Fires were not unusual when I was growing up - and in 1971 when the fire swept through our yard and burned our corral, we were evacuated. We crammed 3 peacocks, a cat (couldn't find the other one who was hiding under a bed), two dogs, (I cried when I learned that my Dad had deemed my 2 geese not important enough to bring along) 6 kids, 1 Grandma and 2 parents into 2 cars and drove around for hours. We put our horse in a neighbor's large corral along with all the other horses in the area. I remember parking along the creek by Tapia Park, and watching a tremendous firestorm 1/4 of a mile away turn the canyonside into a solid wall of fire. The heat was so intense we had to keep the windows rolled tightly shut - it's searing hotness making the windows warm to touch.
When we returned to our little hamlet many hours later, against the suggestion of all the fire people, I remember the audible gasp of relief from my Mom as she saw the green oak trees which surround our home still there. We had no electricity for a week, and camped out with the bbq, lanterns and candles, watching the entire side of Saddle Peak glow during the night with hotspots.
This morning I watched on the news with tears of sorrow in my eyes, as my beloved Malibu Presbyterian Church burned to the ground. The church has survived all of the fires through the past 50 years or more, having the landscaping burn right up against the building but never burning itself.
I was married in that church, as were 2 of my sisters. My 3 children and I were baptised there, and the many memories of ice cream socials, Christmas plays, Easter sunrise services over the beautiful pacific, overnights, and so many wonderful people, are flooding back. A few years ago, Malibu Pres held its 50 year reunion at the famous Malibu "Castle" and estate, (which also burned down today) whose owner was a member of the church. It is stunning to look at the profile of the beautiful mountains of Malibu, and see those two landmarks missing. I heard that the Malibu Animal Hospital also was destroyed... many more memories there as we took all of our animals there for treatment over the years. My heart goes out to all those who lost their homes or businesses.