We got the call at about 11 p.m. “Kathy, get ready”. We got out of bed and ran to the garage to check it out. Right there, right now… get out. Luckily we had the generator on and I got the call. Otherwise, I may not be here writing. SCE had turned the canyon utilities off hours before and those with generators spread the word. In hind sight… that alone freaks me out when I think of it. Here we also have a very active “Canyon Watch” working the roads and dirt roads for various reasons on any given day. I think that helped spread the news too.
We have a plan. It worked. Except that I didn’t plan on stopping for others loading livestock. My fault because I should know better of that routine and that is priority. So when we drove off, I got waylaid behind and by the time I could go, I could not see anymore due to the swirl of ashes and smoke and the darkness. So I turned around and followed the FD and horse trailers back home to my neighbors. There we waited out 7 days of fire hell. There was only one boss that night of December 2nd, and that was the fire.
Most of us were damaged. None of us in our neighborhood lost our homes. Some lost out-buildings and all lost property of some degree.
Behind our hill is Williams Canyon. Houses were lost along with livestock, family pets and living quarters. All was so tragic and terrifying because the winds were at it and out of control. It swept through high speed and hit everywhere including Limestone Canyon again. It seemed endless.
The Firefighters spent the nights in our driveways and boy we were grateful. I learned how to man my firehose via my neighbor and learned how to let my shoulders down and relax when the FD was on the property. They worked their asses off. There’s no other way to put it. We had OCFD, Ladera Ranch, Monrovia and Santa Barbara parked and running around.
It has just been today that I can breathe better. It rained slightly last night. Just a bit, but enough to sit the ash down and take some of the smell away. I guess having masks on hand is a good thing for fires too.
So, what started it? That is unsure at this point. A house fire they say. There are a couple of “rumors” but not worth repeating until validated. I can state truthfully that SCE had a good hand in us not being able to communicate to authorities that the fire was out of control. They turned off the canyon’s electric utilities hours before because of foreseen winds. When they do that, which is often here more lately, ATT and Verizon follows suit. Therein lies… NO communication. So the fire was spent swirling until it could be radioed in. Which I understand is what happened. People are angry and tired of it and SCE has made it more dangerous for residents.
When I say radioed in, we have a repeater system here for back up and locals. Unfortunately that burned to the ground almost immediately. As of yesterday, a new one is up. During the past couple of fires, having that has been a blessing. Hearing others giving heads up on the location of fires, etc. has been the only communications most of the time and those of us that have them rely on them. So when this fire hit, we were all blacked out.
The County did us no good. They had road blocks, which can be good by not letting non-residents in, but can be terrible for not being able to get supplies. There was only one place to get out and call and soon they moved the blockade line to a point where that was unreachable. No one cared. No one.
Today I am considering many things including getting more involved in my area. I might as well. I don’t ride too much anymore and I do some things. But just being involved will be a first step to who knows what. Since COVID we have been locked up so travel isn’t on the plate until, well… who knows. But in order to stay here, involvement is a must.
Some pics are still yet to be uploaded. I loaded them on my Flickr account. In the rush of things not many were taken. I am surprised I got these.
Update on Sheckyville. We will be okay.
#FOTD – Brush