Monday, October 22, 2007

The Ride Home

We had only found out this morning that Southern California was having trouble with fire when we turned on the tv for this first time in our hotel. Our ride home from Los Vegas started out calmly enough. We flew until we arrived near Hesperia (in the desert) and noticed these nice, puffy clouds in the distance. That was when we realized that the fires weren't just in Malibu and San Diego. This one happened to be directly next to us. And later.... directly in front of us.

The fire must have jumped the freeway (all 8 lanes).

The fires here in California are enhanced by the Santa Ana Winds, which have very low humidity and come from the eastern desert. The winds were so strong in this area that we saw several (at least 10) semi trucks that had blown over sideways from the gusts. Seriously, they blew over. It was a crazy mess of trucks, trees and ash. Fires can fly with this kind of wind. traffic crawled.
We went through after they reopened the freeway. The air smelled awful and it hurt to breathe. In the picture above, you can see that the ties of the railroad tracks are burning. This abandoned car (below) got caught in the crossfire. Chris has a work friend in San Diego that is currently evacuated.
As of 10pm tonight, it was still 88 degrees and blowing like crazy. We arrived home to a house that was still intact but with trees everywhere and a dog that was covered in ash. It's good to be home.