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sorrow in the big valley

June 10, 2008
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I’ve been cowering indoors for over a week, missing some of the best and lovliest summer days we’re likely to have, trying to get over the horrible disease I contracted (or enabled) during my walk in the wind.

Because the winds have been astounding here lately; we always have high winds here, but these are constant and a cut above. The other night, I suddenly thought that with winds like that, you could really have a serious neighborhood fire that would spread quickly and be very difficult to stop. Normally around here, when you hear about large numbers of house burning, as in Santa Cruz, they’re in wooded areas. But winds like this, even on a run-of-the-mill street, could really create a problem.

Sure enough, I turned on the television this evening, and heard out of the corner of my ear, “fires in northern California, the most homes lost in Stockton…” Stockton? There’s not a forest for a hundred miles around Stockton: a flat, hot, working-class, tract-home-filled valley town. It was absolutely heartbreaking: “Some of these people have been here for decades,” said the reporter, and then pictures of an older man coming home from visiting a friend and finding his house in ruins. Luckily everyone made it out alive, throughout the neighborhood.

I think I heard it started from a grass fire. It could start from anything, I guess. But when I went out this evening to see the space shuttle, and heard my neighbors setting off firecrackers in their backyard (which seems to be their primary form of entertainment year round), this time I was more than irritated; I was angry.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2008 8:49 PM

    We live right next to the (now extremely dry) foothills, so we are concerned.

    • June 12, 2008 5:45 AM

      Normally I wouldn’t think grass fires would be that much of a worry– they burn so fast and then the grass is gone. I hope the wind calms down, although of course that means it will be hot hot hot!

      • June 12, 2008 6:47 AM

        Actually, there was a grass fire today at the golf course, and it burned one house down and threatened several others. And that’s about 5 minutes away from where I live. :(

        • June 12, 2008 7:02 AM

          Oh my gosh! I’ve been hiding out in the house for days, and when I finally slunk out this evening and looked around, there was this huge blanket of smoke all over the north and east; there’s something else going on in the Delta too, I think…
          I hope your house stays good and safe.

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