Friday, May 8, 2009

a state of emergency- Friday update

Suddenly we don't feel very good about leaving. Another devastating wildfire has come to Santa Barbara, this is the third major wildfire in nine months. Yesterday was exhausting, the heat overwhelming, our temps were in the high 90's and the winds, those notorious winds, whipped the flames through passes and canyons and into residential areas.

When the last bit of blue was covered in an orange red haze the energy changed completely. People came out of their houses standing together watching, silent. Power was out most of the day, even cell phones. That complicated things,everyone was trying to find out information, road closures, evacuation areas. It seems like everyone knows someone who needed help.

I was standing outside my work when my daughter drove up. Her ex was going to pick up the kids for his day. I don't know why they'd chosen this place but I didn't have time to ask because I was more worried about my 2 grandbabies. Their little faces were hot and flushed and worried! My daughter had gotten them frozen yogurts to cool them down and it did help. But I remembered a trick from when my kids were little, I found two cloth napkins and soaked them in cold water. I showed them how to wrap it around their necks or drape it over their heads or even wipe their little faces for comfort. They liked this alot. Whew.

Then their Dad drove up. He lives in the direction of the fire. My daughter begged him to reconsider letting the kids stay with her, where it is safe. He insisted it is HIS day and he can take care of his own kids. So they drove off heading towards that big smoke. While the two parents talked I reminded the children to use their napkins. They both smiled and nodded yes. My daughter was on the verge of tears and I honestly can't say what I was feeling. Helpless. That's it, so helpless.

Almost exactly a half hour later I got a phone call from my daughter, she was out of breath, the Dad had called he was just ordered to get out, his entire neighborhood was under immediate evacuation. She could hear Sadie crying in the background. I said I'd be right there to go with her and she said she was already on the freeway, almost there. She'd decided to go up and get the kids anyway, she wasn't going to listen to him. She told me when she got there the school across the street was being used as a helicopter landing pad and the noise was deafening. What a scene that must have been. Luckily the Dad agreed it was best the kids went with their Mom and they all got out of there safely.

We spent the night waiting to see if our help was needed, either from family or friends or The Red Cross. We are asked not to come out unless we get a call. My husband is certified in First Aid and CPR and I am certified with CERT, Community Emergency Response Team. My phone is registered with reverse 911 , so we kept checking emails for any new news.

As devastating as it is, houses are just houses, but the people, all the brave firefighters and the helpless animals are what I'm praying for right now.

♥ love, lori


May 8, Friday morning update- Thank you Everyone for all your prayers and wishes, I don't have the words to express what this means to me. Thank you.

Last night was surreal. To quote officials, " All hell broke loose". The fire has spread on all perimeters. 18,000 people were evacuated last night, that's in addition to the thousands that are already out, now over 30,000 people. This morning 6,000 more are being evacuated in Montecito as the fire moves southwest. Redcross shelters are at capacity.

We watched the fire all day yesterday, one eye on the news and another on the smoke and flames. After work we all needed a break so my Husband and son went for a surf. I went to the pool to swim laps. We planned to meet for dinner later. Sitting there at the restaurant trying to talk about something other than the fire, I looked at my phone which was blinking away. I had it on silent (always at restaurants) I had 4 missed calls. My daughter. Oh, she'll have to wait I thought, she calls all the time. Then a text came : CALL ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!! So I did. She was near tears, there was an extreme emergency that had developed right in the time we were away from the news! A firestorm had appeared on the ridge right above Chucks parents! She said Call Them, They are evacuating that whole area immediately. OhMyGod. I call and hear my sweet Mother-in-laws voice, all calm and unaffected. I am trying to tell her what I know and to leave now. Chuck could not wait for my reasoning, he took the phone from me and Shouted to his parents LEAVE NOW. They were waiting, like so many, especially the elderly, for the knock on the door, or a bullhorn, a formal invitation to go. But officials were warning over and over, that may not come, in most cases will not come, you are on your own. They tell us, if you feel threatened, Leave. And if you plan to leave, go early. So you won't get trapped. They said they'd go north, they would call us when they arrived at their hotel. It was slow going, we waited, picturing them driving alone, each in a car, packed to the brim with their belongings. Police escorts down the hill, barricades, traffic exodus out of town. We finally got the call after 11pm. They were safe.

