Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WEDNESDAY - November 7

Just wanted to let all our friends and family know that our dear sweet little Phoebe passed away last night. Monday afternoon we noticed that she was having difficulty breathing and her neck was extremely swollen. We immediatly went to the vet who ran a few preliminary tests, gave her some oxygen and advised us to get to the emergency clinic ASAP.

The drive to the urgent care was extremely frightening and felt like it took forever to get there even though it was just in Tustin. Phoebe was really struggling. Upon our arrival they immediately took her in the back and started in airway immediately. We left her in the emergency room late Monday evening in a medically induced coma giving the doctor as much information as we possibly could.

The doctor called first thing Tuesday morning expressing concern about a possible snake poisoning however the tests were non-conclusive for a rattle snake. We visited here early Tuesday and our hearts were so heavy. We also took Otis & Milo in for testing fearful that it could be from the fire retardant, a repellant, or anything. Fortunately they are fine but our little Phoebe wasn't so lucky. She may have eaten a black widow, black recluse spider, a scorpion - who knows??

Last night while we were with her they had to ventilate her as she had stopped breathing on her own. We spent about an hour with her. Petting her, kissing her and just talking to her. The doctor was very concerned. We were on our way back home when the doctor called my cell phone to inform us that her heart had stopped and they were performing chest compressions.

Kip, Kayli and I just sat in a parking lot sobbing and called back the doctor to advise them to let her go as she was no longer getting oxygen to her brain.

For those of you that had the pleasure of knowing Phoebe I know you loved her - how could you not? She was just a little sweety and she really gave us all so much joy in her little short three years.

Monday, November 5, 2007

MONDAY - November 5

Home Sweet Home --

We received word early Saturday evening that we could come home, after 12 days!! We packed up our belongings from Hotel May, gave hugs & kisses to our loving & gracious hosts, and set off. Upon entering Silverado Canyon Road we were greeted by members of the OC Sheriff office and OC Fire Authority - they were checking id and passing out information about utilities, etc. Driving up to our home we passed many welcome home signs and signs of gratitude and appreciation to the firefighters. Many fire trucks were positioned in various areas of the canyon as the fire is not quite contained. We spent Saturday evening just hugging our house. It really was too dark to do much of an assessment.

Sunday morning we woke up very early and it became very evident just how hard the firefighters worked to protect our home. Our home had been sprayed with foam and gel. The gel is a very thick slippery substance. Kip spent many hours yesterday trying to hose off the hose and the back patio area to get it safe enough for us to bring the dogs home. He soon determined that this was a job that would require professional help as it is everywhere. I worked inside disposing of all our food and cleaning out the refrigerator, putting back the window coverings, doing laundry, etc. Kip did a pretty thorough inspection and there are a few items of concern that we will need the assistance of our insurance company that include the copper gutters and light fixtures, window cleaning, assessment of if the retardant damaged the painting of our home, carpet cleaning, some landscaping damage, and a handful of other items. But... we are so very thankful that our home is here and will soon be cleaned and back to normal.

Here are just a few pics of our home today:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

THURSDAY - November 1

Yesterday was quite a day for us. I received a call about noon from a neighbor who was waiting at Camp Silverado to be escorted up to our neighborhood. Up to this time we were not allowed to go up to the Canyon as our little cluster of homes was smack in the middle of the hot zone. I rushed right up to Camp Silverado and put my name on the escort list. I went up in a fire vehicle with three other residents who I had never met that lived in various parts of Silverado all below us and I'm sure we were each dealing with our own individual emotions as we traveled. I was the last one up and it really was strange, definately "twilight zone like".

Upon entering our front door first thing I noticed was that all our window coverings had been removed, obviously by the fire fighters and ever single light was on both inside and outside. The fire had definately been close, not too far up the hill directly behind our home. Our garden hoses were all laid out, the gates were open, the patio furnishings had been moved - I could see that they worked very hard to protect our home.

Once I got over that initial sigh and walked around the house a bit it was strange to see our dinner from Monday, October 21st that we were just getting ready to sit down and eat and had put into refrigerator. Our dinner prep dishes were still just there where we had been using them. Kayli's had some roses from her boyfriend that are wilted in the vase, the laundry was still in the hall waiting to be done... It was just wierd. I kind of felt like I had come back to a home I had once lived in, in a town that was now deserted...

I am so thankful though to Antonio, my escort driver for giving me those few minutes to see first hand that our home was there. Although it is covered in dried up gel fire retardant it won't be long at all until it will feel like home again.

We are praying that the Santa Ana winds will stay calm over the weekend and that we might be able to go home in the next few days.

This morning the OC Register has a very moving audio slide show about the fire. You can find it by going to Then click on "Heat, Humanity, Heartbreak" Audio Slideshow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MidWeek Update from Deanna

Dede just telephoned from Camp Silverado (the parking lot at their local supermarket) to say that she was allowed to be escorted to their home this afternoon, and was happy to see their house all in one piece. She described the experience as "like the Twilight Zone" -- the group was driven past the charred hills around Calvary Chapel Church and the Forest Ranger Station. The fire had come down and burned both sides of the road at this lower point.

