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October 25, 2007

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA FIRES

This comment, from frequent blog contributor DavCat, is from an earlier thread, but I wanted to make sure everybody saw it:

I wanted to ask you all for help and prayers... the California wildfires south of me are absolutely frighteningly out of control.

I don't know if there are any Bloglits in the fire zone, but my cousin and his family were forced to evacuate from their small home in the city of Ramona 3 days ago. They do not know if their home is still standing, but at least they and their kids and pets are all safe.

They say it could be days before the fires are even *marginally* under control. Some fires were started from power lines falling in the high winds (the Santa Ana winds were up to hurricane force in some areas) or from other accidents, and at least one was an arson (with one arrest made).

This disaster is unprecedented. CNN said this is the biggest mass evacuation of US citizens since the Civil War! The area burned is twice the size of the greater NYC area.

And it is hitting both rich and poor neighborhoods - don't believe the reports that only wealthy celebs are being affected. There are people of all races, backgrounds and financial means who have been affected; nearly ONE MILLION PEOPLE have now been forced to flee for their lives.

If you can donate to the Red Cross or Salvation Army it would be great. Donating blood is also a great way to help; even if the blood doesn't get to San Diego, it can save lives in your own community since blood donation are typically low in summer.

I have been watching the news nearly non-stop since Monday night and it's been absolutely horrific. Here are two San Diego television websites which have stories, photos, video, and live streaming newscasts of the situation:

http://www.kusi.com

http://www.nbc11.com

Please pray for all affected by this enormous disaster.
Thank you.

Comments

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Dave and Dav, thanks for making me feel guilty. I guess I have no choice but to help now. ONE MILLION People! I hope they end up ok.

Thanks for posting that, Dave & DavCat.

*sending plenty of good vibes to the left coast*

I just wanted to reassure everyone that the previous comment was not sarcastic. We really do need to do something.

you can count on my blood and prayers

Thanks for posting, I would have missed it. The prayers are on the way!

Dave, while I'm not in the worst of it, it's really nice to come to this blog and get away from Mother Nature's hot flashes. IYKWIM. Keep up the funny. It helps take our minds off sooty things.

*puts Siouxie's good vibes away in a special drawer*

Annie, hopefully not next to any "personal" battery-operated gadgetry (IYKWIM AITYD)

I thought that's what you were sending us. No?

i'm busy boxing up a care package for calif. lots of marshmallows and firemen and rainwater. i'm worried, though, that if i punch holes in the box for the firemen, all the water will leak out.

We're having a blood drive at our ofc today. I would go over to try to donate anyway, but this gives me that extra little push.

crossgirl, they're big boys..they can hold their breath for a while. Water's important!

Dav, prayers have been on the way since the weekend. I can second your thoughts about the Salvation Army. Several neighborhoods near my home were hit by tornados a few years ago. I volunteered to work with Lutheran Disaster Response and spent many weekends running a chain saw. Several times a day a SA canteen truck would come by to keep residents and workers fed and watered.

cg - don't hog all the cute ones for yourself. And firemen know how to punch their own holes.

Salvation Army says send cash. (cg...I'm sure the firemen will be appreciated...don't know what to do about the water leaking out).

Having been through two major hurricanes in SoFLa, my hearts are with the firestormed in SoCa.

Dang. I can't donate blood (ineligible due to extended residence in Western Europe). I really must start nagging the Jewban...

*adds roasting sticks, chocolate and graham crackers to cg's box*

DD, you're donating chocolate?! Now that's giving till it hurts!

I can donate blood, but after this past weekend, I'm afraid the alkyhol level might be a little high. Is that ok??

No problem Sio - as long as you're not currently faced. Just drink lots of water before you go. The biggest problem with alkyhol is dehydration which will make the donation more difficult.

That's fine, Sioux.
As long as you don't drive it there.

From what I've been reading (parents in Oceanside -- one of the evacuation areas, so I've been reading local, national and international articles on the fires) they're actually turning down donations in some places because so many have already been offered.

But that isn't to discourage anyone from donating, as there are always things people will need, especially the ones who end up homeless.

