The fires began Saturday and today is Tuesday
0 percent contained as more and more people are evacuated. Fifteen thousand have taken shelter at Qualcomm Stadium and other designated areas throughout the city. The air quality is poorhot and smokey with with a thick haze all over the city.
I live in the center of the city and last night I started to feel paranoid about the fires from the north and the south converging inward. The news was calling it the perfect firestorm. I packed up emergency supplies in case we needed to evacuate--ready to go at first word.
Since then, I’ve felt more of an urge to help evacuees. This seems to be the consensus among San Diegans right now. My roommate works for a cell phone company that set up a communication center at Qualcomm Stadium for evacuated families to get in touch with loved ones and to check on the status of their property. I’ve received a few emails from colleagues organizing donation drives.
Today I attended a Red Cross emergency volunteer training session with my roommate. We were added to a list and will be contacted when additional support centers are opened. When we got to Qualcomm Stadium, we decided to park over a mile away to avoid contributing to the long line of traffic.
First we helped a family carry supplies. The mother had her two young boys carrying heavy boxes. We offered help and found an empty shopping cart along the way and sent them off. Next we waited in the “volunteer” line to be turned away because they already had too many volunteers. Too many volunteers? We offered our assistance to a group of volunteers transporting wooden pallets and were put to work.
Given the circumstances, the morale at the stadium is generally positive. I saw a child standing in a giant pile of stuffed animals. In one hand, he had a bag that he managed to tip on its side and with the other hand he shoveled stuffed animals into the bag.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the family with the two little boys who we helped earlier. They were preparing to spend the night at the stadium. Chances are, I have friends and colleagues who are in similar situations. I’m very concerned for everyone. I hope you all are safe.