Of all the things that have gone wrong this summer, I didn’t need this afternoon’s fire in the Berkeley hills:
It started at 5 acres and 3 hours later seems to be under control (at 10 acres). But I was here in 1991 for the Oakland Hills fire and it’s not anything you forget. I’m still nervous on hot days with an east wind. My husband is off backpacking, and there’s just a limit to what I could evacuate in my little car, all by myself. And the real test will be tomorrow – the 1991 fire was supposedly put out the day before, but it wasn’t all gone, and the next day’s stiff winds blew it up into a firestorm.
This one went from a 2 alarm fire to a 5 alarm fire in 3 hours, but I’m not the only one who remembers 1991. The local fire departments dumped resources onto it; last notice I find says it’s moving toward Contra Costa County, behind the Berkeley hills. I drove home from downtown Oakland this afternoon and saw the smoke, and it stopped me in my tracks (metaphorically; I kept driving).
If you get nervous, Karen, you are welcome to come downhill and slum it with us in South Berkeley! I remember the 1991 fire, too. I was pregnant and awkward, but I climbed up on our roof to watch spot fires just beyond the cemetary (and some flareups within.) Scary, all right. There were people trying to break in to houses on our block, where the residents had evacuated.
Thanks for the offer, Sam. Unless the damn thing flares up again tomorrow, I should be OK. In 1991 we were half a block outside the evacuation area.