By Fred Owens
Thirteen days of smoke and ash. Containment is up to 35 % but high winds are forecast for the weekend. The high winds are what we fear, blowing embers up to a half mile and starting new fires -- that might happen or might not.
They have a good evacuation system. They blast an emergency message to every cell phone in the vicinity of the area to be evacuated. Your cell phone starts squawking like a wounded duck and you get a text message from the Sheriff saying that if you live north of Highway 192 and east of Mission Canyon Road, then you better pack up and leave.
That's the voluntary warning. The mandatory warning might or might not come later. That's when they come and knock on your door and say we can't force you to leave, but we're not coming back to save you.
Fortunately, most of the people just leave ahead of time. Let the fire fighters be the heroes. Let the rest of us be grateful for their effort.
A special note is that we lost one fire fighter. Hopefully this will be the only fatality. His name was Cory Iverson, age 32, up from San Diego, left a wife and daughter age 2. They are expecting a baby in the spring. We saw the cops and firefighters all lined up on the highway waiting for the hearse to pass by. That was yesterday,
More facts, and some I have repeated. 252,000 acres, 13 days, 8,400 fire fighters, 80 bulldozers and 32 helicopters, uncounted fire engines and trucks.
They fight it. Never head on. When the fire is raging and the winds is strong, they drop back, but when the wind dies and the flames rise straight up, they move in.
Even the backfires are huge on this fire, Yesterday they deliberately burned over 3,000 acres to deny fuel to the onrushing conflagration.
I get fire news from our daily newspaper the News-Press, from Noozhawk on the Internet and from KEY-TV.
At home we are passing the time, staying indoors for the most part. Laurie is writing Christmas cards.