2003 October -- Fires and Halloween

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Around 6pm we noticed a plume of smoke out in the hills. By 11pm, there was an orange glow in the distance. By 1am we could see something like this from our front porch and started to pack up! Size 11kb We spent what was left of the night at a hotel "way" down in Poway, thinking that would be far enough away. The next morning this was the view from the parking lot looking directly towards Ramona. By checkout time, we noticed that the hills near the hotel were starting to go, so we packed up and moved to a hotel even further. Size 29kb
"Daddy, I smell moke" Size 39kb Muir's had enough of smoke and fire... and none of us have had enough sleep! Size 62kb
Driving back into the Estates, we saw this power pole that almost survived. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, when asked if he thought his legs were too long "Well, I think they're just right... they reach from my body to the ground." Size 77kb Less than a mile from our home, this picture illustrates a consistent theme throughout the estates -- the green belts burned (notice the foreground and hills in the background) but the firefighters were able to save almost all of the houses in between! Size 80kb
Unfortunately, a few of them didn't survive. Size 63kb So, I was sitting at the end of Gunn Stage road about 1/2 mile from the house trying to pick up messages on my cell phone when this CDF guy walked up, knocked on the window and asked me to please move my vehicle. Next thing I knew, this helicopter landed on the street to pick up two CDF guys and take them somewhere. Fortunately Muir and Larkin were in the car at the time so they got to watch. The CDF guys even waved to the kids as they were taking off. Size 45kb
The first day of the fire, there were no planes available to help down here. By the second full day, Ramona airport was hopping! Size 53kb Muir points to a DC4 tanker. Size 39kb
Muir stands in front of our favorite airplane, the OV-10A spotter aircraft. Size 46kb Oh, by the way we're now a three-prius family, at least until we find a buyer for my old one. Size 64kb
This is the view from our front porch. The fire burned up the hill across the street and claimed one structure. Somehow, not a single twig in our yard was burned. Size 65kb I've never seen a cat riding a horse before. Size 62kb
Thanks to Aunt Jannie, we had an awesome Dinosaur for Halloween. Size 46kb The family visits the next door neighbors. "No candy for us, thanks!!!" Size 36kb
Susan loves her owl. Size 31kb Muir and his tail, Larkin and her inseparable Woobie. Size 51kb
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I learned how to make these spiders watching Martha Stuart when the networks finally decided the fires weren't interesting any more and returned to their regular programming. Size 32kb Tired of her cat outfit, Larkin tries being a big-footed harmonica player instead. Size 31kb