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  • Scenes From the Woolsey Fire

    Scenes From the Woolsey Fire


    For the Point Dume Bombers and other residents of the Santa Monica Mountains, fighting the California wildfire was an ad hoc effort.

    “There’s a fire.” It was around 11 at night when my husband said it. I opened my eyes and saw the blue glow of his phone. He got out of bed and walked around for a moment. Then he said it again: “There’s a fire.”

    It had started in Woolsey Canyon, near Simi Valley, in the afternoon and was now burning through Agoura Hills, about 15 miles west of our house in Topanga Canyon. It was too close for comfort but not an immediate threat to us. We went back to sleep, clutching our phones.

    We snapped awake at 5:55 a.m. to the sound of our power going out. When the barely perceptible hum of our house switched off, the sudden dead quiet was startling.

    My husband showered first, as usual. Later, when I was in the shower, I heard the bathroom door open. This is normally when he says goodbye. Instead, he spoke two words in a firm tone: “Don’t dally.”

    I got dressed and loaded our dog, Yoshi, into my car. There was still time to grab stuff, but I didn’t know it. With the power out, we had no Wi-Fi and no cell service, and no way of knowing how close the fire was.

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