A look back from the outside

I cannot begin to image what it was like in Ramona during last year’s Witch Fire. Seeing the flames coming down the hills, feeling the heat on your face while experiencing the worst Santa Ana winds on record, deciding if you should stay or get out of town, not knowing when you could come back and if there would be anything to come back to. My only real-time experience with the fire was through the eyes of the national media and my nightly conversations with my children who live in Mission Valley and Mission Beach areas to see if they were OK and what the local news was reporting. Becoming the publisher of the Sentinel had not even been proposed. As I watched night after night of the devastation and destruction of not only forest land, but people’s homes and their lives, I couldn’t help but wonder how all of these folks would cope with losing everything and starting over.

Before coming to Ramona, I lived in Pacific Grove alongside of Pebble Beach. The backyard of our house was forest land. A fire in Pebble Beach had gotten out of control and had burned several houses and was growing. I could see the 50-foot flames coming through the forest right toward our house, and you could taste the ash in your mouth. As we scrambled to pack our cars with what could not be replaced, the wind suddenly shifted and the fire jumped the road and began burning up the hill away from our house. We were lucky, unlike many Ramonans.

But as with any tragedy, questions are raised and fingers get pointed as to, did those in charge do everything that could have been done and as quickly as possible. Could this have been prevented, etc. Not having firsthand knowledge, I will not place blame on anyone or anything that took place after the fire started, only what reports have confirmed to be the cause of the fire. Let’s make sure we have learned from the past and have a plan in place should (when) another fire happen(s).

   
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