Things I’ve Learned From Proximity to a Huge Wildfire

1) Flames can appear a hell of a lot closer than they are

2) A few people start freaking out; then suddenly everyone is freaking out because they see other people freaking out, and haven’t been sure yet whether or not they should freak out

3) Flames don’t spread quite as rapidly nor thoroughly as it would appear; they leave some houses intact, while wiping out whole structures right next door

4) In times of disaster, people get stressed out and will commence yelling at each other over nothing. In the supermarket I’ve witnessed a civilian yelling at a firefighter; walking down the street, I’ve heard people on balconies cussing out one another over who has lost more in the fire; in the parking lot of my apartment building, two guys were calling each other punks and threatening to kill one another; and my girlfriend and I have been snappy with each other on a frequent basis.

5) You can look at people’s faces and literally see their attempts to cope with something beyond their understanding

6) Information changes swiftly, and having the most current source of information gives you more confidence and makes you less afraid, even when that information might not be the best news in the world

7) Being patient can calm you down a lot more when you aren’t sure what do to or where to go next; if you’re running frantically around trying to do something when there is nothing to be done, you work yourself into a high level of frenzy; waiting until you are given a clear directive makes it a lot less stressful

Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

2 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned From Proximity to a Huge Wildfire”

  1. Oh my goodness.

    This is a sad & scary post to me.

    It makes me think about the transition of a town or city from peace zone to war zone, how quickly an entire population can switch states of caution & emotion.

    Hey, Mark, I’ll be back in Berkeley tomorrow, & I may go up to Tahoe soon. I’ll call you.

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