Wow! What a crazy weekend it’s been around my house. I live in Santa Clarita, home of the infamous Sand Fire that’s been dominating the news as well as the Southern California skyline for the last 5 days. As of this morning at least 18 homes have been destroyed, 37,000 acres burned and tragically 1 life lost. The fire broke out Friday afternoon as I left my home and it was just a little puff of smoke along the freeway. By the time I returned 3 hours later it had exploded and overtaken an entire mountain side. We watched with dreaded anticipation as it approached our neighborhood over the next 2 days, a living, breathing beast consuming everything in its path. By Sunday afternoon it was raining huge chunks of hot ash down on my home. Fire crews swept in by ground and air and we were forced to evacuate. It’s funny when you take a look around your belongings under these types of circumstances…you realize how little the majority of it matters. We grabbed the important stuff. Kids, dogs, computers, pictures and of course camera gear…that’s it. The rest we left, not knowing if we’d have anything to come home to when this was all over.
This was a surreal experience. It was terrible. It was also exhilarating. In times like this you see the best in people come through. Saturday evening I was picking up a quick dinner and fire crews from Burbank, Pasadena & Glendale departments came in to grab a meal. They must have been exhausted but every one of them had a smile on their face. It was a pretty big group. As they walked through the door all the customers started clapping and gave them a well deserved, rousing ovation. People came up to thank them, shake their hands or give them a pat on the back. One older gentleman told them they were his heroes. Indeed, they are heroes to us all! It was truly moving and I’m not ashamed to admit I was a bit choked up.
Over the next several days I watched these men and women perform extraordinary deeds to save my neighborhood and many others. We stood in a parking lot over looking our block after we were evacuated. Helicopters zoomed low directly over our heads to make precision water drops as flames burned right to the back fences of homes on my street. They knocked down flames that looked to be over 50 feet high! And they saved us. Their efforts and sacrifice put us first, in some cases to their own detriment. Sadly, we learned that 5 of the homes lost belonged to fire fighters. There are no thanks that will ever be enough but we give our sincerest heartfelt thanks anyway.
Today we begin the task of a tremendous clean up and we are grateful for the opportunity, knowing that the fire rages on. Many more families and their homes are still in the danger zone. Our thoughts and our hearts go out to them and we hope that in the coming days they are as fortunate as we have been.