May I respectfully suggest the Humane Society or SPCA as another possibility? Besides having to take in and relocate animals, they will probably have homeless animals turn up after the fires. I remember after the Loma Prieta earthquake in No California (I was there), they had a lot of lost, bewildered and distressed critters to look after and find homes for.

As an aside, one woman (who had lost her home a few months back) showed up at the stadium and donated hugs to people -- many said they really needed a hug! I love that.

Davcat, I will definitely keep you and your family and all the people affected in my prayers. I cannot even imagine what you all are going through out there. It's just devastating to watch, so I know it's even worse for all those people out there.

I will be praying. The fire got about 15-30 ft from my friend's house in Ramona, but didn't touch the house. He is very thankful to God for that.

For the San Bernardino mountain fires (~500 homes lost), the best place for news updates is:
Rim of the World.net

Yesterday, the LA Times reported that the San Bernardino Police Department shot and killed a suspected arsonist after he attempted to ram them with his truck. We've also had at least 4 other fools arrested for arson, including a few caught in the middle of lighting a fire.

Today, things are better. The winds are calmer, the temp is cooler, but my valley smells like an ashtray.

Sorry, not a funny posting, but not a funny event. I know at least five friends who have lost their homes in the Running Springs fire.

I'm so sorry that I can't be of more help but you all will have to make do with plenty of good vibes, love and prayers from accross the ocean.

Hug a fireman. Tell him/her Annie said 'thank you.' Me and a couple million other SoCals.

I posted a fire update on the 'connection' thread but I'll copy it here.

zips in*™

Yes, Annie is right. Scott and I are in San Diego, and it's been a pretty frightening week - so far. But the TV stations are starting to show commercials between fire news reports, so I think that's a good sign.

Scott, I saw Larry Himmel too. How awful. For everyone else, he's a very popular TV person here.

I heard local rumors that the Chargers could be playing in the Rose Bowl or the Colliseum, but I think that's just wishful thinking on the part of some SoCal sports reporters.

They cancelled San Diego State's game for Saturday.

AIP,
It is the same here after the hurricanes. The blood centers have challenges coping w/the overflow of folks wanting to donate. However, they must be looking for the donations currently, as they're going to have a bloodmobile downstairs, plus I had 2 msgs on my machine last night asking me to come over to the local storefront donation center. I'm o- and a quad-pack candidate, so they like my blood.
Also, loved your thought about the animal rescue charities.

My cousin lives there and was evacuated from her home, as well as the hospital where she works. She's back home, now, and doing well. My reports are coming to me from her sister (my cousin) who lives in Santa Fe, NM, so my information is spotty, as she just gave birth to twins, very small twins, so they are both under some pressure at this point.
My prayers go out to eveyone affected by this tragedy.

HEY! I can donate hugs too! I love that idea!

((((((((((SoCal Peeps!))))))))))))))))

Also, I would give anything if I could help rescue animals.

My cousin and her husband live right near there, in Alpine. They fortunately didn't have to evacuate, but have been packed and ready to leave for the past week. I have many friends out that way who have had awful experiences trying to get their horses out - one person lost all 5 horses at her farm. It is devastating.
I never thought about giving blood - I will go do that this weekend.

Woo-hoo!! Annie's putting Siouxie's good vibes in the drawer next to the ones I sent yesterday. With luck we'll have lots of good vibelets.

Again, keep the spirits up out there - you're neither forgotten nor alone.

Motth, that's plenty of help. I'm having to do the good vibes, thoughts and prayers Frog-side while my parents are in Oceanside.

And not to get all sentimental and glurgy and Northern California new-agey (Not that there's a D@mned thing wrong with that ;-) but I think things we do locally still help. I think ANY positive, friendly, loving thoughts ANYWHERE on the planet are much needed by everyone everywhere and that when you put it all together the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

When my Dad was a young man in the army, he went home by bus one weekend. When he got to the station he almost bought a sandwich to eat on the trip, but decided to buy his ticket first. He was glad he did, because he just barely had enough cash to buy it. He figured he could go a while without food.

