Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yorba Linda Burning

Just a quick post to let friends and family know that we're fine. I don't know how many of you have heard about the fires here in Yorba Linda, California. They are not far from my home. (The picture above is from yesterday, looking east at about noon.)

The fires began yesterday morning. I was teaching a freemotion machine quilting class at Cranberry Quiltworks. My husband was involved in an earthquake drill with Church members, just hours before the fire broke out. A lucky coincidence!

One of the girls at Cranberry got a phone call at about 11am and left immediately as the fire was on her street in East Yorba Linda. I was not even aware that there was a fire and then I looked out the window to the north of us and could see the billowing smoke. Then I looked the east and there was smoke there too. I decided to cut the quilting class short so my students could get on the freeways and head home before they shut them down. Sure enough two freeways were closed just a few hours later.
I went home. My husband, as an amateur ham radio operator, was able to get in contact with many of the church members in our area. There are many ham radio operators in this area in prepartion for earthquakes. We have learned during earthquakes that the land-line phones go out, as well as cell phones. Now we've learned that ham radios are a great resource during this kind of disaster too!

We have been surrounded by these two fires to the east and to the north of us. About a mile away, a mobile home park (Lake Park) was evacuated, but not our neighborhood. I have things packed and ready, just in case we need to leave though. Daughter #2 and her husband had to evacuate from their apartment. They could see the flames! The fire was so close to them and a mandatory evacuation was imposed. Luckily, their complex did not sustain any damage.
One of our church buildings was used as an evacuation center. One of the bishops (pastor) on the east side of town lost his home. Such a heartache, but he and his family are safe. Many other church members and friends who live in that area sustained some damage to their homes, but miraculously their homes were spared.
(Above: Looking east from my home.)
(Above: Looking from the inside to the southwest from my front windows.)

(Above: Looking to the west at the smoke from one of the fires only a few hours after it started.)

(Above: Looking to the east from my backyard.)
(Above: Looking to the south from our home.)

Today (Sun) we are still glued to the television and monitoring the situation, but the winds have calmed down and they are getting control of the fire. It seems to be concentrated in the town of Diamond Bar now. Altogether, these fires have burned many thousands of acres in LA County, Orange County, and Riverside County. 22,000 people have been evacuated and 180 homes have been seriously damage or destroyed.
Living in earthquake country, we try to be prepared. I am glad those same drills and preparation has helped with this disaster. You never know what disasters will hit. I am so grateful for my husband and his willingness to help others. He has really been involved in helping and accounting for all the church members in this area. And my BabyBoy has been such a help too! It has also taught us to always be prepared...for anything!
I will try and update you again soon. Take care.


Tina said...

Vivian, I know what you're going through. I hope they will be able to get the fires under control! It's such a scary and unnerving time. It's good to be prepared in these types of situations so that you can have peace.

Deb said...

Vivian, glad to know you are safe and sound so far....hope things continue to improve. We too, here in south Florida try to stay prepared...for hurricanes, and now we are coming into our fire season also.So far, no problems... high winds and 30% humidity forecast for this week, but hopefully no sparks. Stay safe!

Feather on a Wire said...

Scary. I grew up in Australia and was in Portugal a few years ago when they had fires.
I'm hoping some decent rain comes and the wind dies down completely.

erica e said...

glad you are safe! how scary.

Summerset said...

Very scary. Glad you're safe and have a system to help others.

MYRA said...

Glad you are safe, a pray for rain to quell the situation, and for those who are badly affected. It has been on our daily National News program.
I think your method of notifying people is something we should adapt up here for our increasing numbers of tornadoes that seem to be happening more every year.
God bless and take care...