Apple Days come every fall to the mountain town of Julian. Orchards blanket the area and the red and green fruit hangs heavy and luscious.
Last week when I visited Julian, I drove around in the country, enjoying the oaks and pines and orchards. Then I parked in town and bought pie at Mom’s. Pushing open the screen door, I stepped out on Main Street and saw this.
Fire. Fire anywhere in a dry mountain area is frightening. For the folks in Julian, it triggers horrible memories. In 2003, a fire that started here eventually spread to areas all over San Diego. Living 60 miles from Julian, I was in the path of that massive fire and evacuated with my two cats. The course of the fire changed with the wind and my home was spared. Others were not so fortunate. Homes were lost, businesses burned to the ground, people were injured and some died. The effects of that fire are still plain today.
Later reports said that Cal Fire responded with 25 engines, eight fire crews, four air tankers, three helicopters, a water tender and a bulldozer. I headed home and for most of my 60-mile drive, emergency vehicles continued to race to Julian with sirens blaring.
Three days later, the fire still burns, but the news is that the fire is “contained.” A few people are injured but no one died. The story is so different from the momentous time of 2003. Response was organized, ready, timely, efficient, life-saving.
We learn from the hard times. We prepare to fight if the fires come again. We enlist help from those around us. Meanwhile, we enjoy the delicious fruit of life, but we remember that it is fragile.
How about you? Who will you call on to help you contain the fires? Who are your “emergency vehicle” people who could be summoned day or night to help? If we can name them, we can also say a prayer of thanks for them. And maybe treat them to some apple pie a la mode this season.