Today, in conjunction with our study of disaster preparedness and resilience, for our slice 6B Slicers were challenged to recall a time when they experienced resilience. For me, this challenge brought back memories of a forest fire I experienced as a child.
The Ojai Fire of 1985
My family’s home is located just on the edge of the Los Padres National Forest. At the time, our small canyon community consisted of 12 family homes. Behind our home there runs a small creek and, in 1985, our home was one of only two homes in the neighborhood with a pool. We first became aware of the potential threat when we began to smell smoke, a quick look to the heavens revealed a “fire sky” - an orange haze cloaked the valley. We began to make preparations to evacuate. Soon, the local forest service officials arrived formally initiating evacuation procedures. We knew the drill - take only what you can carry, take valuables, take family photos, take important documents, take your pets. Say goodbye to your home - it might not be there when you return.
The fire was merciless. It jumped the creek behind our house attacking the brush on either side of the banks. All around our house, everything burned. Still, our family was very lucky. Our home was saved. Firefighters were stationed at our home, our pool proving a valuable asset in combatting the blaze. In fact, our entire canyon community was extremely fortunate. The firefighters were able to save all 12 homes. And, now, so many years later, we remain forever grateful to those brave men and women who defended our homes.