26 October 2007

Sunset on the fires

Sunset on the fires, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

As the sun was setting this evening I had to go outside and shoot these photos. It is evidence that all is still not well in the neighborhood. Many news reports tell of evacuees returning to their neighborhoods. Well, not all are. Some still have to wait a bit longer. The firefighters are doing their level best, yet the winds and fires still rage on.

Mt. Palomar still burning

The smoke seen above is from the Mt. Palomar fire burning still out of control. I keep thinking of all the wildlife running to and fro, trying to outrun a madman. It is terrible indeed.

Now for my rant. I have seen a bit of criticism of the way these fires were responded to and how they've been fought. Until you've been on the fireline, I suggest you step back a bit and realize what these guys do. The temps in SoCal have been in the high 80s and 90s. Add that to severe winds and heat from flames and a hundred pound protective suit worn while trying to save a strangers property. Sure they signed up for it, but they didn't sign up for the heckling and second guessing. Stop it.

I especially would like to underscore the need to evacuate when told to do so. Many people think it is okay to stay behind and "save" their property. Think again. When you do have to leave in a hurry, you will impede forward progress of firefighters. They'll be having to worry about your safety, pulling them off task of fighting a fire storm to protect you. And then the worst happens. You die. Some poor firefighter has to come upon your charred remains and deal with them. Firefighters are human, they do what they do, put themselves in harms way to save lives. It is emotionally scarring to have to deal with the death of any person. Dead bodies are not fun. They take their toll on the human psyche. Don't ever think that the work these people do is shrugged off as all in a days work. It is not that easy. Stress is a constant companion. Next time you are asked to evacuate, do so. It may actually be the best way to help these guys out.