shiredancer: (Flaming Pentagram by Tiger_Tyger)
Oh, crap. I *thought* fire season was over; I *thought* we were heading into some cozy, cool weather at last. Well, I thought wrong. The hills above Santa Barbara and Montecito are on fire. Again. This is much worse than the summer fire -- many homes are burning. Several of Kidlet's friends' homes have been evacuated, I'm sure. I hope none of them have been lost. Her high school is an emergency Red Cross shelter for these events -- I wonder if they realize the fall play is going on tonight, and if they will be able to work around the already-crowded parking lot?

There are a thousand students hunkered down in the gym at Westmont College, with the fire burning around them. The gym is fireproof and a declared refuge during emergencies; still, if I were the parent of one of those students, I'd be frantic with worry.

A state of emergency has been declared. There are high winds up in the hills, 70 miles per hour and more ("almost hurricane force!" the media keep saying) and it's shaping up to be a long night for the firefighters and other emergency personnel. There are two burn victims at the hospital. This is looking bad.

It has the bizarre name of the Tea Fire, so-called because it started "near the Tea House." This is said blandly by the news reporters, as if we all of course know what the Tea House is. Now, I've been here 36 years and can't figure it out. Unless they mean the little tea house on the grounds of the Botanical Garden? O_o That would be bad.

[ profile] juneb, if you read this -- the area burning is all along the back country drive we took when you visited two summers ago. Remember Mountain Drive? Yeah, there.

*goes back to biting nails*

ETA: oops, didn't mean to get quite so dramatic -- Westmont College isn't engulfed in fire or anything, but there are several small fires on campus and nearby. With luck they'll all get put out.
shiredancer: (Flaming Pentagram by Tiger_Tyger)
Greetings from beneath the smoke cover! We've got a big 'un burning a few miles away in the Goleta foothills. We're pretty sure we're not going to be in any danger even if the winds do pick up, but just to be sure, I've started a little pile of photo albums, important documents, baby videos, etc. If necessary we could be ready to evacuate in about ten minutes, I think. This fire started about 48 hours ago -- that evening I had four teenagers here for a sleepover and they could see the hills on fire directly across from Kidlet's bedroom. Made for an exciting night. At that time it was 50 acres. Now it's 2500. The university where I work is directly downwind from the burning canyon, so I've been living in the smoke and ash for a while now. Today, this evening, it has gotten so weird and strange and freaky -- a dark, sullen, orange and black sky and ash steadily falling everywhere. I took some pictures just now -- I wonder if they'll show at all what it really looks like? Maybe Peter will help me post some.

I hope you all have clearer skies! (You Northern Californios, staying okay?)


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