This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series blogthomasfire

Dear Friends,

It’s been quite an eventful few weeks. I was just getting on a roll here posting a series of cover songs in honor of the #gershwinprize composers and starting the #gershwinprizechallenge (more about that later)

THEN… along came what life’s small print likes to term AN ACT OF GOD (otherwise known in this case as the THOMAS FIRE).

I woke up December 5th early morning in the dark to the “plink” of three missed calls and panicked. Why? Because they all informed me that a fast-moving wildfire—a fire which had absolutely not existed, even in the glint of our nighttime Santa Ana Wind’s eye, when I lay down to rest for the night—was burning through my nearby hometown of Ojai, California!

There was a voicemail on my phone from my friend who was evacuating from the flames in her car with just two suitcases and her 8-month-old baby and looking for a safe place to stay until morning.

I had missed that message (and thankfully, they found a safe place to stay after that call).

There were a couple texts from emergency-warning-services for fires in some confusingly vague locations.

I had missed that.

I stumbled out of the bedroom and flicked on a hallway light long enough to get my bearings.

Then the power went out, and over the period of a few minutes, I was receiving intermittent texts warning of various nearby fire dangers. Without electricity it was hard to tell what was truly nearby and what was not. No power means no wi-fi, and my mobile internet and voice-service seemed to be down as well. Since the electricity had been out during the night when people were trying to reach me, I had not received any information until now when it might be too late!

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