Weary firefighters, aided by a drop in the winds, have mostly contained the fires that swept through the San Diego area last week, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. Fire came within a few miles of the ICR offices in Santee, and several ICR families were among the evacuees who fled the conflagration. The Santee office was closed for a few days to allow employees to stay home out of the acrid smoke, to give them time to prepare for their own evacuation if it became necessary, and to help keep the roads free for use by those affected by the fires.
We are extremely grateful that the ICR family has remained intact, and praise God that their properties were spared and they have been able to return home and to the office. We appreciate the prayers and the many expressions of concern we have received during this time. A personal update from Steve Austin, Professor of Geology, is below:
The Austin family survived the wildfire! When the evacuation order came for the entire city of Ramona about 9 PM on Sunday, our family moved our trailer, truck and van to the ICR Santee parking lot. We camped at ICR on Sunday night. Other ICR people from Ramona joined us at the Santee facility. The next three nights, as refugees, the Austin family stayed at the Carlton Oaks golf course lodging in Santee with our trailer.
The evacuation order was lifted Thursday night, so our family returned quickly. The town of Ramona is now being repopulated. The main problem in our city of Ramona is water. The city water system is almost entirely disabled. Our family well is supplying neighbors with water on our street. We have given out hoses.
At the Austin house everything is like normal, except for the odor of fire. The dogs did not like being displaced. They sensed the stress of the fire probably more than we did. Now, the dogs are supposed to be returning to their normal mid-day duty of scaring off rabbits, but are spending most of the time doing other activity—sleeping.