We pass this burned Oak almost every day on our travels to work and to San Diego. It remains as a testament to the wild fires that plague Southern California seemingly every three to five years. It is striking in beauty, charred bark and is very menacing – almost like it would like to trap you in its tendrils and such you in! During our first wildfire experience, we were isolated in a small community where we live for several days, surrounded by burning hills, unable to leave as the roads were all closed due to sweeping fires fueled by Santa Anna Winds. Electricity was lost, however we had an FM Radio to keep us abreast of developments. Luckily we had provisions, a small Country Store nearby and the BBQ. It was somewhat funny having BBQ when the entire world was seemingly burning all around us! At night the sweeping fires were frightening and at the same time very beautiful as they danced up the surrounding landscapes.
The October 2007 California wildfires were a series of wildfires that began burning across Southern California on October 20. At least 1,500 homes were destroyed and over 500,000 acres (or about 770 mi²) of land burned from Santa Barbara County to the Mexico Border. Nine people died as a direct result of the fires; 85 others were injured, including at least 61 firefighters. The raging fire was visible from space!
Residents were subjected to a mix of mandatory and voluntary evacuations, depending on the projected path of a fire. Hundreds of thousands of residents were notified of evacuations via a computerized Reverse 911 phone call system. While this alert system was mostly effective, many residents in Rancho Bernardo received the calls after they had been driven from their homes. On the other hand, in Carmel Valley, only the northern half was officially evacuated, but a computer error mistakenly sent Reverse 911 calls to the southern half as well. Law enforcement officers also notified residents by driving through evacuation areas. On October 24, 2007, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Kolender stated that the number of people evacuated in San Diego county had exceeded the number evacuated from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina! www.kerstenbeck.com