Given that most of the Citizens of ClipsNation are based in Southern California, you're all more than aware of the situation. Fires are raging from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. The driest two year period in history combined with extremely high winds have created a perfect fire storm, and firefighters can do little until the winds die down.
As many readers know, I went to Pepperdine University. My father is a retired professor, my brother and sister-in-law both teach in the undergraduate program, and my cousin is a law professor. They all live in faculty housing above the campus in Malibu. As it happens, the ClipperWife, ClipperMax, ClipperZoe and I spent the night at my parent's house Saturday. We awoke at 6 AM to pounding on the door, as campus safety was making the rounds alerting the residents to the fire. I gathered up my family and returned to Long Beach, making our way south on Pacific Coast Highway through thick black smoke, just before the roads were closed. A short time later, my parents, my brother, my cousin - they were all evacuated to facilities on the lower campus. The fire burned to the edge of my brother's house, which overlooks a canyon - but thankfully that's as far as it got. All my Pepperdine family and friends are safely back in their homes at this point. Although fires still burn in the general area, the university community is not in significant danger, partly because the surrounding hills are completely charred, so there's nothing nearby left to burn. They're isolated - every road out of Malibu is closed - but they're safe.
(As an aside, my parents have lived in Malibu for 25 years. This is at least the third time they've been evacuated, but frankly, I lose track. The last time, the fire fighters ran a hose through my brother's house to fight the flames from his balcony. They are all pretty nonchalant about fires at this point, although mom did back her car into a tree as she was leaving Sunday.)
I've been to Malibu Presbyterian Church many times. We always enjoy the midnight services there on Christmas Eve. And it's something of a tradition to see who will be the first to spot the Malibu Castle from the car as we drive to Nana and Papa's house. Sunday, ClipperZoe and ClipperMax watched the TV screen as the church and the Malibu Castle burned to the ground.
Here near the coast in Long Beach, we are relatively safe. There's been no recess at school, no soccer practice because of the smoke in the air, but that's the extent of the impact on us. We have close friends who have lost their vacation homes in Arrowhead. But we have been lucky.
And let's face it, castles in Malibu and second homes in Arrowhead are luxuries. People are losing everything in these fires.
So just a note to say, stay safe Citizens of ClipsNation. The winds are supposed to die down soon. If you need a place to vent, you can do it here.