On Monday, October 22, we awakened to find no power and the smell of smoke. As predicted, Santa Ana winds swept in from the desert over the weekend, bringing hot, dry air (RH around 4-5%). Around 3:30 AM, wind brought down power lines in Rice Canyon, just over the hills in Rainbow, and started a major fire.
We packed everything including the birds and headed to Santa Monica Monday around 10:30 AM. At 3PM a general evacuation order was given and 20,000 cars jammed the roads through Camp Pendleton, the specified evacuation route. By that time, we were already in Santa Monica, smelling smoke from the Malibu and OC fires!
Our neighbor told us Thursday that our houses were OK. Dan and I came back Sunday to check things out and Karen and I returned on Tuesday, October 30. It took close to a week to get back to normal.
I shot some photos of the fire damage and picked up some maps to post here.
After reading several articles on the cause (reputedly downed power lines) I decided to go look at the place it started off Rice Canyon Road in Rainbow. When I found the place, I also found two separate insurance investigators! Here are some harrowing photos of where it started and where other utility wires, including power lines, were downed by the fire.
You can read about how the fire started in this article from the Fallbrook Village News. (They also have pages of photos of the fires. more. more. more. more. )
The LA Times, November, 4, covered the problems with what is causing many of these fires, downed power lines. Read.