I have lived in Santa Barbara for all my life, and nothing I’ve seen can match this. I am 10 years old, and this is probably the most tragic disaster in the last 100 years. You can’t match the pungent smell and the horrible, unsettling, dark clouds that hover over the city. My sister has asthma, and she was coughing all night. That’s when we decided we had to leave. We left for San Luis Obispo on a Thursday, 7/12/17. The sky was like a gray blur.
When we got to San Luis, we were in blue skies. I looked up, and I thought that Santa Barbara had been nuked. There was a big mushroom cloud over Santa Barbara. (I found out later that what I saw was the smoke). We went to Hearst’s Castle, and some book stores. We were originally going to leave on Sunday, but we left on Monday because of the smoke, and school was canceled. When we got back, it was insane.
When I got my first glimpse of the fire, I thought we were in the Apocalypse. The Sun was red, the sky looked like a nuclear test site, and the hills were burnt and scarred. My dad right then booked a plane to Boston, to see me and my sister’s cousins. When we got to Ventura, the air was clean compared to Santa Barbara. It was literally night and day. We got burritos to go for the plane, and then went to LAX.
We boarded the plane, and took off. It was a 5 or 6 hour plane ride, and me, my mom, and my sister were watching Planet of the Apes. We kept trying to get all of our screens to go at the exact same time (We had multiple screens) but we eventually gave up and watched the movie. When we got to Boston, it was freezing. It was 20 something degrees, and there was ice on the roads. For me, that’s like a miracle. Our winter is 80-85 degrees. We basically don’t have winter. When we left, it was 80 something degrees. When we arrived it was about 20 degrees. We are still in Boston. We are going to leave on January 1st.
We are watching the news, and keeping our fingers crossed. If you don’t feel safe in Santa Barbara, leave. To me, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. It felt worse than the scariest horror movie I’ve ever seen. Don’t be optimistic, be hopeful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to be pessimistic, but to stay safe.
If you are in or near a mandatory evacuation, don’t stay. It means you need to leave. You are not only putting yourself in danger, but more firefighters. Their main priority is to save you. If you are there, firefighters have to save you. They need to be fighting the fire, not trying to save you.
If you are in a voluntary evacuation, you need to pack up and be prepared to leave.