Further up into Silverado, however, Dede said that the area looked surprisingly untouched... until they came to the last few miles where it was obvious that the fire crews had worked very hard to clear brush and vegetation. She was able to go inside their house and collect a few things, and found that the fire crews had sprayed the exterior with a gel fire retardant.

She also noticed that the fire had come over the top of the ridge behind their house, where the crews had managed to hold it there. Smoke was still visible in the canyon, and they may not be able to move back home until next week when the fire is more completely contained.

We are all happy to hear that they are safe and that their beautiful canyon home is still there! The canyon residents have been on an emotional roller coaster for the past 10 days, and are truly exhausted. I am sure Dede will write more and post a few of the photos taken today when she gets a minute. For now, she was talking to me on the phone inbetween yawns. She did say how very much they appreciate your comments and words of encouragement. Keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some Interesting Internet Links
Click on "Crews Turn to Backfires to Stall Santiago's Fire Advance"
Watch closely - when you see the firefighters spraying down a house - that little white pickup is our's parked across the street at the Barber's Residence. Looks like the houses are still being sprayed with fire retardant.

TUESDAY - October 30

Today is the ninth day out of our home. Yesterday we were at Camp Silverado when Modjeska Canyon residents received word that they could go home. It was very bittersweet for us as we are so thrilled for them but obviously very anxious to receive that news ourselves.

Santiago Canyon Road did open up yesterday afternoon so Kip and I were able to drive all the way from Camp Silverado at Alberstons to Cooks Corner. Can't even describe to you what it looked like. So much of our beautiful canyon is just burnt and sadly many homes in that area were lost. Since we are not residents in that immediate area we were not able to drive off the main road but it was encouraging to see how hard the utility companys are working out there to get services restored - they are doing an incredible job.

Not really much to report other than what we can read on the internet and listen to on the news. However we did rest a bit better last night after getting word that a no homes in Silverado have been lost and that our home was looking pretty good. We actually just can't wait to go see for ourselves. We are hoping we might be home by the weekend.

Camp Silverado

Messages being left by local residents

OCFA Liason Escort Vehicle

Photograph of topo map (pic taken on Sunday)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Friends - The Brunnings

Our friend Renae' and her two children lost their Modjeska Canyon home last week in the Santiago Fire.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

SUNDAY - October 28

This afternoon we went to the Emergency Aid center in Irvine and registered with FEMA. Although they were all so nice to us - this was a place I hoped I would never have to be.

You can look at this recent map and clearly see that the closest area of encroachment into the canyon is right above our home. We were told it is approximately 200 feet from our back yard area. This obviously was disappointing to us and we just wish we could obtain more definitive information.

Tonight we are going to try and refocus on getting back to school and going to work tomorrow. I'm sure we will go up to "Camp Silverado" at some time tomorrow to visit with our friends and neighbors. The information coming to Camp Silverado is not very clear and is only as good as the source but we are thankful to the merchants in the center that they are allowing us to be there.

.... say a prayer for all of us and our firefighters tonight and I'll update tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Firefighters in our Neighborhood

This photo is on this morning. Many of you may recognize that this is the Barber's residence directly across the street from our home. The Barber's, our good friends, have have recently relocated to Montana.

SATURDAY - October 27

Today is day six and not much has changed. When we arrived at Camp Silverado we were informed that the far end of the canyon was still under attack however the firefighters have been doing an amazing job and no homes have been lost. They have been able to hold it up at the ridge. Although many residents were able to be escorted up again for the 10 minute run we are still not able to go up which was very disappointing for us as well as for our neighbors. I received a call this evening from our friend Colleen Colgan. Her husband Mike is still up in the mine track area where their home is located. Mike is a retired fire chief and one of the few they are allowing to stay. He reported that our homes are fine although our topography has changed. He also reported that a lot of retardant was dropped today. We are imagining that we will have days of clean up ahead of us but thank the Lord that so far, so good.

We also went and visited a friend today who lost her entire home in Modjeska Canyon. Renae' is a single mom with two kids and actually used to work for us. She lost everything. She was never able to return home. Renae' and her kids are doing pretty well. The outpouring of love and donations they have been receiving has been incredible.

Please join us tonight by praying for the brave men and women helping to save our community. They are our heroes and we can't wait to get home and shake their hands. I just hope that tonight they are making themselves comfortable on our front porch and getting some rest.

Here is the map posted today. You can see by comparing it to the previous one that the line has encroached closer to the canyon. Our home is on the south side of Silverado Canyon Road, above the "ua" in evacuations...

