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My Mountains are Burning

24 May

Santa Cruz Mountains Fire Originally uploaded by michael cinque

Thankfully, I and mine are safe. No worries about us.

Thursday morning, on the radio, there was a comment in the traffic report about a fire at the Summit near Hwy 17 that was about 700 acres. No where near me and nothing to worry about. Later in the day, however, one of my fellow teachers had the news on and it was clearly worse — 2000 acres burned and 0% containment. It was windy and that was scary. The only good news for me was that the wind was blowing away from our town. Later Thursday night, I drove down to Santa Cruz. I heard on the news that a nearby school district (where I taught summer school for two years) was closing all their schools on Friday due to the smoke. I could see nearby Loma Prieta (a mountain and the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake) — it was pretty much where the fire started and it looked like a volcano with smoke roiling out of the top of it. Thankfully, I stayed out of the smoke. On the news Thursday night, they said it was 3200 acres and 10% contained.

Friday, we woke up wondering what the day would bring. At school, before 9:00, I had to escort a student to the office (don’t ask!) and it was insanely smokey. Looked like the picture above but instead of looking across a few miles, I was looking at our surrounding mountains. After the 3 minute walk, I had to use my asthma inhalers. We were worried. Thankfully, for us, the wind shifted again and our air cleared up. We could see the smoke and smell it for the rest of the day but it wasn’t thick in the air, thank goodness.

The fire continues to grow despite huge efforts by fire fighters. Lots of property and homes lost. The news I read this morning say it was probably caused by someone burning debris and leaving it still smoldering. In other words, it was caused by stupidity.

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