Thursday, May 1, 2008

Scorched earth


By David Gewirtz

It's been a rough couple of days. We're OK, but the Florida fires got close. Real close. Like probably about a hundred yards away close. The pool house in our development caught fire. A fire-rescue trailer at the school across the street caught fire, and no matter where you go, there's scorched earth. Literally.

We evacuated on Monday night, We spent most of yesterday driving around Florida, and we got back last night. Power's back on, and I'm just catching up.

If you've seen all the news reports, or the CNN stuff, they're broadcasting from the school across the street from where I live. And it was arson. They caught one suspect, but they're not sure if there are more.

There were 11 separate ground-zero fire locations in Palm Bay alone. More than 10,000 acres in Palm Bay burned, more than 20 families lost homes, over 162 homes damaged. We're ok, though. Quite freaked out, but we're ok. Kudos go to the Palm Bay and Brevard County fire departments. Those guys worked intensely, and did their best, but by Monday night, they were completely overwhelmed and out of resources. By Tuesday night, more statewide resources came in and they started catching up.

There are still fires in Palm Bay, but not near residences. There are fires in Cocoa (about 20 minutes north) and in Daytona (another 20 minutes north), and we're not expected to have rain for at least a week, so conditions are still pretty scary. But hopefully the worst is over.

I'm absolutely exhausted, so I think I'm going to skip publishing articles this week, other than this update. I'm just going to do the weekly update and the news, which Senior Editor James Booth kept running from his top secret lair located somewhere in an undisclosed location deep within fly-over country while Denise and I were escaping our own private, little armageddon. Our servers kept running as well, since they're inside a nuke-proof bunker in yet another mid-America location.

In fact, I may just run this note as our only article to bring everyone up to date. I've still not completely processed all that happened. On Monday night and Tuesday, we were facing the question of what happens if the house goes and we lose everything. We didn't, and our home is still here, but it's definitely going to leave a bit of a mark emotionally.

Anyway, I have a few thousand emails to catch up with, and am going to try to resume some degree of normal daily life. But if I'm a little off for the next few days, I hope you'll understand.