I’m looking at a lot of fire maps these days.
<Bigsurkate.wordpress.com> posts daily all kinds of maps of the Soberanes Fire, now almost two weeks old, 40,000+ acres and growing.
We fire refugees begin each day in our exile staring compulsively at the infrared topo maps, briefing maps, operations maps, situations maps, elevation maps, day by day expansion maps, dozer maps, weather maps, Google Earth.
We locate our little spot. We follow the curve in Palo Colorado Road that shows the bottom of Murray Grade, the black dot that’s our Mid-Coast Fire Station, the blue creek line and the black topo lines. We find where we think our house is. Where it still is, we are told.
Very near the house was a bold red line for ten days, which meant active fire. Yesterday for the first time that section of the line was black, contained. Only 18% of the line around the huge fire is black.
Then we zoom out and see where it’s growing, over ridges, jumping firelines, hot spots. We learn new geography names, White Rock Dip, Mescal Ridge.
This NASA map from space shows what they call the “burn scar.” The weird green around the burn scar is obviously not “accurate” – it looks like a lush Eden, but the officials at our fire meetings say that our actually grey and brown landscape, steep granite and chaparral, is the hardest terrain they’ve even seen to fight a wildfire.
We’re a little frozen in our waiting and watching. We stare, we wonder, we check the maps again.
Ron’s reading Evelyn Waugh’s novel trilogy about WWII. I’m reading Marcus Borg’s novel about teaching religion. Then I check the maps again.
We feel helpless, grateful, worried, accepting, lucky, mad, tired, displaced.
I keep thinking of watchers. Can you not watch with me but one hour, ye watchers and ye holy ones, as for me I will watch expectantly, set up a watchtower.
We’re watching and waiting.