On the bus, he got to talking to a minister about his good luck in having just enough for the ticket. After one rest stop the minister got back on the bus and gave Dad a cheese sandwich, coke, and a Baby Ruth bar. Dad told the minister that he couldn't pay him back, but the minister told him to take it. Dad could pay him back by one daydoing something for someone else who couldn't pay him back.

Dad said he always remembered it and tried to do just that whenever he could.

I always liked that story. Especially that it was "just" a little thing -- a little lunch. And the things Dad did for people were technically "little things" mostly. But they're like butterfly wings that have been put into reverse. From chaos to order.

I remember the day after the Loma Prieta hit that restaurants were handing out free coffee to very nervous people (we had a LOT of aftershocks, and I'm sure a jolt of caffeine was just what we all needed ;-). Northern Californians were actually obeying traffic laws at 4 way stops (traffic lights were out). People in Oakland risked their lives trying to rescue people trapped on the Cyprus structure when one level fell onto the one below. It was amazing. People were doing brave things, or just nice and thoughtful things. What happened was awful, but also awfully amazing.

And just so's you all know that the French are actually very nice: 1. They adore their own firefighters. 2. Parisien firefighters and their families hosted firefighters from the NYFD a few months after 9/11, so they could have a little R&R. They brought them to the Lido and one of the dancers (American) introduced the NYFD guys to the Lido staff and the audience. We ALL gave them a very BIG round of applause and a standing ovation.

I've really gone on and on, and could go on longer. Sorry about that.

Glurge mode over. ;-))

Thanks Estrogen. I know that the Red Cross can always use the blood donations -- if not in the immediate area, then somewhere else. I'll stop there or I'll start rattling on about butterflys again.

And good for you! I can't give blood, unfortunately, even over here, because of meds. Plus, the French screen for people who were in the UK during the worst of the Mad Cow thing.

And with diabetes, my blood is probably too sweet anyway! ;-)

Mmmm. Dessert.

I'm near the OC fire but not in danger, but I can tell you those Santa Ana winds are absolute mothers. They literally tore my wooden gate off it's hinges two separate times, til I got smart enough the second time around to replace it with wrought iron. And I had a window violently blow wide open and shatter in the middle of the night, a la Poltergeist. Lovely sounds to be awoken by.

I hate 'em.

Guin, I heard about the 5 horses. I think they were the only large animals that didn't make it. Just awful. My heart goes out to your cousin.

They opened up Fiesta Island, a small island with nothing but boat ramps, to large animals and their families. They showed it on TV yesterday. Lots of animals and RVs (and horse poop, but I digress), and everyone appeared quite relaxed. I think beer may have been involved.

Just a note to those effected by the fires; you have the prayers of many churches and individuals here in Central Florida. Blood drives are being organized, and donation centers have already opened.

Although there is no fair comparison between fires and hurricanes, being displaced from one's home and/or possibly losing everything, the aftermath of a disaster is the same. People suffer.

We greatly sympathize with your plight.

May God be with you and give you strength in your time of need.

*slaps the Count*
Stop that right now!!!

AIP,
I so-o-o- believe in paying it forward, doing small good deeds, giving karma, or wahatever the trendy phrase is these days.

BTW, I always make the attempt, can't always donate due to being anemic. We'll see how it goes later this afternoon...

For those who wish to help their community in a slightly more extreme way while giving blood...

Contact your local blood bank about donating platelets. It can take a couple of hours, as they put the other parts of your blood back into you.

If it turns out that you are CMV negative, your platelets can help children, folks with auto-immune disorders and a host of others. If you are CMV positive (like 3/4 of the population), your platelets are put to great use for people with aplastic anemia, burn victims and many others.

An added plus is that at most blood banks, platelet donors get to control the TV remote control.

Good for you for always trying, estrogen. I used to have a neighbor who was a doctor (blood specialist) at a hospital that specializes in liver transplants and she had a lot of hard work sorting out patients with rare blood types...

speaking from central florida, i'd take a hurricane any day over a fire. fire is scaaaaaaaaaaary. just a little muck fire in a field near my house freaked me out. i can't imagine calif's fires and will try not to.

tosses in another fireman.

