You may have heard, there's a little fire burning down south. It was hazy this morning here in the Bay Area.
Yesterday, it was hot, an outgrowth of the weather pattern that made the fire so sudden and powerful so far from us. I decided, having enough of the fire, to get away after work to take a walk at Lake Temescal.
But you can't escape fire there. As I walked along the western shore, I could see a few trees that still had the charring from the Oakland Hills fire 16 years ago this week. Powerful reminder of how close fire can be to where I live and how far reaching its effects.
I thought about all the people that had been fleeing their homes down south and I remembered the stories that S had told me of how, for years after, the city worked hard to control the "wild" cats around Temescal Lake. All the cats that had been abandoned or fled in fright had found shelter in the area and, of course, started breeding. There aren't any left now, but I hope that animal lives are being cared for too.
S told me stories of standing in front of his house and watching Eucalyptus trees only blocks away explode into fire. He had to evacuate one night, but they were finally able to get it under control and his place was still intact.
It's a daunting thing to imagine the sky filled with smoke and flame - to watch everything, but what you were able to grab in the short time you had be destroyed in a few short minutes. Everything is turned upside down.
One last bit of trivia...it's called a fire storm because when a fire whips up big enough it creates its own wind.