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"Under Fire" in Southern California

By       Message Sandy Sand       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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They say all politics are local.

For the time being I will add that that all news is local.

I realize when the entire world is ready to explode; Bush is asking Congress for $200 billion more to fund an illegal war, while in the same breath is refusing children essential health care; the Turks and Kurds look like they're going to go at each other; Pakistanis are up to no good; Congress is paralyzed into inaction; and there are angst-producing things happening everywhere, it's really hard to pay attention when your home is under threat.

In my case it's been two days going on three of wondering if my house and neighborhood and will be next on Mom Nature's list to attack with fire.

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Once again Southern California is suffering from leap-frogging fires caused by sustained hurricane-force winds, heat, unbelievably low humidity that has fallen to almost zero at times, downed power lines and criminally insane arsonists.

There are so many fires from the Mexican border on the south to Lake Arrowhead on the north; from the Pacific Coast on the west to Orange County on the east that the smaller ones, like the two that burned just to the north of me yesterday aren't getting covered.

Three large fires in San Diego County have merged into one giant fire where one man has been killed.  Now there is speculation that three fires that are burning to the north and south of me could very well merge into one humongous conflagration.

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As I've sat in my upstairs office all morning writing, I've been hearing fire department fire-spotting choppers fly overhead and heard radio reports of at least seven more new fires popping up.

All of which makes for a great deal of angst and wondering if we're next or if we will escape as we did yesterday.

If there's such a thing as evil winds as the saying goes, we got more than we and our nerves can handle.

It's really hard to find some comic relief or even a tiny upside to all of this.  Watching my neighbors patio furniture and flowerpot drip dishes fly by doesn't do it.  Nor does knowing that the high winds are saving me the trouble of removing dead leaves and branches from trees, because that just means more debris to clean off the ground when the winds die down in a couple of days.

I'm still looking for my morning paper.  Either it wasn't delivered, or someone else in the neighborhood is reading it and doing the NYT crossword.

In the midst of all these disasters, one heartening thing has been watching those magnificent men in their water-dropping flying machines, which is truly a miracle of man and machine working together in synchronized perfection.

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Watching J.R. pace all day and keeping us awake all night, because he's afraid of the wind doesn't help either.  He and I have been us since four this morning and still he refuses to go out and do his doggie leg-lifting thing. 

Even though my sinuses protested mightily at my going out into the yard, and encouraging him to come with me was an effort in futility.  He'll go out eventually, or I'm going to have another fine mess to clean up.

For years I've speculated that people who live in tornado- and hurricane-prone areas are better off than we are, because they have warning of their impending natural disasters and have time to prepare.

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Sandy Sand began her writing career while raising three children and doing public relations work for Women's American ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training). That led to a job as a reporter for the San Fernando Valley Chronicle, a (more...)

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