Glad everyone we know in the area is OK so far. I actually saw Katie Couric asking a woman standing in front of her burnt-out house "how do you feel?" this morning.

She should have smacked her.

ec, do they ever try another finger for the anemia test? i've had one hand be borderline and the other just get through. it happens that my 8 weeks were up last week so i already had the bloodbank in my weekend plans.

Oh, that's so awful about the horses! Being cat-owned, the idea of a fire and enclosed animals is a nightmare.

CMV???

Confused... I'm a regular blood donor, but I'm not aware there is a great deal of need for it in the So Cal area right now. What have I missed?

Whoa - mark the moment - I agree with jeffy! Several million SoCals want to line up and smack her. Katie - just a hint - don't comment on how nice our weather is when half the state's on fire. And don't burble over the yoga class at Qualcomm like it's a spa.

Amer, as I understand it, it's a common virus with cold like symptoms. For you there's no problem, but if you have the antibodies and they give your blood to an infant (especially a premie) the child dies. I have the 'baby blood', Atlanta has Emeory Childrens Hospital and the Red Cross has me on speed dial.

*SMACKS* Katie Couric for the woman.

What an idiot.

*reaches out & catches fireman tossed by cg*
Thanks, my new friend. I needed him!

At first, it was the finger on one hand & then one on the other hand; but they have done the earlobe, too. I sit there & implore for the d@%ned droplet to sink. Since I was diagnosed as chronically anemic earlier this year, I've struck out. But like I said above, we'll see..

((((((Sippi's baby twin cousins))))))

They need love to grow. :)

If I didn't have a serious needle phobia, I'd give blood. And no, it's not just squeamishness, it's a genuine phobia. (that's why I'm sending the chocolate, fiv.)

I'll find another way to give instead.

*lines up to smack Katie Couric* Airhead.

*Totally decks Couric. Wipes hands. Walks away*

I'm sure that CBS will use precious emergency equipment in order to revive her enough to get her propped up by 6:30 PM ET.

hopes the vampire nurses don't come after my earlobes...

I'm a regular blood donor (O+) and have been asked several times to donate platelets. I've always been on the way to work, etc...so never have the 2-3 hrs it does take. I do hear you get to watch a movie. I should find the time.

Dave?? can I take 3 hrs of my "blogging" time to donate???

Any fraidy cats can sign up for organ donation.
And no, blurkie, it's not what you think it is.

And all this time I thought I was helpin' humanity.

Well rumor has it you haven't made much of a dent in virginity.

*SMACKS* blurk...again.

*sneaks up and adds an extra "f" to my 11:57 post*

la la la...

Hey, guys! Prayers are with you. Wish I could send everyone KC BBQ, but it might be seen as a little inappropriate.

And Sioux, stop sending out my toothbrush!

I meant by donatin' blood, Sioux.

Jeez.

And, SW...I ain't even gonna touch that comment. I've already been smacked twice today.

My sister and her family evacuated last night. The winds have begun to shift a bit erratically, so they have no idea where the fire will go next. Prayers will always be appreciated.

*Whacks Katie Couric*

*Checks*

*Whacks her again*

Not that I need a reason, but why are we beating up overpaid, hyperperky talking-heads?

Alfred, can you arrange a little rain dance party and stir up some storms that involve precipitation for California? It would be incredibly helpful and appreciated.

And if you have any leftover storms, please send them to Atlanta.

I'm not sure I understand, but you guys said it would help so I'm rushing a shipment of these to California right away.

*WAVES @ Moon over MyHammie!!!*

Two unwritten rules about blood donations that people should know about:

1. You can't just bring the blood in. They insist you donate there.

2. It must be your own blood.

*snork* @ Meanie!

(((So Cal residents)))

Our Red Cross is suggesting cash donations, as well. One of the best things about this country is how peope come together in times of crisis and support those in need. It makes me proud.

nice platelets meanie!

