[Healeys] Spring Fire in Newbury Park, California

Chris Dimmock austin.healey at gmail.com
Sat May 4 01:42:09 MDT 2013

Hi Bert,
i was only just reading about the fire this afternoon here in Sydney Australia

My prayers are with you and your family, good luck and hope it all goes well
for everyone involved. I grew up near a National Park in Sydney, and it never
got as bad for us as you have described.

On 04/05/2013, at 3:33 PM, Bert Van Brande <bertvanbrande at yahoo.com> wrote:

> It's been a crazy couple days... it all started with a careless driver
> a cigaret out of a car on the 101 at the Conejo incline yesterday morning at
> moment when we had Santa-Anna winds. These winds come from the north-east
> inland and as they speed up through the canyons they heat up.  Temperatures
> rose yesterday by 20-30 degree Fahrenheit and humidity dropped from 80% to
> single digit. In no time this fire spread to Camarillo and the Dos Vientos
> community in Newbury Park where the Sycamore Canyon Elementary and Middle
> school and the high-school needed to be evacuated. So my wife picked up
> Benjamin and Helena and brought a couple friends to our house to shelter
> things cleared on the other side of the community.  No houses were lost due
> amazing fire crews.
> From there the fire raced down to the pacific ocean about
> 8 miles away. On the way down the California State University Channel
> needed to be evacuated.  This used to be a Mental institution (nothing
> changed, right?)  and rumored to be the Hotel California from that same
> song.  ...You can check in every time of day but you can never leave... By
> night time the fire reached the ocean and started to spread east towards
> Malibu and threatened the Pt Mugu Naval base.
> Late morning the winds turned
> from NE to SW and the fire now headed straight back to our home.  It was
> moving away from us the day before.  I raced back from work to make sure
> everyone was ok and that we were prepared. A dark ominous cloud came right
> over us and ashes started to rain down. The air was barely breathable. My
> Alex came over to help and we closed all vents with aluminum flashing and
> tape. This is where glowing embers usually get sucked into attics. I called
> tow company and my Austin-Healey BN2 "Work in Progress" was brought to a
> spot.
> With our important documents ready in a plastic box, our photo albums,
> external hard-drive and some necessities we were ready to go on an instant.
> The fire had reached the west side of Hidden Valley right behind us. This
> valley is home to some celebrities like Tom Selleck and Chris Rock. Sean
> Connery is selling his ranch there and Britney Spears live on the east side
> this valley!  There are a lot of huge ranches in Hidden Valley and our
> ex-neigbor trains thorougbred jumpers there.  This is just over the hill
> behind us probably just half a mile away.  Late pm West Hidden Valley was
> under voluntary evacuation, people and horses were brought into safety but
> again no houses lost.
> And then late afternoon the wind kept turning to a
> south wind and slowed down, this breeze brought cold air from the ocean and
> humidity. And so this dark cloud started to drift away and the fire started
> somewhat subside. The firefighters are focussing their efforts now around
> Yerba Buena road in Malibu but we could still see spot fires on nearby
> so things are not completely over yet. It can be 10 days or so before it's
> clear and the fire called 100% contained.  About an hour ago firemen are
> setting controlled fires on the ridge right above us to clear away the
> My family is still in stand-by but we're all safe and as much prepared as
> can be.

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