Ferocious fires burning

We sure lost a lot of sleep last week during all those ferocious fires in Southern California. Lots of our family members live down there right in the middle of all the smoke and very close to the flames. Our daughter Cindy and her family were evacuated when the flames came over the hill that borders their backyard in the Ramona Country Estates. The telephones were ringing early last Monday morning when the reverse 911 system was activated in Ramona. That's when instead of residents dialing 911 for emergencies, 911 dials the residents and makes announcements such as prepare for mandatory evacuation. A fast-moving wildland fire was advancing toward the little town of Ramona.

We knew the fires were very serious when our East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts sent its fire trucks and firefighters to assist the California firefighters. It reminded me of a wildland fire near us when we lived in San Diego and the flames rushed across a steep hill and nearly into our backyard. It was very scary, and I lost a lot of sleep then too.

Besides losing sleep over the horrendous wildland fires last week, my heart beat even faster when I heard heavy footprints on the roof of our home last Monday night. It was very dark and I was very alarmed. I thought the bear that had been visiting us recently had climbed up the wooden walls of our house and was now stomping across the roof. My husband finally convinced me that the bear couldn't climb up to the roof, even though Clyde, our big cat, can do it easily. So now we think it might have been a large great horned owl jumping around on the roof. I'd rather have that than a bear!

Thoughts from Gene Hammerlun

Longtime Fish Springs resident Gene Hammerlun wrote his feelings about the lessons of living around wildlife and he would like to share his thoughts about this:

"My son Justin recently returned from deployment to those troubled waters and he and I were talking about the current bear activities here in Fish Springs. Although we both have spent a lot of time outdoors and have ridden extensively in the surrounding hills, neither of us has ever encountered a mountain lion, a rattlesnake or a bear here in this area.

"There is, of course, plenty evidence that these critters are around and we do not doubt our neighbors who have spotted them. I believe I would enjoy watching a bear do his bear activities so long as the bear is not as desperate from drought-driven hunger as to be no longer fearful of people. I do watch the wild horses to observe the ways the herd operates as a structured family but I sure wish they would stay away from subdivisions.

"I like to hear the western sounds of coyotes singing at night, but I hate to hear our good laying hens yell for help as they are being carried away to become a coyote's meal. I truly hope we all can learn the lessons of living around wildlife. We must try not to make our properties too attractive to our wild neighbors lest they become annoying pests or even dangerous adversaries."

-- Linda Monohan may be reached at 782-5802.


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