This morning the fire marches on.


  1. We are so worried for you! I can't believe this is happening again in this area! We will be watching the news...

    Love and prayers heading your way.

  2. Oh Lori, I've wondered about that fire so close to you. You have good wishes going your way.

  3. Oh God Lori how awful!!!
    Men can be such arrogant twits!!
    Lots of love and hugs

  4. Wow, that sounds so terrifying. I've never been in that situation but I can imagine how hard this is on you, your loved ones and on the families that are in danger.
    You are right, a house is just a house.
    Your ex-suninlaw's ego behaviour is incomprehensible! I am glad your grand kids are okay and safe now.
    MEN! GRRR!
    Well, I wish you strength and good luck! Stay safe!

  5. Oh Lori - I pray for the safety of everyone.

  6. You must have been so worried and I'm so relieved that your grandkids are safe. I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Take care!

  7. Darling Lori,
    the idea of your daughter's babies driving off in the direction of the fires made me shiver. Glad they're with their brave mama now. They must be in shock, poor souls. What was he thinking? Nonna Lori's wet rags were a stroke of genius. And a good momentary distraction, I bet.

    I am very worried for you. This can't all be happening again. I'm watching CNN as I type this.

    My prayers, my love and positive energy coming to you and your loved ones, the animals and the brave people of your area in this horrible moment of Natural disaster.

    Be safe.

  8. Lori Ann, what a difficult time. Why do people fight over children? They are not property...and the poor hot children...they have to experience so much stress. My heart breaks for all of you. You have raised a strong daughter. How proud you must be.

    I hope the wildfires end soon. Yesterday, I heard on the news that the fire control team was hopeful about getting it under control. I pray that it is out soon.

    May you all feel cooling temperatures soon and NO wind. Much love to you and your loved ones.

  9. Thank you so much everyone for all your prayers and good wishes. Unfortunetly it continues still. I talked to a friend about 30 minutes ago and she's evacuating now. They waited as long as they could.
    The winds have calmed a bit, but the sundowner hour is approaching. We just got another warning re air quality but it is not so bad here. we are lucky we have very little smoke and ash at the moment.
    My daughter let the kids miss school today and they are right now enjoying a little time at the beach! I'm so glad after yesterday!
    love, lori

  10. How dreadful, hope everyone stays well.

    Wizz :-)

  11. Your post brought me to tears. Mostly the part about your daughter not being able to keep the children with her. I am mother to a little one and I wouldn't want to be in that situation.
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Oh, Lori! I just woke up to find this post! How awful, I just felt so much fear and anger as I read about the doodlydoos driving away from K.and you. What a swearword!
    Sending many prayers and healing light to people and the the poor defenceless little animals.When are you meant to be leaving?

    All my love and prayers to you all, Natsy

    P.s. My word verification was fixed.

  13. 1, damn fires, just as we come out of the season, the worst season ever for wildfire, you enter it. sigh. you know that i absolutely, completely understand the emotions associated with fire season and the devastation it creates in every aspect of the community. Now it is my turn to send you cooling breezes....

    2/ you also know that i completely understand the 'ex' sydrome....big sigh...why do they do that? i am so glad the kids are safe and happy, and your daughter is fantastic and so are you.

    I love you so much. stay safe. your kids are smart and they will stay safe while you are know they will, because YOU RAISED THEM TO BE SMART, INDEPENDANT THINKING INDIVIDUALS.

    kisses for you Lori

  14. Hi via the Black Box.

    I hope everything works out for you. Good safe.

