Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego is Burning

Another California first - a wildfire holiday. I never knew such a thing even existed. All county schools are closed as are many businesses, as people scurry home to save their houses and properties from several raging wildfires. While the coastline is not in danger of wildfire, the entire county and most of southern California is clouded over in thick smoke. White ash has blanketed every outdoor surface like snow and it smells like winter and burning fireplaces, only it's hot and sunny and your eyes burn whenever you step outside.

The good thing is there has only been one casualty and few injuries thus far related to the widespread fire - a fire some are calling the worst in recent history. A lot of credit is due to the preparedness of state and county emergency officials who have been doing an amazing job. Qualcomm Stadium has been turned into an evacution center and is so well prepared, they can take evacuees with pets, even horses! They have to stay in the parking lot of course because their horse butts won't fit into the seats, but still! That's huge. Fortunately, all the animals at the SD Zoo's Escondido Wild Animal Park have been safely evacuated and are out of harm's way.

The bad thing is that hundreds of homes and properties have been destroyed with still more devastation to come. The Santa Ana winds blow hot dry air from the desert with gusts as high as 60 mph so there's little that firefighters can do until the wind dies down. Meanwhile, people who have been evacuated are left wondering whether their homes still stand. One of the local news anchors returned to his neighborhood in an evacuated area, just in time to watch his home burn to the ground on live television. In the telecast, he sadly and dutifully reported "There goes the patio. There goes the garage. There goes the pool..." Multiply his experience by a few hundred.

I'm having technical issues, so instead of a pic, here's a link to a space photo of what these wildfires look like from space. Unfortunately, Mexico - which is where I decided I would go if the fire reached me - also seems to be on fire!

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