January 9, 2007
Music to keep you on edge, too.
Because celebrities are known to live here, it seems that every time a waft of smoke appears over Malibu it makes national news. Well, far beyond waft-ness, for those of us just up the coastline from last night’s sudden inferno, this was indeed a real threat.
My friend and neighbor, the immensely talented writer Veronique de Turenne who can accomplish more with seven words than I can with seventy [and three editors], shot the photo above from our bluff. Click on her link for two reasons: to read about the fire, and to enjoy the many wonderful postings on her aptly named blog, Here in Malibu.
Hearing too many sets of sirens racing down Pacific Coast Highway, I stepped outside and saw smoke billowing ominously over the water. Charles and I stayed put at home, glued to the TV coverage. Post modernism at its weirdest: why watch the event through your own eyes, when you can watch it even more compellingly through a TV screen? Hoping the wild winds we’ve had for days wouldn’t shift north, we agreed that we’d begin packing up the cats and the cars if the fire reached Corral Canyon. I’ve been through this too many times. Embers defy gravity and can fly a mile or more on any rogue gust.
The firefighters did an amazing job creating perimeters to contain the scope of the blaze, and were able to get it under control within three hours. It’s a miracle that the wind didn’t move laterally and cause a catastrophe. Once things calmed down, we had our dinner barefoot outside in this bizarrely hot weather, with an unsettling glow in the sky beyond our toes.
The thing that… uh, fries me (oooh, bad pun), is that given the roadside flash point, the fire could possibly have started by someone flicking a lit cigarette butt out the passenger window as they were heading south on PCH. This is a huge issue for me. One day last year I positively terrified some unsuspecting tourist driver who casually threw a flaming-ember butt out the car window as he headed down the little speed bump-infested road that leads into Paradise Cove. Little did he know what kind of insane maniac was behind him. When he got to the main gate to be buzzed in and rolled down his window, I leapt out of my car and immediately got in his face, shrieking at him about what a thoughtless, dangerous, stupid thing he just did and telling him about the Cove having burned down in the past (ok, well, just the area where my home now stands, but who needs details at a time like this?). His girlfriend in the seat next to him was clearly stunned, and he was polite enough to stutter out an apology. Like the task-mistress I truly am, I sternly thanked him and admonished him to never, ever do that again, anywhere.
Either he’ll remember that moment for all time and be a changed and better citizen, or every time he drives he’ll think of my angry face six inches from his and get lunatic pleasure in lighting up pack after pack only to toss the butts out the window at high speed. Crap shoot, huh?
Exhale, now. We dodged a flaming bullet once again.
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