This is not a recent photo of my beloved Green Valley Lake, it's just me being optimistic amidst all the fiery madness.
In my last post, I linked to a much-needed GVL-focused story in the Press-Enterprise. I sent the reporter and photographer a thank you note. (As a former and sometimes-present reporter, I remember how few and far between these can be.) The reporter, Mark Muckenfuss - who sounds like he should be a character in Harry Potter - kindly sent me a note back that gave life to my hopes:
"Thanks for your note Heather. I drove down Wild Cherry from the north end to Yukon and saw no damaged homes on that stretch. Hope you can keep enjoying your cabin."
That is precisely our street that he is talking about so it looks like we are intact ... today.
However, the Slide Fire has burned 13,700 acres was just 20 percent contained by late Friday afternoon, with 10,000 houses still threatened and many mandatory evacuations still in place. It's progress but it remains an agonizing battle.
Eric Spillman, a reporter at KTLA, is doing an admirable job with not only his on-site broadcast reporting but his blogging as well. He often ends up playing traffic cop to reader opinions and feelings which are raw and hyper-sensitive right now. That alone is a full time job. He opened his Wednesday post with this observation regarding GVL, population 600:
"This tiny town may have lost more homes per capita than any other in Southern California."
Also, I'm reading some unfortunate facts - that firefighters had to literally abandon GVL late Monday because the fire became too dangerous. Consequently, a number of residents, including the retired fire chief, stayed behind and battled with what few hoses they had.
The retired chief, Martin Neville, is now being lambasted for criticizing the fire department and I would agree that loss of a human life is not worth any structure; my family would not be comforted by the survival of our little cabin had it robbed someone of their loved one. No way.
Still, if the Green Valley Lake Inn, the local watering hole, isn't a pile of ash when I finally get there in late November, I'm buying a round of drinks for these stubborn fools.
Supposedly, they are going to post a list of homes that are no longer on the San Bernardino website but I can't find the list on the site and I'm too exhausted right now to dig further. I'll check tomorrow or call the hotline, 877-885-7654.
Cross your fingers!