Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: FEMA Incoming

I did get lots of emails and even some calls, but this is a quick note to say that I am safe from the fires for now. I am pretty close to the airport and quite well insulated by surrounding urban development although I can see huge pillars of smoke along the horizon. Because I was to have taken an exam on Monday, I actually spent most of the weekend looked into a small room with no TV or media and had literally no idea anything was going on until I arrived at the campus. The sun was rising and saw the sky was a kind of sick colour resembling the weird sky near the end of the Quatermass Conclusion when most of the people on earth under 20 have been converted into cosmic space dust candy by the Sky God and their residue is beginning to block out the sun.

These maps show the local San Diego fires, these show thermal imagery, and this one shows the whole SoCal thing. There’s pretty ones and even big picture ones. There’s even raw incident reports. It’s all about the weather, and the crazy Santa Ana winds (they actually blew over some of the multi-axle freight trucks).

The compulsory evacuation zone grew to just a horizon or so from the UCSD campus and the air was quite toxic (resembling Dublin in the coal-burning 1980s) so school was cancelled until further notice. The hotel where me and Lisa stayed last March is actually in the middle of the worst-hit zone (“Rancho Bernardo“) and that area now looks like World War 1’s No-Man’s Land. On TV, reporters are running around trying to get money shots of burning houses and then the pathos shot of poking through smouldering rubble pointing out melted PCs and family heirlooms and so on.

Anyway, there are many satellite shots of the plumes, professional and amateur photography, blogs blogs blogs, and NBC announced that FEMA will be “getting involved”. People have even found some redeeming uses for the formerly hilariously narcissistic Twitter. There are emergency services radio chatter streams. Webcams. Power outages. Wikis. TV. Finally, it’s (mostly) not snark, it’s Fark 8 9 10.

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