Thursday, May 15, 2014

California's On Fire

There's no easy way to say this, but if you've been following my tweets you might have some idea.

California - the promise land - is struggling right now. And it's real. Not in #TheStruggleIsReal but in the way that it is actually real.

Real lives are affected. Real homes. Real businesses. Real pets. Real people.

Today, my students aren't allowed to play outside during their recess. They aren't allowed to do P.E. They may sit in the shade or climb on the jungle gym but any sort of physical activity over walking is strictly prohibited.

The Smog is bad in Los Angeles today, but San Diego is a million times worse. The weather down there is described as Smoke. We're on fire and it's months before our fire season begins.

It's hotter than Vegas. It's hotter than the desert I go dirtbiking. It's supposed to cool down after the weekend, but how many people will be affected by then?

As of this blog post, these are the fires we have raging:

Highway Fire (San Diego) - 500 acres affected, 40% contained
Coco's Fire (San Diego) - 800 acres affected, 5% contained
Tomahawk Fire (Fallbrook & Camp Pendleton) - 6,000 acres affected, CAL Fire is on scene
Pointsettia Fire (Carlsbad) - 400 acres affected, 60% contained
Freeway Fire (Camp Pendleton) - CAL Fire is on scene
Miguelito Fire (Santa Barbara) - 632 acres - 90% contained
River Fire (San Diego) - 100 acres, almost contained
Bernardo Fire (San Diego) - 1,548 acres, 75% contained

These are the BIG fires. There was also a small fire by my house yesterday afternoon; and I drove past a small fire on the freeway Tuesday on my way home from work. When we woke up yesterday morning the Bernardo Fire was the only fire.

Many people don't realize that Southern California is a desert. Our expensive green lawns beg to differ. We are paradise, right?

Our summers are usually wonderful until September or October hits. That is when fire season usually begins. The Santa Ana winds pick up and our dry plants light up and we're ablaze.

This year we have had less rain and snow than usual. It hasn't been bad like this in a long time. My dad says the last time it was like this was the late 70s. Before this year, I can't remember hearing radio commercials about California being in a drought. I remember learning how to save water. Every year we here Flex Power commercials reminding us not to use our dishwashers / laundry machines until after 7 p.m. because we don't want black outs. We end up with some brown outs, but California's pretty good at avoiding black outs.

I wish this were an easy problem for us to fix. Of course, there are ways. We could take shorter showers. We could turn off the water while we brush our teeth or do the dishes. We could get water efficient toilets (they are EVERYWHERE in the Netherlands). We could be more drastic (an approach I approve of) and instead of the green grass lawns and parks, we create environment appropriate landscapes.

Please send us your thoughts (and water...jk...well...if you could figure out a way to send us enough). Our fire fighters need all of the help they can get right now as they battle fires and I know I'll be bringing some cookies to the fire station soon.

I've never been evacuated myself but some family members have and my high school boyfriend had our big OC fire in his backyard. But I also know the damage that fire causes from my own house fire.

If you feel like donating, here is a great link to help those displaced by the fires. You can also donate through the Red Cross.

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  1. Those fires are scary! Wish you guys would get a ton of rain- that would help right now!

  2. Rain would be AMAZING!!!! The fires are so scary :(

  3. That's got to be scary and I talked to someone the other day who said the same thing and seen it all on tv. It's awful and prayers and thoughts to you all. I'd definitely send the rain we're having or have been having if it would fix the problems.

  4. That is crazy... I thought it was hot here, but the fires are contained. Hope it cools down soon before people get hurt :(

  5. That is so crazy & so scary! I hope you guys get rain! I'd send you some of ours if I could.

  6. Wow, I had no idea California dealt with fires like these! Thanks for sharing and helping inform people about what's going on. I thought we were getting hit with crazy weather this year in the Northeast, but looks like it's all over the place :/ People won't realize how much of an affect we have on the weather until it's too late.

  7. As much as I'd love to send water......we do not have much water here in Arizona. I'm shocked with the amount of fires you all are having this year compared to ours. But here a fire can start in a blink of a eye, and most of the time it's caused by cigarettes.

    I hope they get them contained! I worry too cause I have my in laws in SoCal.

  8. The fires are doing MUCH better! We have some cooler weather and even some talk of rain!!

    I think Arizona is definitely more in a drought than we are, but you guys are a little more water-wise than us! We like to pretend we don't live in a drought, although the entire state is in one of the three worst stages of drought!

  9. Great coverage of this problem! We're always in a drought in Florida.

    ♥Emma, of It's Emma Elise

  10. really? Even though there are hurricanes and humidity? So crazy!

  11. I know! I don't understand it either.


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