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Friday, September 4, 2009

Stress

The Station Fire has seriously stressed me out. The smoky air, the online discussions about bad (or nonexistent) news coverage, the talk of costs in money, not to mention lives. And now that we know it was arson my mind is completely blown.

It's all relative. I live in Pasadena. My home has not, at any point, been threatened by the fire. Yet I'm stressed to the point of near-illness because of the effects this thing has on my community. My stress is nothing compared to that of the people who live up the hill in Altadena, or over the hill in Acton, or across the valley in Sierra Madre and Monrovia--the people whose bags are still packed in case they have to evacuate.

And the animals. It's too horrible to contemplate.

Then I think of the people who did have to evacuate. That's stress. But those who lost their homes are going through worse. Real people. I don't know them but I can put myself in their place, or lack of a place. It's devastating.

Real lives have been lost, too. Two lives, two firefighters. My heart goes out to their families. I'm so glad I married a guy who works at his computer. Having him here, now, is a great stress-reducer.

We talked about the firefighters last night. I imagine you have to love fire to be a firefighter. You have to love the challenge, the teamwork, the danger, the heat. The kudos, too, when you get them. You have to be able to deal with some major stress on that job, I would think. Maybe you even have to relish that stress.

We can never give them kudos enough, but we can try.

18 comments:

USelaine said...

It's terrible to not be able to escape the smoke, because you know how unhealthy it is, and it's everywhere. You have my sympathy, and my hopes for improvement in the days to come.

Dina said...

I'm really sorry for you and all those humans and animals around you, Petrea.
Adding the element of anger, now that arson was declared, must make it all a lot worse.
So the dead firefighters supervised a crew of inmates?! Is this voluntary or mandatory?

Good luck in the days to come.

Turquoise Diaries said...

I am watching the fires on the news..It hurts even if you just watch from far away. ' years ago I watched a forest fire in Datca. It was so sad, you feel so powerless

Shell Sherree said...

I'm so sorry, Petrea. I feel for everyone affected directly and indirectly. And deliberately lit? It blows my mind too. I can't think of the animals. I'm still not over the losses here earlier this year. Profoundly sad. Somehow, this too shall pass but geez, I hope it passes soon.

Petrea said...

I just did some editing to the post. I meant to say my stress is nothing compared to that of others closer to the fires. But yes, it is terrible. And thank you, Elaine, you know how it feels. It looks a little clearer this morning.

Dina, I did some searching but couldn't discover if the inmates were volunteers or not. I found a story (now linked in the post under "you have to love fire") that gives more details of what happened with that crew. It seems the firefighters who were killed put their inmate crew first, and died in their attempts to protect them.

Aysegul: I experienced that feeling when watching the stories from Australia's awful fires. I saw video and read stories that made me cry.

Speaking of Australia: I feel guilty complaining, Shell, knowing whole towns were lost in Oz. This conflagration has stayed mercifully in the mountains, for the most part.

altadenahiker said...

I believe the way it works is selected inmates may volunteer for fire duty. It would never be mandatory.

Here's a picture from the service. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/09/arson-probe-underway-as-firefighters-honor-fallen-colleagues.html

I know Petrea, I didn't want to complain about anything this week because it just paled -- blanched white -- in comparison to the men and women fighting the fire.

Petrea said...

That's a great picture, Karin. These people must have to contemplate and accept the possibility, the probability, of death by fire as well. I couldn't do it.

I don't want to complain, either. I keep thinking of all those people who died in the fires in Australia (I said last year, but it was only February). So I'm stressed. BFD.

Above the City said...

Yeah it has been pretty rough round these parts lately.

Huge THANKS to the firemen and firewomen!!!!

Daniel9 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel9 said...

My friend and coworker lost her home in Big Tujunga Canyon. She lived there 40 years. We are trying to help her out with donations, support and prayers, but it is SO difficult. I just feel drained and want to sleep!

-K- said...

You may be stressed but you still managed to take a beautiful photo.

pasadenapio said...

Thanks for posting this, Petrea. I worry about the firefighters who are becoming so fatigued at the same time they are mourning their fallen brothers; I worry about the wildland animals that have lost their homes and been forced down into the lower foothills where the human danger is so great; I worry about the people who have respiratory ailments and are suffering with all the smoke and ash in the air; I worry about the future of all the fantastic recreation areas in the Angeles National Forest that have vanished, literally, in a puff of smoke; and I worry about the condition of the soil that has been burned to such a hardened mass that floods and/or mudslides are now stark realities when the rains come.

I suppose you could call that stress...

Petrea said...

Above the City: I really enjoyed checking out your blog today. Thanks for visiting.

That is sad, sad news, Daniel9. I'm sure we all have only a degree or two of separation from someone directly affected. My best wishes to your friend. This is very painful.

Kevin, this one's from the archives. But I will take that compliment, thank you.

You could sure call it that, Ann. And it's well put.

Ms M said...

I feel for everyone affected by the fire. And it is enraging to find out the fire was deliberately set. I hope the fire is contained soon, and no more lives are lost.

Lori Lynn said...

I hope by the time you read this, everyone up your way is a little less stressed. Great post.
LL

Lisa..... said...

Mostly I can't comprehend the amount of destruction to the Angeles National Forest. I know fire can renew land and bring life...but the size of this...is hard to imagine. And the cost in land, lives and even the budget...it's so frustrating.

irons said...

It is very sad moment for every human being.It is very heart touching article. Thank you very much for sharing!

acai berry said...

It is sad news that there is bad atmosphere in Padesana. I hope things would be improve in the near future.