Near CA wildfires & evacuation possibility last weekend…major freak out

Hi everyone! I missed days of blogging this past week. But it’s been hard to sit down to write during the height of California’s wildfires blazing near our home. The fires sparked around the bay area from over 12,000 lightning strikes that struck 2 weekends ago. It has destroyed more than a one million acres of land, many homes and structures, wildlife, and even the loss of people’s lives.

The lightning sounds and lights jolted me awake in the middle of the night. Dry lightning with rumbling sounds are new weather phenomenon for us in CA, so I thought it was a very real-like dream. But when it didn’t stop at one or two of those lightning strikes, I realized this may be the day the world ends.

Those bolts sparked wildfires in different cities, which were exacerbated by the wind and blazing temperatures. The next day the sky turned brown and orange; smoke smell lingered stagnantly outside. It seemed like the prelude to a nature horror movie; blazing temps, smell of smoke, people wearing masks, and stagnant brownish-orange air shrouding the sun’s bright rays.

The extent of the fires didn’t register until my neighbors updated me via text about possible evacuation orders. Our area was under Red Flag Warning from early Sunday morning to Monday afternoon. It hit close to home when I realized the fires could reach us if the wind speed and direction suddenly changed. The CAL Fire map updates lit up red and orange in many areas; all you could do is zoom into your neighborhood and pray that it stays colorless.

Wednesday evening 8 p.m. from the passenger seat

The Redwoods state park was initially reported destroyed with flames torching the trees up to its crown, but thankfully not all of it was burnt down and people were not hurt. The nature center and office were burnt however. ugh. I read these trees can regrow and many of them have survived past fires; it’s still awful that trees who have withstood time for 1-2 thousands of year fell. I recently posted our outing to this park and was in awe of the uniqueness of the trees and its grandness. It’ll take many years for them to grow back to its glory.

This is the first time I’ve packed bags for evacuation. I started packing 11 p.m. and finished around midnight. I could’ve organized more effectively, but the kids kept following me around asking why I was packing and where we were going. Elliot must’ve felt my stress and released it through non-stop talking the next day. He talked nonstop and asked endless questions; no quiet moment. His verbosity was unusual, and to check if my observations were accurate, I texted Chris in Korean, who was sitting right next to me on the couch, to ask if Elliot seemed out of sorts. He agreed.

We couldn’t take the chance of texting in english in case Elliot jumped on one of us and wanted to sneak read our texts about him. I can already imagine tears and him hiding in the closet clutching his blankies. (I usually take lots of care to help them handle emotions, but this day I needed to double check with Chris that his talking was more than usual. It was a lot of talking and asking questions). I don’t think Ellis had a particular reaction; she just kept to herself digesting all the commotion.

Lovely surprise at my doorstep from my Bible study girlfriends. Thank you for these blooms!

For a few days, sleep was erratic and nerves on edge. Possibility of another lightning strike from Sunday evening to Monday afternoon made me simultaneously lethargic yet mentally vigilant to make quick decisions if evacuation were to happen. This led to multiple Thankfully, no onslaught of lightning strikes and the Red Flag Warning was cancelled hours earlier than previous schedule. Best anticlimactic news ever.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  ~ Psalm 56:3

I’m thankful for God’s hedge of protection around our neighborhood and city; also, thankful for the firefighters, emergency personnel, leaders, and many more who are working countless hours to contain the fires. During a live FB update, a fire commander mentioned monitoring “fire behavior.” Seems so obvious that fire is an active force that reacts to certain conditions and materials, but it didn’t click in my mind till then.

Although I’m thankful that the fires did not cross over to our neighborhood, it’s heartbreaking that so many have suffered personal losses and of loved ones. These are fears turning up in nightmares. ugh….unimaginable how difficult it will be to cope. God help us all!!

2020 is a dramatic year: first COVID-19, which is still ongoing, and now the wildfires. Whew, this year is stretching all of to the limit. But I am choosing to trust God’s will and His supernatural peace to guide us through the experience. That’s a frightful thing because God can ask of me more than I think I can.

