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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Santa Catalina Fire

Photo: Santa Catalina Island
as seen from down the road from the cottage.
* note: I took this photo during a winter sunset - that is not the fire, simply the setting sun.

**UPDATE: Today (Tuesday, May 15th, the fire on the island is 100% contained. A total of 4,700 acres burned. They are keeping 270 firefighters on the island as a precaution. A HIGH FIVE to all the wonderful men and women who helped save our island!!)

I am heartsick. Tonight, as I write this post, a 500+ acre fire is raging on 'my' island - Santa Catalina. Most of the island has been evacuated, as far as I can discern from the news reports. The fire is approaching Avalon, the only 'city' on the island.

All during my youth my family and I spent at least a couple of weekends a month docked in Avalon Bay. My uncle Lee had been a commercial fisherman all his life. In later years, Uncle Lee became the Captain of a 65 foot yacht that belonged to a major corporation -- one great perk was...on the weekends it became the family yacht.

I would awaken on misty mornings, peer out the port hole and gaze upon the Casino in Avalon. The beautiful art deco Casino was built in 1929 -- just walking into it you felt its history. In the evening we often would go to the movie theater on the first floor of the Casino.

When we would leave the docks in San Pedro and get out to sea, my uncle would ask me if I would like to 'Captain' the yacht -- and as I did I would often hear the history of the island...uncle Lee was a walking, talking volume of history. It was because of him I came to love the sea and all things nautical.

Catalina closed to the public during WWII and was used as a military training facility. It was also the training camp for the Chicago Bears who were owned by William Wrigley, Jr...yes, the chewing gum Wrigley -- and his home sat beautifully on a cliff overlooking Avalon Bay. In the 1940s Marilyn Monroe lived on the island for a short time!

To me, Catalina holds some of my best memories. So tonight I hold on to hope that containment comes quickly - and the morning brings good news.

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  • At 5:47 AM , Blogger Britt-Arnhild said...

    I am crossing my fingers that the firemen can get this huge fire under control. So devastating!

  • At 10:56 AM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    britt-arnhild...thank you so much for your concern! Thanks to favorable weather conditions the situation is much better. About two square miles of the island burned (it is 76 square miles in total). One home was destroyed and a half dozen industrial businesses. No one was injured. The residents are now all returning to the island.

    Of course my concern now is the ecological damages. Recently bald eagles were hatched - and I have heard they are all safe and sound. The island is also inhabited by foxes and bison - no word on those yet.

  • At 9:36 AM , Blogger Cre8Tiva said...

    I am so glad that the fire is under control. I have been in CA during fires. It is frightening. I have a home on a Florida island. I could not imagine... I pray for all those island residents.

    Blessings Today!

  • At 11:50 AM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    I am sure your prayers are appreciated. I was so relieved that more homes were not destroyed. These islanders are not 'wealthy' people in a monetary fashion - most are hardworking families...but they are 'rich' in many ways.

    Take care Rebecca, I am happy that you continue to stop by here.


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