“It’s the price we pay to live in paradise” – San Diego, CA

October 25, 2007

San Diego, CA

“it’s the price we pay to live in paradise”

Well things seem to be settling down but not before the damage has been done – an estimated $1 billion in fact.  I want to share with you a few high level points from the last few days and hopefully demonstrate just how personal this can be.

  • I’ve uploaded two fire maps from yesterday.  The first has my apartment and work tagged with a house and $ sign.  The fires came within about 5 miles of my apartment and within a block of work.  I’ll return to some pretty good smoke damage I’m sure but everything still standing…  I’m lucky.
  • About 85% of people that I work with have been evacuated.
  • Reports of at least 12 HPers (3 that I work directly with) that have lost their homes.
  • I have received emails, calls and texts from my dog walkers, fellow runners, co-workers, friends that I’ve met in San Diego all checking in to make sure the dogs were okay, i had a place to stay and offering any assistance they could.
  • HP set-up a website where people gave their whereabouts, listed known homes that were damaged and others offered up their homes or friends homes.
  • Everyone I know that stayed in San Diego has volunteered in some way — my dog walkers taking pets into their residence, friends opening up their doors and dropping off belongings to the Charger stadium.
  • Speaking of the Charger stadium — this was no Katrina.  From all reports it sounds like a five star woodstock…  live music and tons of good food.
  • The spirit of SoCal has certainly been apparent as the town has been hit with an estimated $1 billion in damages, close to 300,000 acres burned, somewhere around 1,500 homes destroyed, power outages to all SD residents throughout last night and massive clean-up efforts needed.

Call SoCal materialistic call it elitist or whatever other stereotypical badge can be found but I have seen no evidence of this phenomenon over the past few days.  In fact, in the face of massive loss most San Diegans are their typical positive cheerful selves, thankful for their own safety and that of their family and friends.  You see when it comes to definition understand that things – are still just things.  Sunday night when ash was coming down even then I went to let the dogs out and my neighbors were on their back porch.  I commented about the deterorating situation and their response “it’s the price we pay to live in paradise.”  And so it is…  I think I’ll call this place home for awhile…  It may just entail a few added precautions like adding a face mask to the emergency bag I’ll now keep in the apartment and perhaps conducting an earthquake hazard check or two.

It’s the price I’ll pay to live in paradise… if you lived here you’d understand.


Evacuated but Safe in San Fran (San Fran, CA)

An email I wrote to a number of people yesterday:


I have received more text messages, emails and phone calls in the last day from people checking-in on my safety.  Thank you so much for your thoughts and concerns.  I am safe and currently in the San Fran bay area with the pooches.  I emailed a few of you on Sunday night about the situation which as you can imagine and based on the news deteriorated rapidly from there.

So if you didn’t get the first email scroll down and read that first.  This email follows the story from there.


Shortly after that email i had to plug my doors w/ towels to keep the smoke out.

Woke-up Monday morning to a call from Rachel.  The 2 fires from the night before had turned into 7 fires that morning (some since consolidated to 5).  One of the fires had jumped the 15 and was burning down houses in Rancho Bernardo (where HP is located).  One fire about 15 miles away another 10 miles away.  Our area was being recommended for evacuation.

We needed to make a quick decision on whether to stay or go.  A few factors to consider:   I-15 was closed, I-8 was closed the only way out of town was I-5.  We heard the fire was moving quickly in the direction of I-5.  Would I-5 stay open?  People are just waking up to the same news so how much time until (1) I-5 is jammed and (2) the movement of the fire closed the only way out? Even if i stayed when would i have to evacuate? Where would the dogs go in that case? 

Within 15 minutes my bag was packed w/ clothes for a few days, legal documents in-tow, the dogs, their food & bowls loaded up and Rach and I were heading out of town to San Fran to stay with her parents. 

The pictures don’t do the trip justice but come close.  Shortly after we got on the 5 I looked at Rachel and said “is this making you nervous?” “yup”  Know that when you see the picture that’s tagged as Del Mar racetrack that’s where people and large animals were being evacuated TO!


Thank god we got out when we did.  We’re safe and in San Francisco now.  Some friends still in-town have been moved and re-moved 2-3 times.  When I left the apartment there was already soot on the ground and wind damage.  That was over 24 hours ago.

To those still in San Diego be safe!

Love you all,

 October 21, 2007

House Arrest

An email I wrote at the start of the fires…


>—–Original Message—–
>From: Katie Boydston [mailto:kboydsto@msn.com]
>Sent: Sunday, October 21, 2007 7:37 PM
>Subject: House Arrest
>Well I am honkered up in my apartment until further notice — or so it
>appears.  A wildfire started about 25 miles away from me at 12:40.
>Unknown to me until I started driving to work (about 10 miles away from
>the fires) at 2:00p.m.  I got out of my car near work (visibility really
>low and very
>erie) and couldn’t breathe, ash was coming down.  Turned right back
>around and went in the opposite direction for some shopping.  By the
>time I got home around 5 visibility around my apartment was down to
>about 400 yards and everything stinks.  I mean stinks…  my car is
>going to smell like a bonfire indefinitely (good excuse to get that
>detail i’ve been wanting after this is over).
>Asia & Tego don’t know what to do and are quite depressed  – i’m
>depressed that i have to go out in this crap so they can pee before they
>go to bed!!
>Anyways, thought i’d share my update.  Hope all is well and the air is
>clean by you!



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