October 30, 2007
Rancho Bernardo: The fire this time.
After fifteen days away, I returned to San Diego on Saturday. The whole town, starting inside of the airport terminal, smelled like a campfire, and parts of town still do. My car at the airport parking lot was sprinkled with a brownish ash. I then get home. Mainly, it's what I imagined: random ash deposits every few feet on sidewalks and patios, ashes even in places inside my house, bad visibility, bad brownish air (after a few hours you get a headache, and I still have one), the western and northern edges of Rancho Bernardo thoroughly and "expertly" scorched off some main roads right to the curb, destroyed or partly-destroyed homes, a few police barriers still up, an odd patch work of burned-out areas, and bald reddish mountain sides.
Some people are wearing masks. But most people were and are acting as if nothing happened. I did not expect to see evidence of the demon winds which fanned the fires here; there are unburned branches, pinecones and pine needles everywhere, and they need to be cleaned up. The rich and not so rich in this community of 45,000 lost over 350 homes--some of the "homeless" were picking up mail Saturday at the post office when I got my held mail. Rancho Bernardo will recover, and re-build, of course. But people here will never be the same. RB is populated by a strong, proud and orderly lot, many from conservative regions of Midwestern states, who don't like surprises, ever--from either humans or nature. It is, in an odd way, the End of the Perfection in a model community which over the past 25 years has enjoyed peace, quiet and nothing weird at all. The biggest problem at the moment is air quality. See from the AP "Poor Air From Wildfires A Health Threat".
Posted by JD Hull at October 30, 2007 11:59 PM