Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Not On Their Watch
Today I drove John's car. The radio was on when I turned the key in the ignition and I heard "brush fire near JPL." I forgot my errand, turned west and took Oak Grove Drive above Devil's Gate Dam.
The radio said the flames were moving slowly uphill, away from the Jet Propulsion Lab. I could see that, yet I had to pull over when I saw the smoke. My reaction was physical, a loss of breath, an almost-sob. Look--a 5 acre brush fire is nothing compared to the Station Fire of 2009, but of course that's what I thought of. I've seen flames on these hills before. I've stood on the dam and watched the mountain burn because I couldn't take my eyes away.
I'm not the only one who remembered. 115 firefighters shut this baby down in fewer than ninety minutes. I may have watched an inferno from atop the dam, but they've seen it from within.