  15. Hi beautiful Lori...
    Here in Australia we know exactly what you are experiencing and wish you all well.
    Big love to you your friends and family.
    Thinking of you xxx Ribbon

    PS word verification for today is

  16. oh goodness, i can't even imagine. i wish you, your family and friends, the firefights and all the animals much safety.

  17. Oh dear god!Thats awful.I am praying for everyone's safety.

    Love ♥

  18. Oh dear, yes I was thinking about you all too....xx

  19. Lori we have the same troubles here in Southern BC every summer (actually there is one burning west of me at the moment smoky haze everywhere).

    My thoughts are with you and your family. With everyone in the area.
    It is so terrifying to think of the helplessness in the face of such a driven element as fire. Nothing stands in its path it simply must run its course. I've been on evacuation alert before myself.

    Blessing to you and yours Lori. Stay well.


  20. Thinking of you xxxxxxxxxxxx

  21. Oh dear :( thats sad I hope everyone is okay.

  22. Sending lots of good thoughts to your community...

  23. oh my word - i cant believe it - fires AGAIN! I hope you are all keeping safe? will someone stay in your house while you are away? sending protective bubbles to you all xx

  24. I am so worried! The fires are the one thing I must admit, that I don't miss about Southern California...
    I am glad to hear that the kids didn't have to stay with their dad!
    I am praying that the fires will cool down and that you and your family and friends will be safe.

  25. Lori, that is hard.

    Your poor heart when you saw your little grandchildren. I can see it all know, trying to smile, and make them feel better and safe. When you don't feel that way at all.

    Oh Lori.....

    Those fires and those pictures sure tell a story.

    I feel it now. We always hear fires but you just don't get the impact. If they put your post on every news channel everyone would understand.

    For only the kids to be safe.

    Love Renee xoxo

  26. Thank heavens that your daughter got her children back, how frightening for you all.
    Hope that the fires get under control fast.
    Is it putting pressure on you to stay now?

  27. Hi Everyone, thank you again, your wishes and love are swirling around that fire right now, putting it out. I'm sure of it. The worst part is we are way too early for fire season, this is going to be a long year.
    My 23 year old and 18 year old will stay in the house, with good support from our neighbors. We've gone over evac plans with them if it should come this far, down by the beach.But,it's going to be contained soon, I just know it.
    With much love, Lori

  28. I am watching and checking the news all day, thinking of you and your family. I pray all will be okay. Thank goodness you have all the people out of harms way, but I feel so bad about all the animals and homes being lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  29. GODSAKES LORI DARLIN'! it looks and sounds terrifying...and SO GLAD the grandkids came back to you and their mama...i really hope the fires are controlled SOON SOON. take VERY GOOD CARE angel! sending you love and thoughts. XXX j

  30. Dear Lover, thank you thank you thank you. Last night a black bear was spotted. so frightened. running. god.

  31. Are Chuck's parents ok, Lori? This is horrible. I had a hard time falling asleep last night after reading your post. I had somewhat of a bad day at work and thank God I scheduled a post, because I don't feel like writing, reading or doing much. I just wanted to check on you, and then just crawl into bed, roll up into fetal position and sleep it all off.

    Now the image of that sweet elderly couple, driving alone scared and fragile made my heart feel heavy.

    I can imagine how part of the enthusiasm for the upcoming Africa trip has deflated, and what a terrible shame that is, because you were so wonderfully excited.

    But as you say, the flames WILL be tamed. It will be alright soon.

    Be safe and chin up, ok?

    Ciao my sweet sweet friend.

  32. thank you for taking the time to update us Lori... that's very kind of you.
    Great to read that everyone is safe.
    Take care and I hope rest is around the corner for you all.

    x Ribbon

  33. Dear Love, thank you so much for sending those prayers and for caring so much.Thank you.

    Rosaria, thank you too, I know am speaking for all of S.B. when I say thank you for those wishes.

