Rowina (23 May 2011)
"Your fire, my fires, Nicole"

Reading your account of your illness after a wildfire in California,
behind your house, reminded me of my illness which worsened
after the Cerro Grande fire in Los Alamos in May of 2000.  As
with you, the smoke and ash made me quite ill, and my husband
and I became wanderers as we tried to find a place to live.  There
was no way to buy even a condo on the west coast because we
could not, of course, sell the damaged condo in Los Alamos until
it was repaired, and it took a five months wait to even have a
contractor start on repairs.  Then FEMA, which had taken over
insurance, refused to pay for two and a half years, and prices
doubled on the West Coast.  We had to come back here, eventually,
and buy another house, quite a way from the old place, after the
smoke and ash finally cleared out.  It took over two years for the
smoke and ash to finally be gone.  

Any time I tried to live in the remains of my old house, or in my
son's house, I became very ill, and in pain all over.  FEMA refused
to take my illness seriously, of course, even though it has "diagnosis
code".   They finally paid less than half of our losses, while they sometimes
paid other people "double."

So that time began our wanderings, trying to find a place to live, and
basically losing our "ties" to friends and churches.  Nothing was the
same after the fire.  It was so serious a fire that all living creatures,
including horses, dogs, cats, and parrots, were moved down a two lane
road in two and a half hours to escape it, as it descended from the
Jemez Mountains from Bandelier National Forest, where it had been
started as a "controlled burn" on a day with a 60 mile per hour wind
heading for town.  

Now again we are in drought here, and there have been wildfires in
New Mexico, but nothing close by yet; however, the summer is not
even here yet!  Our weather has been better, perhaps, than anywhere
in this storm-tossed nation.  But who knows what will be next?  Another
trip down the two-lane road into another period as a refugee?  My husband
is no longer alive, and I will not survive another such trip.

I too have been in California wildfires, like the one which ate at the east
end of Encinitas, and had us sleeping in our clothes in case we had to make
a quick exit.  The church we love is there, but I can't live there because I
could never sell this house now; but God may have me here in the mountains
because for some reason he wants me to survive the coastal disasters coming.
That is, unless the rapture comes sooner!  I pray for it to come.

Mountain granny,