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    The New York Times CompanyJose A. Del Real11/13/187 min
    5 reads8 comments
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    The New York Times Company
    5 reads
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    • jamie
      Scribe
      3 years ago

      God Lord...... I have often wondered what it would be like if you were the guy who had his house stay intact but everything around was destroyed. There is a home in Florida that survived but all the homes around were destroyed, completely washed away and leveled. The engineering and construction worked and the home survived. Obviously this is an amazingly fortunate situation for the owners, not to lose all your personal belongings. BUT, what do you come back to? A decimated , lonely, barren moonscape, that will take decades to make livable. It is so sad and difficult to wrap your head around. Erica, your Dad will certainly survive.... It is the aftermath of this event will linger and become life changing. It is inevitable that mindsets and priorities shift. It happened to me! I am a different person after Sandy, not better , just different. These defining life events are difficult but in an odd way spiritually awakening. I would not want this to ever happen to anyone but when it does remember those people need time to adjust to the new norm. Those people need emotional support and love. Having a connected family and a sense of community is invaluable. Just being emotionally available is huge, and that is why I am so sure your family is going to be fine. You guys have such a close family bond and connection. Events like this only deepen family bonds and appreciation for each other. You guys are special. Stay positive and know we are always available to assist in any way.

      • erica3 years ago

        Thank you so much, Jamie.

        It is a crazy thought experiment. Kind of like, how would it feel to be the last person on earth?

      • bill
        Top reader of all time
        3 years ago

        Beautiful thoughts, Jamie.

        Three cheers to this: "These defining life events are difficult but in an odd way spiritually awakening."

    • erica3 years ago

      These fires are so scary and sad. In an attempt to understand why my father stayed in our house on Point Dume during the mandatory evacuation, I wrote what I imagined was going through his head:

      Wildfires ravage Malibu. A mandatory evacuation ordered all residents out of the city, but I hide and stay in my house. The smoke is so thick I can barely breathe, but I’m not gonna wear one of those ridiculous masks. They don’t even do anything. I won’t leave until the flames lick my front door. If it comes to that, I’ll put a rope over the bluff and rappel down to the beach. I’ll take my backpack with guns, ammo, five thousand dollars cash, and water. I’ll survive. I’m a sixty-one-year-old man in peak health. I climb Mount Whitney every year on my birthday. When my son worked in Tanzania, I flew to visit him and we conquered Kili. I hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim in a day with my daughter and her boyfriend, though they insisted on carrying my backpack the last few miles. I stand guard. Embers float in the air and land in front of my house. I stomp them out before they become flames. Fire spreads so fast: I watch neighboring houses burn to the ground before I can save them. I don’t sleep. There’s no food or electricity. My wife drove into Los Angeles to stay with friends. She calls me crazy, but our entire lives are in this house. I don’t trust that firefighters will save everything. When the wildfires move on, my family will realize I’m a hero.

      • bill
        Top reader of all time
        3 years ago

        Interesting. I'd stay home too. And probably for many of the same reasons.

        I'm curious/confused/surprised about "backpack with guns, ammo" - what the hell is that all about?! My absolute LAST priority would be defending myself against strangers, "others."

        Before she coined the term "mansplain," Rebecca Solnit wrote about "elite panic" (versus altruism) in the face of severe disaster. Most people behave exceedingly well, with courage - they go way above and beyond to help one another. Only the elites panic, desperate to protect the inequalities they have long benefitted from.

        You familiar with this?

        https://reallyread.it/articles/-the-new-york-times-company/a-paradise-built-in-hell-by-rebecca-solnit

    • joanne3 years ago

      So frightening, I can't even imagine the terror of being stuck in traffic and then being told to abandon your car and run thru a virtual fire storm. These are disasters that are beyond our scope of experience and they will continue to be more and more horrific and deadly. Hopefully we will get some common sense dialogue going to start dealing with climate change.

    • jamie
      Scribe
      3 years ago

      This is so scary..... Is it possible to build a fireproof house? It seems like it should be possible, and during these times people just have to stay put in their homes, instead of running into peril. It sounds like many deaths were during the evacuation, in cars. We can make hurricane and flood proof homes, there are tornado shelters.... It seems catastrophic fires are natural disasters that we have not come to terms with. It seems like these events are going to become more common and more severe. So disturbing.

    • bill
      Top reader of all time
      3 years ago

      The main photo is haunting.

      Overall, I think there are two ways to look at this: (1) 44 isn't really THAT many people (2) this is the largest AND deadliest!? In other words: (1) whatever (2) holy shit. I feel a bit of both, but mostly the latter.

      Great work NYTimes for capturing the human experiences and quotes. Reading this is like reading fiction.

      Be safe, people! These fires will probably keep getting stronger.