Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Big Sur Fires

With family all across the country, it seems that I always have a news connection. Floods in Iowa? Let's call Andy. Or Missy. Or Mia. Or Aunt Carol. Or Amanda. With family in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Maine, Massachussetts, South Carolina and Washington, DC, there's always someone to contact somewhere.

Aunt Jackie (San Jose) was kind enough to email me about the Big Sur fires. Andrew and I have a vacation planned for our anniversary, where we're flying into LA and renting a convertible. The plan was (and hopefully still is) to drive up Highway 1 through Big Sur. We were going to spend a day in San Simeone and a few days in Monterey. With a few hours in San Francisco (where we were hoping to be able to visit with my cousin Christopher and maybe even my cousin Jerry), we were then planning on camping in the redwoods. Our flight home is going to be out of San Francisco, so no matter what, we have to find a non-fire effected way to get from LA to San Francisco!

So far, the state park department hasn't gotten back to me to let me know if the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park has been effected by the thousands of wildfires in California. Aunt Jackie, however, has sent me maps of central and northern California, showing me where the fires have effected and where the highways are closed. She had a lot of information on the Basin Complex fire, which is the fire that's effecting Big Sur and Highway 1 and has burned the most acres. Thirty-one miles of Highway 1 had been closed!

I was definitely disappointed. Aunt Bette had told me how beautiful the drive was through the California coast line (she'd done the same drive, only north to south, with Grandma Jo and Aunt Jackie a few years back), and I was really looking forward to it. I'm willing to adjust my plans if need be, but I'm hoping, hoping that the fire will be contained by the time of our trip (August 8).

The news reports say it won't be contained until at least July 31, but there's been good news over the last few days. The fire is actually a whopping 23% contained, when only a few days ago it was at 8%. As of yesterday, they've officially reopened a lot of Highway 1, but only to residents and fire crews. It's still closed a bit further north, though...

So, here's to our fire fighters. May they stay safe and have the luck of the weather on their side. I hope the forests and historic sites will be saved, and I hope everything works out so I can have the chance to see the beauty of the coast (and hopefully not too much smoke!).

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