Photographer's Note

San Diego is burning.

Fire has reached past those hills that you see in the distance. My wife and our dog, who were at home, have been evacuated. I am stuck some 1,500 miles away.

This was the Father's day. We had a little picnic at the edge of the canyon just three blocks from our house. The fire is getting closer along the valley. If the wind takes it closer our house may not survive.

My sympathies to those of our city and around who have lost their homes. Already over 600 homes have burnt down. There is no end in sight. The city is dreading an escalation of the situation into a firestorm, where the fire itself creates an onrush of winds that further causes fanning of the fire.

My deep gratitude to those men and women who are courageously fighting the nature's wrath.

I feel so useless sitting safely in this hotel.

[Did I violate TE directives? Tell me if so, and I will remove this post]

Update: 10:45PM, 10/23/07
It appears that the fire in San Diego has so far made homeless over 1,300 families, killed at least two people, and have injured quite a few fire-fighters.

It also appears that the wind has shifted over the past 12 hours so that the fire-path has moved away from directly hitting our house (see the map in workshop). But it is engulfing numerous other houses right now, and I think it has hit a region where one of our very good friends has recently purchased a house.

My wife and our dog are being sheltered by our friend at a safer region (see blue heart on the workshop map). There are several other families there in that house with my wife. Among them is another friend, a family of father and son who had lost their wife/mother just a month ago due to heat stroke. It is not clear if their house has survived, but it is certain that their front door neighbor's house burnt down earlier today. I hope their house survived. The fire has been called highly selective in burning objects that it 'wants to burn'. That is a mischaracterization. Wild fires are 'chaotic' entities--it is impossible to predict with certainty what they will burn next and which way they will go.

Thanks to all of you who have expressed concerns, and thanks for your well wishes. We much appreciate.

I hope to update again tomorrow. Oh yes, here is the direct link to the interactive fire map.

Update: Oct 30
Nearly all is quiet. Most of the fires, except may be two, are under control. Over 1,500 houses destroyed. At least five deaths. Many injuries, mostly of fire-fighters. Our friend's house did not burn, though EVERY house surrounding his house were burned to the amazing escapade. Luck, we call it.

Thanks to all of you who wrote, wishing us luck and thinking of us. I will remember your good wishes warmly. My photo here is personal, but it represents a general one of many of us in So Cal. Not all were as lucky as us.

A revelation: While my wife was trying to evacuate, she and I (in Houston, over the phone) were thinking what to take out. Frankly I could not think of anything except our passports and birth certificates, and neither could she. Our only concern was our 13 year old Sheltie, and the bag of passports and documents. Afterwards we chuckled about that...what little we both value our belongings. [To tell you frankly, I was indeed thinking of my wife's bridal sari, 30 years old this year, but I am not sure where it actually is and would have sounded so silly I thought better not to mention that to her lest her wrath is directed at me for this lame suggestion]

I am not a journalist, so even though I returned in time to perhaps take a shot or two of rising smoke columns etc, I did not. I just could not. May be I should shoot sunsets for a while.

Many dreams were broken. But it is never the end of dreams.

flory, sabyasachi_d, sidstakes, thea0211, bombilla, xuaxo, nicol_g, prantik marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Animesh Ray (AnimeshRay) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 689 W: 44 N: 846] (9089)
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