Natural disasters, like wars, are fantastical traumas, the unimaginable made manifest in a torrent of destruction. But what happens after the initial trauma has past?
The radio was reporting more acreage, more homes chewed up by fire. The ash was blowing in wisps off my windshield wipers. And this man flicked a lighted cigarette out of his car.
It is impossible to say that global warming caused these fires. But the worst effects of global warming will cause fires like these to be more intense and more frequent.
In the past, I was cynical when local and cable TV stations asked the public for video of news events. Now, though, I see the need for viewer-contributed graphics to fully tell the story.
Unseasonable heat and changing weather patterns have turned southern California into a tinderbox, precisely the way forecast by people warning us about global warming for years.
It is a sad irony that yesterday, the very day I sent fire crews to California, 300 more New Mexico National Guard members were sent to Iraq.
Although we San Diegans may feel like our lives are on hold, and we are consumed with thoughts about essentials such as food and shelter, to the rest of the world, it is life as usual and the fires are just another item on the evening news.
Apparently in some circles, it's a form of radical chic to glory in each and every calamity, to strike not the abstract concept of "America" but the real lives of individual Americans.
We were among the more than half a million San Diego County residents (about one in six) who were evacuated to escape the wildfires that raked the region beginning last Monday.
The Chumash lived by the wisdom of natural limits. There was simply not enough water, and too many regular fires, to sustain a large population.
The climate-wildfire link should be a special concern in this country where, since 2000, wildfires have burned an area larger than the state of Idaho.
It has been incredible to see the cooperation of agencies and the organization of disaster response efforts during a time that could so easily be complete mayhem.
It's nice to see that even if FEMA had decided to sit on its thumbs for three days before stepping foot over here, the residents of San Diego decided to take care of themselves.
We were told to get out ASAP, while we could. This all felt very surreal. We are four miles from the ocean. How could brush fire come this close?
The sun is doing its best to shine on San Diego this morning. But it is the yellow-orange hue mixed with gray ash that is dawn today.
My wife, mom and dog were asked to leave our home in coastal San Diego this morning. We were fortunate to be able to afford to evacuate to the Westin downtown.