Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Wicked Witch Fire vs.The Great Pumpkin Patch

I thought I would take a few minutes to write even though I have all three kids home this week, due to the fires and school closures. Everyone is busy playing with toys and doing art projects and (shockingly) seems to be self sufficient at the moment.

The air today is as smoky as it’s ever been since this firestorm started 3 days ago. Here at day 4, the Santa Ana winds are dying down and the onshore winds have started back up. That is good news and bad news. It should stop forcing the fire into the city, but it will also make the fire much more unpredictable.

I had wanted to post some pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch on Sunday to get our Halloween pumpkin. We went on Sunday morning, the same morning all the fires broke out. The farm we went to was called Pumpkin Station and it is on the Escondido/Rancho Bernardo border, and by later that afternoon, the Witch Fire would storm through there with a vengeance.

When we arrived, the winds were just crazy, blowing plant debris into the road. Most of the potted Christmas trees at the pumpkin patch/Christmas tree farm had blown down and lay like toppled dominoes. Later, I would hear them described on the radio as hurricane-force winds.

It is believed that earlier that morning, out in Witch Creek, the winds blew down some electricity wires, which fell on the dead summer grasses, sparking the Witch Fire, which quickly spread out in three different directions.

At the pumpkin patch, at 9:30am, people were doing their best to have a nice time with all the dust and leaves blowing around. The twins were having trouble standing in some of the big gusts and Noah kept getting dust in his eyes. People dealt with it, trying to enjoy the autumn morning with their kids, not knowing that all of San Diego would come to a standstill (or be on the run) in a matter of hours.

It was hard getting the cute pumpkin pictures we had come for, what with the squinting, the falling down, and the hair in everyone’s faces. But we had fun on the hayride through the doomed Christmas tree fields, and took refuge in the shelter of the corn maze.

We headed home with the pumpkin Noah picked out, and also with the half-rotten little Charlie-Brown-Pumpkin that Luka grew attached to (and carried around the rest of the day).

Within a few hours, evacuations were ordered all over the county, and about 8 fires grew into firestorms. I heard today that the total fire count is now 16.

I grew curious about the workers in the tree farm we saw unloading more trees in the wind, and the pumpkin patch workers, selling pumpkins and caring for the petting zoo. I pulled up the burn map and saw that the farm is located dead center of the burn area.

It is reported that the Witch Fire alone (burned homes aside) has so far destroyed over 100 businesses. I am guessing that the Pinery Christmas Tree Farm, who runs Pumpkin Station, might well have been one of those businesses.


Mom said...

Thanks for the pics. I love the one of Luka with his thumbs stuck in the belt of his pants. I also love the sweaters. How cute. And I understood the finger on the nose pic of Noah. The game you learned from Joyce, right?? I'm so glad that you guys got to go before the fires wiped it out but how sad for the business and all the other businesses and homes that have been burned. You guys are still in our thoughts all the time. Hug the boys for us and hang in there.

Patriot said...

Thanks for the post. I am definitely praying for that area. What a devastating thing for those businesses and families.

Just wanted to thank you for stopping by and entering the giveaway! Please help spread the word this week.

I'll draw a winner on Saturday evening. Thanks again!

Sheliza said...

aww!! I love the pumpkin patch pics! My daughters are older but at least I can relive it with my new baby in the coming years. I loved the name suggestions you gave on my blog! Ethan is one of my faves!!

JeSais said...

Karen, glad you and yours are well. great pics! I'm sure it helps that your children are so beautiful...and great post title! hopefully when things settle down we girls can get together again for a walk/talk thing.

The Opinionated Parent said...

Wow. I've been reading your fire posts and that is so incredibly sad. I'm glad your family is safe.

I just wanted to drop a line to congratulate you on your win at our site today!

Your kids are super cute! (As I'm sure you know...)