Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Storm

My thoughts are with those that are facing evacuation today in anticipation of mudslides in the foothill areas in Southern California. It's hard to believe it will really rain. The sun is shining very bright and it looks like a beautiful day ahead. The weather people say that by this evening the storm will arrive and continue through the night. The fires that consumed the hillside vegetation last summer are to blame for the mudslides. 

Last summer, you couldn't go outside without being very aware that there were huge fires burning.

Not just one, but 7 different fires.

They burned for weeks.
  This was about 50 miles away from our home.

I can't imagine the stress that the people that live in these burn areas are going through. First, they had the stress last summer while the fires were burning. What would it feel like to pack up only what you can carry in your car, and leave everything else behind? They didn't know if their home would be standing when the fire was over. Many people refused to go. Somehow they felt that they needed to stay behind to protect their property. Evacuations leave a neighborhood vulnerable to thieves and looters. Unfortunately, that can be huge problem. There are always some people waiting to benefit from someone else's crisis. For me, I would probably leave before they asked me to go. As long as I had my husband and Buddy and Lucy, I'd be gone.

Buddy and Lucy

In January, when the rains came, we had seven storms in seven days. Many of the same people were told they had to evacuate again. This time to avoid the mudslides. Some of the residents said, "No, we're not leaving!" It's not surprising that the same people said the same thing when the fires threatened. When I see that play out year after year on TV, all I can say is that I just don't get it.  Every time there is a fire, you see firemen trying to convince people to leave their home when you can see the flames less than a block away. They are usually spraying their property with their garden hose. The emergency workers put their lives on the line most days because of the professions they have chosen. But it is not fair that people who fail to follow evacuation orders, can put the emergency personnel at increased risk.

I was glad to see this morning on the news, that finally, they have made some changes. Regarding future fires and flash flooding, if people choose to ignore evacuation orders, there is now a release form they have to sign. They will be acknowledging that they have been warned, and are choosing to ignore the orders given. Then the city, county and/or state, will not be responsible for losses suffered. All I can say is...It's about time! Too many lives have been lost while they were trying to help people that refuse help. 

To those that will leave, I'm sorry that they are in such a stressful situation. If they don't have family or money to stay in a hotel, it means sleeping on cots in gymnasiums and such, for an unknown time. Also, if they have any pets with them, they can't stay at the temporary shelters. I wonder where they go. Maybe they live in their cars. Who could ever leave a beloved pet behind. And then there's the stress of not knowing what you will find when you get back home.

I'm thinking about them today.

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