Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Three Long Days

The television was on in the background most of the day on Sunday and between the TV and the internet we felt safe enough. While the fire wasn't that far away, the winds were in Topanga's favor and our Canyon felt fairly unthreatened. We haven't lived here that long, but most of our friends in the area have, and their memories of the '93 Malibu/Topanga Fire remain strong. I have no such memory but I have read that official report of the fire a number of times and I had no doubts that were I faced with a decision, I would leave well before the final evacuation order was issued.

Roger and I packed up our cars on Sunday night: mine with five drawers from file cabinets that contained all our important documents, billings, insurances, passports, credit card, house and banking info and current job project files; and the boot of his car was filled with all photo albums, loose pictures and negatives. The reason we packed all this clobber on Sunday was because Roger was headed to Washington, DC on business Monday morning and in the unlikely event of being evacuated, I could just throw my clothes in the car and some of the artwork and leave.

The fires continued to burn hotter and faster and erratically in Malibu on Monday morning and when I returned to the Canyon that afternoon, I was greeted with around 50 police cars on Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Pacific Coast Hwy. Topanga had been closed to non-residents since Sunday, but this was different. The young policeman checked my I.D. before letting me enter, but after determining that I lived in 'Old Canyon' advised me to get home fast as a mandatory evacuation was ready to be issued. I drove home quickly, my right leg twitching nervously on the gas pedal.

I packed a suitcase and started wrapping certain pieces of art Roger and I determined should be saved. And then I started throwing all sorts of crap in bags. I found myself unable to decide what should and shouldn't be saved so just loaded the car with as much as it could handle.

to be cont...


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