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Marine Family report on San Diego Fires

The godmother of my children is married to a Marine in San Diego and sends these reports on the fires in and around San Diego, yesterday:

The first one:

Things are very bad here. We have been evacuated from our home. We are currently down in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego which may be evacuated later today. Thousands and thousands of homes are being evacuated. The roads (including the main interstate arteries of I-5 and I-15) are not moving. I-15 is closed because the fire has jumped the expressway. The fires are encroaching on widely populated areas in Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos and Poway for those of you that are familiar with the area. My company ,which is based in Rancho Bernardo, is closed due to the threat of the fire. The winds are gusting at over 50 miles per hour and the fires are 0% contained.

We'll try to keep you posted on the situation but all non-essential phone use has been discouraged. We'll do our best to keep you posted. Please pray for the families impacted.

Then the second update:

Thanks for so many reply emails. We are sitting here helplessly watching the county burn. Over 100,000 acres burned, the fire is still 0% contained. All in all, there are 12 major fires threatening San Diego. Good news is that the Coronado Hills fire, by our house, is not contained, but has slowed progress. The Witch Creek fire, the biggest one, has leveled hundreds of houses in Rancho Bernardo and is now threatening Rancho Santa Fe (the richest area in San Diego) on the north fork and Poway on the south. Forecasts are that it will go all the way to the coast (via Encinitas and Del Mar). This is the worst fire in San Diego history

We continue to be safe at this time...but are far from out of the woods.  Winds are not forecasted to die down until Wednesday. No air support for fire control can be used at this time due to current conditions (lack of visibility and winds). Air quality is poor with ash and remnants of burning debris.

We'll continue to send updates. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Then the last one from yesterday evening:

First, the good news--the fire that was burning approximately 4 miles from our house is now 100% contained (which means they've fenced it in). If the winds stay under control tonight, they hope it will be under control tomorrow. While the mandatory evacuation for our neighborhood has been lifted, the big fire, the Witch Creek fire,  continues to pose a huge threat to N. County. We've been advised to stay put until all fires are under control and are under a voluntary evacuation for that fire.

San Diego still continues to burn. There are two really big fires burning right now. The Harris Fire is threatening Chula Vista and Otay Ranch to the south; The Witch Creek fire is threatening a swath of land from Poway, Scripps Ranch and MCAS Miramar (Curt's base) to Ranch Santa Fe, Encinitas and Solana Beach. The fire seems to be cutting a direct westward path to the ocean.

As for us, we had to evacuate a second time this afternoon due to the threat to Scripps Ranch. We are now in Pacific Beach staying in a hotel on the beach with two other families (very cozy!). It is very surreal to watch the sunset and see all the surfers and people vacationing and to know that, just a few miles away, people are fighting for their lives.

San Diego is essentially shut down--Hundreds of homes have burned in Rancho Bernardo and Escondido. Just a 1/2 mile from my office, several houses have burned.

Thank you again for your well wishes and prayers. We hope to go home tomorrow and will send a note when we arrive home safely.

No news from the Marine family today, but the news organizations are reporting that today, in fact, will probably be the worst day for damage and the toughest for the firefighters who haven't had rest or a decent meal in days.

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a help blog started if you want to help.  Any other ideas for support, please put links in the Comments section (you'll have to use <a href="link"></a> if you want to make the link live).

Update: Thanks to Commenters and emailers, we are linking to Senior MilBlogger Neptunus Lex who is in the area and live blogging the situation (senior meaning by rank).

Update 10-24-07:  CBK sends the final report:

I wanted to send a very quick update to let you know we are home. Besides a great amount of ash and some wind damage (trees without leaves, downed branches and two snapped off flagpoles) all is well here.

We'll be settling in and figuring out what the next couple of days hold for us. As my office is in Rancho Bernardo, I'm unsure of when I will go back to work.

The fire continues to burn out of control to the north--now hitting Fallbrook and the Camp Pendleton Marine Base. We know of a couple of people who have lost homes in Fallbrook. The good news is that the winds have now shifted and the Santa Anas have abated. Winds are now out of the west which will bring badly needed moist air to the coast.

Hopefully the worst is over. We'll continue to keep everyone posted. Again, thanks for all the well wishes. We truly appreciate it!

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