewhere in your post next time, exactly where I said that. I never said “nothing”. I said, a dozen people dying and hundreds of thousands people being displaced is not comparable to the biggest historical disasters. Did I say it was NOT a tragedy? No, I did not. Once you start putting words in my mouth, you disrespect me and this discussion, and it renders all these statistics you listed moot. If you think human life has merely less or equal value to property and possessions, then that is just plain ignorant. Furthermore, if you are asking if I feel AIDS, Malaria and the Bubonic plagues were disasters, I would say…of course. Are we disagreeing on that? I did not compare Katrina to “all time worst” disasters – YOU did. I’m not trying to get a “rise” out of you – don’t humor yourself.

    Yes, I too was impressed with the urgency and teamwork involved in the evacuation. However, comparing SoCal to Katrina would involve some deep introspection on racism, classism, and other societal issues that may be a little too deep for this blog.

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