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Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Dave!The scary news out of Southern California is really messing with my head... inserting horrifying flashbacks into my brain from the two times I had to face a fire.

The first was around 15 years ago while I was living in Wenatchee. Fire was charging down the mountain towards my apartment complex, and I was running around with a garden hose putting out small fires on my roof and nearby shrubs. Eventually, I was forced to evacuate by the fire department, not knowing whether or not my home would be there when I got back. Turns out it was still there (though everything around it was burned up). I woke up in the middle of the night smelling smoke for years after.

The last time was just three years ago. Since I was blogging then, the experience was documented...

Olalla Fire

Though I once again escaped unscathed, it only added to my fire trauma. To this day, I still wake up smelling smoke and thinking that I'm in the middle of a fire every once in a while.

So when I see what Southern Californians are going through, I can totally sympathize. Been there. Done that. Twice.

Hmmm... guess I'll have to save that entry on spoons I was writing for another time... because right now I am desperately hoping I can get some sleep. Even if I have to self-medicate to get it.

Hopefully my dreams will be smoke-free.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. adena says:

    I remember living in Cali, and there being a huge fire right over the ridge from us. We lived kind-of in a small valley area, and the only way to escape was a country gravel driveway that headed TOWARDS the fire.

    I remember watching the fire lick the top of the ridge, and sitting there in my little valley wondering what would happen if it came rushing towards us. We wouldn’t be able to get out.

    Yet, I sat there and watched it. Fire is transfixing, for some reason.

    Luckily, not too many of them around here in the wetlands.

  2. Hilly says:

    Wow, I am so sorry you had to go through that twice, my friend :). I can only now begin to imagine just how scary that all was for you. Yet still, the fire hasn’t even reached my roof and I am way more freaked than I should be so to think of what you went through….you know how I feel.

  3. Wayne says:

    I’m still an arm’s length away from fear of fire as I still have a fascination of it, likely originated by campfires and no direct negative consequence throughout my childhood or adult life. I can imagine what people are going through, but it’s not my first thought. I still think fire is cool and so incredibly helpful to our high standards of living.

    But I still wanna kick the living daylights out of whoever started this fire.

  4. Suzy says:

    After the 1994 6.8 earthquake, every time I heard a loud noise, I would assume it was another earthquake. It took a year for me to not jump at any loud noise. For a few years I kept an emergency suitcase under my bed to make a quick escape. I feel ya.

  5. Bre says:

    It’s so scary to be facing all of these things! And you’re right – it’s not something that you easily recover from!

  6. NYCWD says:

    I’ve only been to one true wildfire, and it was indeed a terrifying experience.

    These are no longer your ordinary wildfire… these are being considered mega-fires. It makes living surrounded by asphalt more appealing.

  7. RW says:

    Yeah it is too bad you have to go through that still. Who can blame you.

    On the other hand thirty years of abusing alcohol will modify the effects of that somewhat, so if you follow my formula the future looks so much brighter!

  8. Avitable says:

    I went through that in Florida a few years back. It’s some scary shit.

  9. sizzle says:

    no wonder you wake up smelling smoke!

  10. Ugh! This is my second time, also. Far too many friends have been evacuated, one almost lost her home, and another may have lost theirs, still waiting to hear the verdict. It’s a scary time down here in So Cal. Hope this madness ends soon.

  11. sue says:

    I feel for all those people who have to go through this – fire can be very frightening. I’ve been lucky not to have any close encounters. We’ve had corn fields catch on fire and that was scary enough, but I also know what devistation it can bring. About four years ago my parents’ house burned to the ground and they lost everything except the clothes on their backs. It was never determined what did it, the high wind that day combined with their wood fireplace or what.

    I can’t believe some arsonist can torment people so terribly this way. I hope you stay safe.

  12. Catherine says:

    I saw two dangerous fires in person for the first time ever, this very summer: The Griffith Park one and the Hollywood Hills one. The latter was accidental arson set by two boys playing with fireworks. It was set on the Warner Bros. side of the hill (the west end of Mt. Lee, more or less, on the north slope). I live down and off of the the south slope, looking up at the Hollywood Sign side of Mt. Lee.

    From my fire escape, I watched in horror as smoke poured into the sky like liquid, then flames, a whole wall of them, appeared at the crest of the hill and began racing down the hill to my side. I thought, I might be about to watch the Hollywood Sign get roasted like nine enormous novelty marshmallows. And then what?

    Thankfully, is was contained well and quickly. Griffith Park, nowhere near so lucky, although the Observatory still stands thank God.

  13. margalit says:

    I grew up in LA and have been affected by fire myself. My sister’s house burned to the ground years back in a fire. It’s horribly scary to be a kid around such dangerous fires. Especially a kid with asthma. I can still feel the ash in my lungs and the horrible feeling that every breath is just too hard to breathe. Your eyes feel like they have been rubbed raw, your skin feels all dirty and prickly. I just hate thinking about it. I watch the news over and over wondering how the fire personnel are ever going to get all those fires under control.

    Damn the Santa Anas. They really are the devil’s wind.

  14. Laurel says:

    Lived in San Diego for 14 yrs and was lucky to have only gone through two earthquakes and no fires. Discovered today that the apartment in which I lived for the last 6 years that I resided there, is directly across the street from a neighborhood that has burned to the ground. A mere 100 or so yards away. Mother Nature certainly has her own agenda…

  15. SJ says:

    I’m so thankful we didn’t have to evacuate. Many people I know did. It’s been a scary week, and it’s not over yet.

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