Orange County Fires: too close for comfort

Update on 10/23/07: the fires have moved south of us today. My aunt's house was spared, although 100 ft. flames came within a few yards of her home. Some good friends of mine in San Diego are still evacuated from their home and unsure of their area's status. Air quality is still extremely poor. Soot and ash everywhere. Pray for families in San Diego and the mountains who are losing their homes and businesses.

You may have seen it on the news today, but Southern California is experiencing terrible Santa Ana winds and rampant wild fires. My aunt's house is being threatened by encroaching flames. She watched flames come down the hill and right up to to her home before being stopped by fire fighters. James' first grade teacher had to evacuate her home this morning.

Where we are (about 3 miles north of the fire) the smoke and wind (up to 90 mph!!) are making it unbearable to be outdoors. Jewel's allergies and asthma have kicked into high gear and she's home from school today as we try to keep her breathing under control. All the windows are closed, the air filter is going full-blast.

Our county has been declared a state of emergency. We are safe and our home is in no immediate danger because we are in the middle of our city. But the hilly areas and homes in the nearby foothills have been under voluntary and mandatory evacuations this morning.

We lost electrical power for awhile this afternoon while the winds raged outside.

To top it off, we learned that the fires closest to us were arson related! Last night, during the worst of the winds, someone went out and started the fire in three separate places!

Trees are down, power outages are widespread, homes in Malibu and the mountains have burned, and the winds are expected to continue until tomorrow.

On days like this, I think snow days wouldn't be so bad. I could handle snow. At least I would be able to breathe.