The big wildfires which this week swept through Southern California have been pretty much doused or contained, letting solution providers and other IT people in hard-hit San Diego sneak back into their homes commando-style and get back in business.
And many of those homes were saved by, of all things, ice plants.
About 19 of those fires rage from northern Los Angeles County and Malibu Beach through Orange County and down to San Diego County. While most were caused by a long-term dry spell and, in some cases, downed power lines or destroyed power transformers, at least three are suspected of being purposely set
They are reminiscent of the fires which almost exactly four years ago scoured Southern California . They caused the evacuation of nearly one million people and the loss of nearly 2,000 homes.
Bruce Geier, founder, president, and CEO of Technology Integration Group, a San Diego-based solution provider, said his company's office was untouched by the fire, but his home was nearly lost.
Overall, the damage caused by the fires in San Diego was focused mainly on residential areas, Geier said. "Businesses did not really feel the 'heat.'"
Geier was forced to leave his home on Monday, but by Tuesday afternoon curiosity overcame his fear of the smoke and the National Guard as he and his 16-year-old son snuck back into his smoking neighborhood to see how his house was doing. "We just wanted to see if our house was OK," he said.
To do so, it was necessary to get around law enforcement and National Guard roadblocks set up on the main roads to prevent looting and to prevent homeowners from entering potential dangerous neighborhoods. "But around here, there are a lot of streets going every whichy-way," Geier said.
They drove to a point close to home from where they could walk in across a smoldering landscape with no birds, leaves, or other foliage, Geier said. "It was like walking on the moon," he said. "We should have had masks, but we didn't."
They walked to a point where they could see through binoculars that their house as well as the rear deck was still standing when they were spotted by a helicopter that was circling the area looking for hotspots and which may have mistaken them for looters.
"They probably radioed in that we were here," Geier said. "So we took off running. My son is as fast as a rabbit. He left me way behind. I must've lost three pounds because of all the sweat. We got in the car and turned the air conditioning on to cool down, and my son said, let's do it again."
They didn't. Instead, they left the area, passing through two National Guard roadblocks who warned them to not enter the area again.
Next: Heading Back Home