Drove up early yesterday morning from Malibu where I am staying to Santa Barbara to charter a flight over the fire damage in the towns around Ventura where the forest fires were last fall. We also flew over Montecito where the mudslides were.
Think scorched earth and devastation with pockets of homes completely preserved. Odd.
The fires progressed from above in the hills back behind where the population centers are, but also threatened orchards, vineyards and horse farms, as well as homes.
In places, fire came right over Highway101 to the sea
(the darker areas here were caused by the fire as it jumped over the highway).
The mudslides in Montecito happened because the vegetation burned above the town, allowing the rain to flow down the valleys like a river, scouring and loosening the dirt.
some homes flooded and appearing submerged by the mud. Two story homes with just the roof left.
I found pockets of land untouched, whether from firefighters working to protect or land owners out for hours with hoses and digging fire breaks.
The fire damage looking as if from a blast zone. How terrible to know this was coming towards you and powerless to stop it. All your worldly possessions and the small things: pictures, momentos from an earlier time, an anniversary, a wedding, a funeral. Gone in an instant. Watching your home catching fire and running to escape with your life and little else.
I wonder how many negatives or digital files went up in smoke, how many prints?
My heart goes out to those that lost so much. These two disasters serving as reminders that life and all that we hold dear is fleeting and can be gone in an instant.