At 2:15 pm yesterday, Ed received a phone call from the office at our park. The evacuation order had been given and he had 1 hour to get our things and get out of our house. He called me right away to let me know. Luckily, Grandma and Grandpa were there with him and between the 3 of them, they managed to get us enough clothes and supplies to last us quite some time. The only thing he could not find was our home owner's insurance policy.
As they started pulling away from our house, police car after police car passed them getting ready to go from door to door and tell everyone that they would have to evacuate. Right behind them were multiple fire trucks, entering the park so that they could make a stand and protect our homes. Some of the park residents were saying that they did not want to evacuate. However, the firemen conviced them that this was not the day to decide to go against the fire department's recommendations.
After we got Lukie down for the night, Ed and I drove to the Red Cross shelter to register. Even though we weren't staying at the shelter, they wanted all evacuated residents to register so that if someone were looking for us, they could reassure them we were okay. The Red Cross shelter was something I hope I never have to visit again. There was an air there of such anxiety and sadness. Many of the people there lived in the mobile home park that burned Monday morning. Promised updates all day long, they had no idea if their homes were still standing or if they had burned to the ground.
When we arrived, they were starting a briefing for the evacuees so we decided to stay and learn what we could. The firefighter who gave the update to us shared that the major activity of the fire was now up high into the hills, farther away from homes than we first thought. The scary part, and the reason that we have been evacuated, is that the highest wind event was expected to hit between 11 pm Monday night and 11 am Tuesday. The winds are expected to be from 35 - 50 mph with wind gusts in to the 80 mph range. It is this wind that is so dangerous. He told us that a 70 mph wind gust can carry an ember up to a mile and a half away. So even though the fire seems to be far from our house, we are in the danger range for wind gusts.
The soonest we will know if we can return to our house is Tuesday afternoon. Chances are that we won't know until Wednesday. In the meantime, we are all safe, our belongings in trashbags and whatever other kinds of bags they could find for our things.
The babies were, understandably, disoriented and distraught last night. We had a rough night getting both babies to go to sleep and stay asleep. Luckily, I had a copy of the Piglet's Big Movie CD in my car, so we could play their Night Time music throughout the night.
Thank you to everyone for your prayers. We anticipate that we will know whether or not we can go home either this afternoon or tomorrow. In the meantime, Eddie's parents live in the cell phone "Black Pit of Despair" so we most likely will not be able to pick up messages until we leave the house.