I wrote her yesterday and I got a response. Sounds like she had a very close call. She lives in the Santa Cruz area, a town hard hit by the recent coastal fires in CA. She and I did a lot of great hikes in the Santa Cruz/ Big Sur area in the late 1990s.
Here is a partial from her e-mail:
It has not been good for me here with the fires. I'm lucky in that my place has not burned down, but last weekend was very "hairy".
The whole area was evacuated, and all the roads closed. I live in the Larkin Valley area, which is just south of Aptos, in the mountains. I wasn't able to get home from work last Friday, as there was a wildfire in the Larkin Valley area.
It was very frightening seeing that huge plume of smoke in the sky, knowing that you live there, and not knowing if your house burnt down.
I was at work when it broke out, so had nothing with me...no change of clothes,etc. My poor kitty was at home. I wound up sleeping at work that night, but was able to get home by 5 AM Sat. That wasn't the end of it, though.
On Sat. afternoon we had a freak thunder/lightening storm in the middle of the afternoon. I was on my deck,(I'm at the very top of a ridge, and see it all), when a huge clap of thunder broke like a bomb, and there was an intense flash of light.
Sure enough, 2 minutes later the sound of fire engines. I could see the plume of smoke from my deck and then the helicoptors and planes going over for hours. A property just a few acreas from me had caught fire. I was racing around like a mad woman up and down the ladder, wetting the roof, deck and all the surrounding area. In between this, I ran frantically back and forth from house to car, packing up my cat, computer, threw clothes in...etc etc etc. Whatta mess!!!
But they were able to put the fire out before it reached me. That was too close!!! I've started carrying my camera around with me everywhere, as I don't want to loose it in a fire. I don't want to loose my computer either, but can't carry it around! Other than the fires, Big Sur is all ablaze, too, I haven't done much else this summer.
Yes, with the price of gas, I've decided that it's high time for me to stay home and play with all my expensive toys!!! instead of driving all over looking for excitement. But the best beach in town is only 5 min drive away, so I'm able to go for long walks there (Seacape Beach), or sit and read on the beach.