I hope wherever you are that you stay safe and out of harm’s way!! So many life obstacles this year that keeps all of us hyper vigilant. But God can…

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27

At the Redwoods. I’m sauntering way behind my 3 peeps; taking my sweet old time taking pictures while Chris takes care of the kids. A big perk when he accompanies us on outings.
Running forward to brighter things.

21 thoughts on “Near CA wildfires & evacuation possibility last weekend…major freak out

  1. I am so glad that you and your family are safe. I cannot even imagine the fear that you must have been going through. I have to ask though what is dry lightening? I have never heard of this. Have a wonderful Thursday.

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    • Thank you!! We are so relieved the fires have calmed down and no evacuation orders. It was an experience to see how life could change in a possible moment. Thankful.
      Jen, another blogger in CA. who lost her home in the 2018 CA wildfires, answered the dry lightning question. Her description is spot on: ““Dry lightning” is lightning without rain or with very little precipitation.”
      Here’s the link to her blog in case you want to check out her story: https://heavenstobetty.com/
      I hope you are doing well and taking care as we head into the new school year!!

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    • Thank you Jen!! It was very scary and I thought about you a lot during the waiting period of watching the news and hearing updates of evacuation orders in our area.
      Wildfires are just that: wild and can spark anywhere if the winds blow. Thankful it’s being contained although the damage and losses are huge.
      I hope you are having a good first week of homeschooling!! Here we go…

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      • So true Esther! We spent the first week doing our iReady diagnostic assessments. We got results today and our oldest is right on track while the younger 2 are a wee bit behind… 😉 Giving me a goal to help them catch up a little in some areas! How was your first week of homeschooling?

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      • The first week went well, but this week was another story. Everyone and the main computer for kid’s Zoom and for my stuff went haywire. Hoping a new computer will solve the frustrations, so that my husband doesn’t have to our full time tech support. I even cracked the screen to our backup computer.
        Praying next week runs smoothly as we adjust to homeschooling after taking a long summer break.

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    • Thank you Andy!! It was a harrowing experience, but so glad the fires are getting more contained.
      This wildfire was considered one of the worsts in our state’s history. We hear a lot of UK news here too. The Royal family drama is my favorite. lol. It’s like a soap opera in real life. Anyways, small world! Thank you for stopping by and hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

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  2. What an interesting read about the preparation, the worry … the mindset and Elliot’s uncharacteristic behavior. It is hard to pull a fast one on those kids … they are with you so many hours of the day, they detected the worry in your actions … hopefully everything will end soon. We heard we would have some smoke-filled rain from the wildfires since we had a rainy week. It seemed hard to believe that would happen, but the meteorologist who is the most accurate said the burning smell would be obvious. I can’t say I noticed anything and we’ve had some very humid weather from the heat and a few bouts of rain. I hope this is not the new normal for you with California wildfires Esther – you have enough on your plate already.

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  3. Wildfires are a nightmare. I’m happy that you and your family are safe, but I’m saddened by the loss of people and nature. Continue to place your trust in God, and He’ll see you through every situation.

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  4. It’s unimaginable that this just happened last week! I’m so glad you and your family are safe and protected. My parents’ neighborhood was evacuated and my in-laws, although they weren’t asked to evacuate, stayed with me and hubby for a couple days out of caution. Everyone is safe, but the air quality, I’m sure you can relate, has been horrible. I hope we all recover soon.

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    • It was quite a scare that happened unexpectedly. Like when do we ever get dry lightning strikes in the bay area?!
      I’m so glad both sets of parents stayed with you and everything is well. Glad it was cautionary and not because of actual fires in homes.
      The loss is awful for so many that I can’t fathom what that’s like. I read the air quality is getting bad for SF as the Santa Cruz smoke is heading upwards. I agree, the air quality is awful but the cooler weather has improved it slightly.
      What a way to end summer in the midst of COVID! Hoping for better days ahead for people’s health, well being, and moving forward from this chaotic year. 🙂

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