California fires continue; area OOIDA member tells story

| 10/25/2007

All lanes of Interstate 5 in Southern California were open Thursday, Oct. 25, following intermittent closures because of smoke and fires.

However, 13 state highways remained closed in the San Diego and San Bernardino areas as of Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Transportation Web site.

According to The Associated Press, slower winds and cooler temperatures have helped firefighters contain many of the smaller blazes. But several large fires are still far from being contained.

The California fires have burned nearly half a million acres and displaced half a million residents during the last four days.

The wildfires almost made their way into the canyon neighborhood of OOIDA member Ty Bailey. Bailey and his wife live in Val Verde, which is north of Los Angeles.

He told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio he was on the road when the flames nearly reached his home.

“They evacuated part of my neighborhood and left the other half as a voluntary evacuation. My wife chose to stay, along with several of my neighbors,” Bailey said. “It’s a feeling of helplessness – it’s gut-wrenching at some points, because you have your loved ones there, in the middle of that danger.”

Bailey said firefighters did a great job – through back burning and other measures – in containing the fire before it got to his neighborhood.

– By Reed Black, staff writer