I woke up this morning to the sound of loud knocking. 

In my sleepy state of mind I thought it was our son trying to tell us he needed to wake up and go pee. But we quickly realized the surprising reality that it was actually someone at our front door.

Nearly pitch black, with the sound of wind blowing hard outside, my husband called “who is it?” We were both relieved (yet simultaneously alarmed) that it was our neighbor from across the street.

“There’s another fire,” she said. “It’s been burning since 3am and we’re in the evacuation zone.”

My heart stopped. Am I dreaming?

We had just gone through the #PalisadesFire less than a week ago. That was scary but more manageable because it started during the day and we were a mile from the evacuation zone. More importantly, the fire was smaller and a lot less destructive.

Our neighbor’s news freaked us out so we got to work packing and preparing to evacuate.

I can’t explain the feeling of packing a bag with the items I want to save from a fire. My husband and I both were surprisingly non-nostalgic. We packed just the essentials – clothing for a few days, toiletries, money, jewelry, important paperwork, and our wedding album (well, I was still kinda nostalgic).

As I looked around the house at all the items I live with daily, my houseplants, kids’ artwork, family photos, furniture, etc. I knew that if necessary, I could live without all of it. And yet lots of families didn’t even have the choice.

Hundreds of families had to rush out of their homes in the middle of the night, knowing that none of their belongings might be there when they returned.

Waking up the children was an exercise in patience. I tried to stay calm but they were both still in a dreamy state and they didn’t understand why I was getting them dressed so early and not going to let them eat breakfast in their pajamas per usual.

The more I learned about the fire, the more safe I felt for my little family. We were quite a ways away from fire itself and technically we were in a voluntary evacuation area. However, my mother, father and one of my brothers all live in the mandatory evacuation zone. 

So I started the family phone tree calling each family member and keeping them updated on everyone else’s situation. As of now, things are quiet. But apparently the winds are about to kick up again so we’re not yet safe.

So we have our suitcases by the door, the car is packed, and we’re ready to go and say goodbye to our home as soon as they say we must. 

I pray for everyone everywhere all the time but today, in particular, my heart goes out to all the people being displaced and affected by the numerous fires in California. Mother Nature is one crazy bitch (and I mean that with all due respect).

Stay safe out there. Click here to stay informed. Help each other and let’s acknowledge the bravery of our firefighters and first responders. I am so grateful.