    Janet, it was stressful, hopefully the kids will remember just the yougart!

    Thank you Michaela, oh we could really use you here, there are so many horses at the animal shelter!

    Thank you so much Bhavana.

    Aden, I'm so glad that day is over.Thank you for the good wishes and thoughts.

    Lola, my sweet friend. Your prayers are arriving on cooler ocean breezes, thank god for the marine layer. Thank you so much for your beautiful heart.

    Dear Cynthia, I am so grateful for your prayers and love,thank you dear friend.

    Thank you Shepherd.

    Hi Jen, thank you for stopping by, i really appreciate your words of support.

    Oh Natsy, you've just gotten over these horrible fires. And now you have to hear about ours. Thank you so much for your prayers, i sent you a mail ok?

    Michelle, you know, I knew you would. thank you for the blessed words,they are in my heart and will def help when we take off. Ilove you too.

    Fred, it's so nice of you to drop in, even under these dismal circumstances. I hope you'll find lots of good friends here.

    Dear Ribbon, there is alot of comfort in those words. Our papers had so much praise for Australian's and firefighting. Thank you sweetheart.

    Thank you Bodaat, It's a blessing to have friends like you.

    with much love,

  34. Dear Chaitra, thank you so much.

    Katherine, it goes on,the worst may not be over yet. aggg.

    Dear Meags, you said it well,sometimes it must run its course. Our weather is non cooperative. So scary. I hope your fire is contained as well. Thanks sweetie.

    Thanks so much Tam. We're all praying for the fires end soon.

    Dear Sammi, yea everyones ok, just hoping for it to end soon.

    Thank you Diana, we appreciate it. Very much.

    I know Val, again. We cant belive it either. It's really not even fire season yet, well, i guess it is now. I'll send you a mail.

    Thank you Tulsa, I don't blame you, wildfires and earthquakes. I would not miss at all.

    Dear Renee, def not something i would want to repeat. Fire is still going but at least my kids are away from it now.

    Mandy, yes the fires are still going and yes it is making us completely stressed about going. I am praying alot.

    Dear Love, yes, so far no lives lost as far as we know. There is such a feeling of helplessness though. Thank you so much for the words of support.

    Janelle,thanks honey. We are glued to the news praying for some kind of containment. Not yet, but soon, it will come, i'm sure of it.

    Lola, chin's up ☺ trembly smile too. i sent you a mail love, don't be sad ok?

    Much love to you Ribbon. you make me smile.

    thank you lovely friends, you have made a terrible time easier to take with all your thoughtful words and kind wishes. Thank You so much. LOVE.Lori

  35. Lori Ann, I've been watching the news here in Ireland hoping that it will all be over so you won't have to worry too much about your family's safety while you're away. I just wanted you to know that I'm still here as much as I can be for you. I'm sending my prayers and good wishes to you all.vateds

  36. Oh Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. A friend's daughter & her family are some of the 30,000 evacuated. They are in a hotel somewhere. We await news of them. Good luck. It is so terrifying. Thankfully you & yours are safe.

  37. Aden, I am so completely touched by your words. We are so stressed, not feeling good about anything at the moment. We have offered our home for evacuation. Down here by the beach we are safer. But I guess you never know. Thank you so much my friend.

    Hi Lizzy, and welcome, i am so sorry we have to meet under this stressful time, but thank you for coming over. If your friends need a place to stay, please email me. We will make room.

    xxxx lori

  38. Lori darling girl - omg, how utterly terrifying. I send every last particle of love and hope and prayer - for you, for your family, for the people who have been injured and those who may have lost their homes. Stay safe, precious Lori times five.

  39. Oh my gosh, I am so out of the loop with news. I had no idea this was happening! What a terrifying 2 days you've had! I hope all your family and friends get out safely. I'm glad everyone has gotten out so far. I will remember you in my prayers.


xoxo lori