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On Tuesday, when the "Ophir Fire" (a confusing name to all locals, who consider it the Palermo fire) came crawling up to my doorstep, I thought, okay, we've had our disaster on the year. There was hardly any rain this winter, so the grass is short, this is a freak incident, fire season won't be bad.

Spending the last three days watching the Humboldt (again a different name to us nearby, Paradise) fire grow beyond imagination, spending half of Wednesday, all of Thursday, up until late this afternoon worried to death because I have friends in Paradise, and then because those friends couldn't get to their lovely dogs because of the evacuations and authorities arresting anyone going back in to the area, that had me freaking out. (The dogs are fine. My boyfriend is a hero, he called and called Animal Rescue until he got through and they went to pick the dogs up).

Today, working in a half-lit, barely-attended office... today, standing outside in the parking lot watching yet another fire, this one on Kelly Ridge, another fucking fire, I just wanted to cry.

I remember how scared I was during the Northridge earthquake. It's nothing compared to now. I was seven or eight then; my parents could fix everything. Now... I'm not sure anyone can fix this. I keep staring at the maps as they update. Google "Chico ER" and click the map links. You see all around the red and blue, below it, above it, to the sides? It's farmland. It's livestock fields. It's open, empty space filled with dry grass. I'm living in a tinderbox and it's going up like one and I'm scared to death for the people I know in Chico and Paradise and I'm damned scared that if the wind picks back up like Tuesday, if even the wind we've got now shifts directions, I'm scared to death of what's going to happen.

20% contained... 20k acres... my god.

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Regina

November 2012

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