Our friend Janet (in red top) was allowed in on Saturday to get a few more items

Friday, October 26, 2007

10/26/07 - updated from Deanna

Today is Friday, October 26th and the first time I have really had an opportunity to sit down in front of the computer and bring our family and friends up to date. Here is a brief recap of what we have been going through this week:
  • SUNDAY: October 21st Although the Santa Ana winds were blowing and the temperatures were warm it was just another Sunday for us. I had to go downtown to Irvine to pick up Kayli from a modeling photo shoot and came home about 4:00 pm. We actually were on Santiago Canyon Road however did not notice any unusual activity. Just as we finished dinner Denise called us to notify us that she had just heard breaking news that a fire had broke out at the entrance to our canyon. As we watched the news through the night the fire was moving south into Irvine (away from the canyon).
  • MONDAY: October 22nd Kip left for work Monday morning however I stayed home with Kayli and her friend who had spent the night. The kids stayed home from school and watched movies and played games. Kip came home early saying that the fire seemed to be moving north again. As the day progressed we lost our internet, cable tv, and phone service. Our electricity was also intermittent throughout the day. We tried a couple of times throughout the day to get out of the canyon to take Kayli's friend home however were informed that once we left there were no guarantees that we could return. Kip was barbequing and we were just getting ready to sit down and eat dinner when we heard bull horns out front announcing the first notice to evacuate. Although it was not a mandatory evacuation we started packing the cars and made the decision to leave. I concentrated on packing up the girls pictures, scrapbooks, and the family photos on the walls. Kip packed up our computers, legal papers and our dogs. Upon leaving we saw flames and we left the canyon heading towards the city of Tustin. We were able to deliver Kayli's friend home safely and then headed down to San Clemente with our 3 dogs to Dad & Polly's never imagining it would be for more than one night.
  • TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY: We spent a lot of time on the computer checking for updates, watching tv and just trying to gather our thoughts. Kayli has been out of school. Kip and I have been trying to work however it is very difficult to concentrate.
  • FRIDAY October 26: We would have never imagined we would still be out of our home. Kip received a call from a neighbor suggesting we get up to"Camp Silverado". Camp Silverado is a make shift evacuation center set up in the Albertsons center where many canyon residents shop. The OCFA was gathering residents to begin taking 4 residents at a time up in a fire vehicle to retrieve medication, pets, clothing, and vehicles. We waited our turn in line and we shortly notified that any residents who lived beyond our community fire station would not be allowed in due to safety concerns. The fire was threatening the northern part of the canyon which is where we live. Some of our other friends however were able to go in for 10 minutes under the supervision of an escort. The escort service was soon however completey stopped as conditions had changed and the canyon was under serious threat. That was bad news and very difficult for us to hear as our home is in the area of the canyon where the fire is evidently been creeping up and over our ridge. After spending a few hours with our neighbors we are now back in San Clemente.
Please continue to pray for us. As we go to bed tonight the fire is 35% contained. We will be back at "Camp Silverado" tomorrow morning at 10:00 am for another update.

Thank you for your phone messages, your prayers, and concerns. Thank you to my sister Denise for setting up this blog. We appreciate it all so much.

Fighters Hold the Line

While this map looks like the fire is creeping closer to Silverado Canyon, the news is encouraging. According to the Orange County Register, backfires and fire lines are working to protect the canyon homes.

PLEASE post your words of encouragement to Dede and Kip -- it has been a long week for their family, and the next hours will seem even longer.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Still Evacuated

Latest fire map shows the burn area moving eastward. Not the best news, but winds have died down and the weather is improving.

PLEASE let the Craigs know that you are thinking of them and add a few words as a comment to the post below. You can post as "Anonymous" if you do not have a Google/Blogger Account. Just put your name in the body of your comments.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Send Your Thoughts & Prayers

Send your good wishes and prayers to Kip and Dede and their family. As you can imagine, phone calls can be difficult to get through the busy lines, and there may not be time for email.

You can let Kip and Dede know that you are thinking and praying for them by posting a comment to this posting. Just click on the word "Comment" below and enter your good wishes. It's easy, and let's them know you are thinking of them.

Wednesday Morning Fire Map

As of 9:30 am Weds 24 Oct, this map shows the burn area with Silverado Canyon on the eastern edge of the burn area.

5 Fwy Closed Below San Clemente

It's hard to sleep these days -- too much to think about. About 4 am I heard on the radio that the 5 Freeway was closed between Oceanside and San Clemente due to a new fire at Camp Pendleton. Even Metrolink stopped running.

Dede and Kip are still with Ed and Polly. It must be an awful sight to see the smoke from the San Diego fires as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Firefight Frustrated by Winds

News reports throughout the day expressed frustration -- from firefighters with the need for more support, and from a homeowner who had lost his house. Erratic and fierce winds surely restricted the fire fighting efforts.

Monday, October 22, 2007


We heard the news on the radio first -- fire had just been spotted at the junction of Santiago and Silverado Canyon Roads. It was just after 6 p.m. and Dede and Kip were sitting down to dinner. Our phone call was their first alert; no one knew what was happening down the road. All we could do was "wait and see" how things would develop.