Hammie, we're smacking Katie because she went to Qualcomm (Chargers stadium and evacuation center) when she was here and was interviewed by local news people.

Here's some of what she said:

Oh, your weather here is just perfect!
Me: yes, that's why we have 5% humidity and raging fires.
Katie continues: And it's so nice here at the stadium, they have yoga classes and even acupunture! it's like a spa.

Local reporter suggests that Katie particpate in yoga class while she's here.
*smacks local reporter*

Katie continues: oh, no, I don't think so. I wouldn't want to cut in line (cut in line, WTF?) in front of someone whose home was burned to the ground.

ISIANMTU. I watched this on TV. Unfreakinbelievable.

I really don't know if this will help, but they are selling eggnog at the stores now. I love eggnog, and it makes me remember a bunch of good times. They didn't seem like good times at the time, but now they are fondly remembered.

Anyway, best of luck.

Time for school.

Takes a shot at KAtie Couric

Med- Hate to tell you this, but the Navajos really didn't have them. The Hopis have a ceremony for bringing good weather, but I am not about to try to perform it correctly.

Far worse, much of the ecology in the area you are living in, is from Indian Wars. They would set fires and try to aim them at each other.

Just a note: I didn't know about the comments Katie Couric made until after I posted my line. Sorry if I got it wrong.

Thanks for trying, ASF. I'm in KC, so I personally don't need rain, especially since my roof is leaking. But Atlanta and Cali can have my share... since we're all donating today. ;-) Have fun at school.

Oh, jeez, I just went to our paper's website, because on the news it seemed like things were better today, except for the layer of smoke covering the entire city, including areas that were not touched by fire, and they found some bodies in burned homes. :(

wow..how horrible, El.

I did find this article

El- I read about it this morning. Pretty sad.

LOL, Alfred. Very nice.

FIVVER is right. Cytomegalovirus is pretty much a really lousy cold for adults. Trust your local search engine for the details since I messed up the instructions for the link.

Just a heads up that at least at our local blood bank, the favorite time slot is Saturday morning. Drop ins might work during the day, but call ahead to see if the machines are available.

If they give you your choice of movies to watch, ask for "Coma." I was told the donors wore out Blazing Saddles, but I strongly suspect the nurses just got tired of folks singing along with the songs while hooked up to the machine.

My 25 year old niece had to evacuate from the Witch fire on Monday. They only have it 20% contained. She's got lots of worried aunties and uncles.

Just so everyone knows, I (and I'm sure others who are joking around here) am not deliberately trying to be insensitive to the many victims of this immense tragedy. What I am trying to do, in the absence of anything physically helpful, is to encourage a small smile to come out, for even a moment, from under the heartbreak and fear.

I wish I were in a position to do much, much more, believe me. I hope it's taken in this spirit, but if anyone regards this as inappropriate, please accept my apologies.

*SMACKS* Meanie!

Sweetie...everyone KNOWS you would NEVER EVER be insensitive or inappropriate. ME, maybe...you...I don't think so ;-)

Never, Blue. Not to worry. :)

We understand, Meanie. Personally, I appreciate your offer of an organ donation, but your wife nixed the idea.

Annie, they do make them detachable now, right?

That's odd. She's usually only concerned about big decisions.

I have a custom program that allows that, yes.

For the record, CMV is NOT always just a lousy cold for adults.

*waves to the bloggirlies*

So do I, Annie

*wink*

Ok, Meanie - to be honest, she didn't 'nix the idea.' She just giggled.

Actually, the prerequisite for donation is something she often threatens.

Mrs Meanie sounds like a very formidable woman!

She is a delight and a dream.

Aren't you dear?

*waves @ Mrs. Blue*

*had the pleasure of meeting her..she is lovely*

Frum whut I can discern on the newest fire maps, cousin's house is about 2-3 miles frum fire perimeter ... have not heard anythin' ... do not know how current the maps are ... or latest weather/wind direction ... several evac. centers for people and/or animals nearby ...

merely worried, but hopeful ...

Guess what guys! I was able to donate for the first time in a year. I am so excited! Feeling pretty g

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