Apocalypse in Paradise

Southern California fires are pretty democratic, they hit the mansions and trailer parks and everything in between with the same cruelty… The current definition of a Californian is still “did or did not escape the fires?”

Brea fires 2008 michele roohani

“Devil winds, hill-hopping infernos, smoked mansions, torched trailers, barren freeways, and brilliant sunsets lingering in low-hanging canopies of burnt dreams.” That’s how Steve Lopez  describes all hell breaking loose in California.

staying cool in california fires

Last year in october I wrote:”wildfires, burning out of control, are continuing to threaten thousands of homes in California. You can’t help but to have this incredible sense of the fragility of everything. As human beings we are wired to think that everything will stay the way it is, safe from sudden and intense changes…” My childhood home burnt down in 1970—my barbie collection got charred along with the rest of the house…

palm trees on fire in california michele roohani

Palm trees help spread fire—I’ve never liked them much—to see an amazing photo essay click here.

yorba linda mansions on fire

It’s amazing how fire spares a house or two in the middle of a whole burnt neighborhood—my friend’s  house in Anaheim hills stayed intact when his neighbor’s got completely destroyed; his daughter, Kimiya, has sent me these pictures of their street:


kimiya khosrovani fires michele roohani 4

kimiya khosrovani fires michele roohani 1

and this one:

kimiya khosrovani fires michele roohani 2

The chimneys are the only things standing in most burnt houses.

sean khosrovani anaheim hills fires 2008 night

To watch a powerful clip from BBC, click here.

diamond bar fires 2008

“Often it takes some calamity to make us live in the present.” Bill Watterson