The northside of San Bernardino, where I live, is no stranger to fire disasters. We were right at the edge of the Old Fire in 2003 and the center of the Panaroma fires that were so destructive Thanksgiving 1980. However, I never expected that we would experience such a widespread fire again, just four short years after the Old Fire.
Here are a few photos that I have taken to share with you.
Monday was the worst day for us in San Bernardino. Sunday surprised us with the strongest Santa Ana winds ever recorded. At times the wind speed reached 100 miles per hour as measured at California State University, San Bernardino, which is just a few blocks from my home. Trees were uprooted, fences fell, and shingles came off our roof.
When I went to pick up my son from his junior high school, I was dismayed to see the Shandin Hills were on fire. His school sits right up against the hills and all the roads to his school were closed. That is a terrible feeling for a parent, but, luckily I found a parking place about a half-mile from his school and ran to the school on foot to meet him as he was let out.
The San Bernardino City schools have been closed since Tuesday and will remain closed the rest of the week because it is just a nightmare trying to keep several hundreds of children safe in these kinds of conditions.
Here are a few more photos of how extensively the Shandin Hills next to my home burned on Monday:
The firefighters did an excellent job of containing the fire to the hillsides only and no structures were damaged in this fire.
San Bernardino has learned the hard way about keeping structures clear of weeds and other flammable material since the Old Fire of 2003.
By Tuesday morning, our Shandin Hills were completely extinguished of all fire, however our local mountains, including the villages of Lake Arrowhead, Green Valley, and Running Springs were all raging with uncontrolled forest fires.
The sky in our backyard looked menancing:
From every direction, all I can see is heavy smoke:
You can't stay outside long, because the smoke quickly burns your lungs, nostrils, and eyes:
Tuesday night had a beautiful harvest moon. My daughter joked that it looked like even the moon caught on fire.
This morning, we awoke to another day of the same thing. Smoke dimming our skies and making it difficult to breathe. However, the sunrises and sunsets always look amazing when filtered through heavy smoke:
The winds have completely died down and now the welcomed sound of firefighting aircraft fills the air.
This afternoon, I got this shot from downtown. You can see the smoke, but it is not nearly as heavy as twenty-four hours ago.
And I was rewarded with one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen in our city:
The Shandin Hills are blackened but we are all safe here:
Thank you to all my Gather friends who have sent encouraging emails to me. I really appreciate hearing from you during this very stressful and scary time.