San Diego Ablaze

Iman Jafarynejad

The large scope of the Southern California wildfires was what humbled most residents in San Diego County. An eerie red, glowing sky gave insight into how widespread the fires actually occured. Just outside the cities alongside Interstate 5, the back country was ablaze in a massive display of the power of nature.

Just south of Orange County, the sky became thick with billowing columns of smoke. Many people throughout the affected areas spoke of the power of God and the name was brought up as a continuous theme throughout the first days of intense burning. “Thank God, we, at least, made it out alive.” “What God has given, He can take away.” “If we let go of what God has taken away, He’ll give that back and even more.”

What’s interesting about fire, whether 60-foot wildfire flames or one-foot campfire flames, is that it demonstrates the same behavior. It reacts to oxygen. The more fuel it has, the hotter it’ll burn and when it has decided to finish, only ash remain.

In the case of the wildfires, the offshore Santa Ana winds provided a rush of oxygen, fanning the flames. The years without natural fires to clean up the dry brush left the insatiable firestorms plenty of fuel. The homes destroyed in fire resembled the ashes that could find in a campfire pit after a night of burning logs. In other natural disasters, like earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes, there are some salvageable belongings. The fires left homes completely leveled except for their brick chimneys, resembling tombstones, marking the loss for thousands of families.

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