Thanks to the WiFire tool, it is possible to scare yourself shitless while waiting to see whether your beloved city will be destroyed by fire.
From their website:
WIFIRE is an integrated system for wildfire analysis, with specific regard to changing urban dynamics and climate. The system integrates networked observations such as heterogeneous satellite data and real-time remote sensor data, with computational techniques in signal processing, visualization, modeling, and data assimilation to provide a scalable method to monitor such phenomena as weather patterns that can help predict a wildfire’s rate of spread.
Minute by minute this incredibly useful tool combines all the data gathering and processing power to show us when we need to evacuate or die.
If you look at this image, newest data is indicating that, much like a massive, high fantasy army of orcs, trolls, or medieval foot soldiers, the fire is trying to flank the coast of Santa Barbara County.
To be very clear: that would be crossing the streams bad for our fair city.
The prevailing winds this time of year, called Santa Anas or Santa Ana Winds, blow hot, in a downslope, southwest direction. Therefore, whatever is downwind of them is toast.
Not delicious, golden buttered toast, no.
An inedible husk of carbon.
The kind I make in my overzealous toaster oven on two out of five days a week.
The kind you want to be able to blithely toss to the dog, before putting in another piece of bread and vowing to watch more closely.
Vowing to watch more closely.
Today I am checking my emergency backpacks.
I am making a quick video of my house, room-by-room.
I am thinking through what, if anything (besides the bird and dog) is precious enough to me that I would pack it in my one (maybe two) carloads of evacuation possessions.
My belief is that this fire will not reach the City of Santa Barbara.
Not THIS fire.
But someday, a fire will probably come for me and mine.
Instead of biting my nails and letting the horrific images of destruction terrify me into being an unthinking zombie, I am revisiting and revising my Plans A – K. No better time than the present. Literally.
I suggest everyone do the same. It WILL make you feel better. Better prepared, certainly, and just plain better to face the reality of natural disaster head-on. Get fired up! Go fight fear of fire, with a fiery intent to survive and thrive, no matter what happens.
And above all: Stay Safe.
PS: If you need help Building a Kit, here’s FEMA’s List.