#62 - Evacuation Red
#62 - Evacuation Red
With all the fires happening on the west coast, it sometimes feels like a matter of time before you get the "Evacuation Red" message on your phone. And it happened yesterday.
The crew had left for the day, the air was pretty clear from the fires hundreds of miles away and I was watering a few plants. I start to notice there are dozens of helicopters relentlessly flying by. Sirens were everywhere but sounded a bit distant.
There's a fire station 2 blocks away and this sounded like miles and miles of distance. Living on a hill in Silicon Valley, the helicopters usually mean someone is flying in from the airport to Moffett Field. From our view, we can see Stanford/Hoover Tower, Moffet, and much of the lower Bay Area. We can also see a lot of hills and dead pine trees in hard to reach areas.
The dryness has also quickened the leaves of oaks and other trees to dry up early and drop leaves everywhere. Hundreds of doves are coming by our own oak tree to shake loose acorns for several families of deer to scoop up.
When I heard the commotion, I searched the internet and to my great surprise, this fire was around the corner and down in the canyon. A massive effort was being made to prevent it from going up the houses and evacuations were ordered. Not the best timing for the ringer on my phone not to be working. I found a message from the city saying "Evacuate Immediately."
So, I try to remember all the warnings of “have a bag packed” and “what to salvage.” My first thoughts were the laptop, phone, and power chords. I had a little more time so I grabbed an extra pair of pants and walked to my car. I called my dad, a retired fireman, and said I was coming over. He played it like a routine and invited me to dinner.
Still I didn't smell any smoke. I saw a couple walking down the street with a baby carriage and calmly told them. My neighbors started coming out one by one. Chris next door has a son who is a fireman. He said it was under control and no need to leave.
I turned on the news which was broadcasting the event and talked about the evacuation orders and the traffic blocks at the streets the city told us to escape through. Hmmmm, I guess I'll go the back route. Still no smoke. Chris said she'd come over if there was another alert to leave. She came to tell me the fire was out -- she heard from her son. I looked at my phone for a confirmation message.
What I got was a second order to evacuate that came after hearing the fire was out. I decided to stay and ride it out. The helicopters and sirens had stopped.
So, I told the crew to stay alert. I'd let them know in the morning what happens. And here I am, writing a blog. All was fine but I am definitely going to get some help raking up dead leaves this week!