Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Hell Fires Pass Katrina Evacuation Record
California's "Hell Fires" (for lack of a better name) have made history.
Yesterday they were in second place to New Orleans, but now over half million people have been evacuated, far more than the number fleeing Katrina's drowning pools.
The Super dome has been replaced with Qualcomm Stadium --and people fleeing a surreal fire and brimstone scene. One house burns while the one next to it is spared. One man returned to find his garage burned but the house next to it was still standing. Lucky man.
In 2005 I was driving water and supplies to Louisiana when FEMA was no where to be seen. In 2007, California doesn't need me; it needs firefighter crews from around the country -- and more aircraft that can dump water and retardant on the wildfires.
One scene that stuck out was the TV shot of a guy manning an ordinary water hose. He and others had banded together and saved at least one house in their neighborhood. That's the American spirit and unsung (ordinary) American heroes at work even when it doesn't get much TV coverage.
I think the silver lining is that a lot of the people now out of their homes in California will have a better idea what the folks in New Orleans went through two years ago. Losing it all in seconds. Your whole life changed forever by an act of nature outside anyone's control. Relying on the kindness of strangers. Starting over and rebuilding. Realizing that life is more important than the stuff in your house. But it still hurts, losing everything you had.
It could be worse. Add car bombs and snipers and these same people would have a clue what civilians in Iraq are going through every day.
Let's do what it takes to help our neighbors in California, and not forget our neighbors in New Orleans who are still struggling. It's the American thing to do.