When we chose Santa Barbara as our next assignment, we never would have guessed what was in store.
It is almost not fair for me to write this. Phil and I drive around the country with what fits in our cars. If they issued a mandatory evacuation, we probably would be able to leave with everything we own. That is not true for the majority of Santa Barbara residents and my heart goes out to everyone being affected by this terrible fire. I cannot even imagine living in a home my entire life and then having it go up in flames in a moments time. Having to start completely over with only what fit in your car when urgently told to evacuate. Not to mention the years and years of construction to follow for the things that were replaceable and the many tears for the things that were irreplaceable.
The Thomas Fire is now the 3rd largest fire in CA history and there is no rain in sight. It started on Dec 4th as a brush fire and now has spread closer and closer to Santa Barbara. The whole 13 days, we have had poor air quality, smoke filled skies, and ash raining down most days like snow.
This is the most recent map of evacuations. We are now only in the voluntary (yellow) evacuation zone.
For the most part, the sky has been smokey like the picture above.
Below are images from yesterday, which was the first day the fire was viewable from downtown Santa Barbara.
It is hard to describe the city lately. It seems apocalyptic. We have been wearing our masks when outdoors and keeping windows closed due to poor air quality.
On a positive note, Phil is training for his first Ultra Marathon in January! Lately, there has been a lot of this:
Poor thing… No one likes to run long distance on a treadmill, but he is staying strong!
We go to bed with our phones on loud so we can here the emergency evacuation text messages coming through in case we need to leave during the night.
For now, we are safe and continue on with work and life as we approach Christmas.
We are looking forward to traveling up to Oakland to be with the Brocks this Christmas!!!
We are wanting to start a new tradition as this is our first Christmas as a married couple! Any ideas? What are your favorite holiday traditions?
When there is stress over shopping or holiday preparations, just remember the fire victims that have lost their entire home, or the many fire fighters that are away from their families during this holiday season. We are so thankful for everyone fighting the fires and this wonderful community here in Santa Barbara, CA.