Steph Reacting to Oakland Firestorm of 1991


Watching the news, the Oakland Hills Fire dominated my thoughts. It was October 1991, and the talking head had just announced that my neighborhood was next on alert for evacuation. What?!

Looking at the screen, I saw the same scene through my window up on the Berkeley Hills. The flames were bright yellow and looked to be surrounding the Claremont Hotel. Glancing back down at the screen, the talking head just said the same thing. Shit.

Listening to the broadcast, I thought about the families and the cats and dogs fleeing for their lives. I wondered if my old apartment at the top of Tunnel Road was engulfed. I thought about the traffic and hysteria dominating the streets just outside my neighborhood. Yikes.

Grabbing my backpack, I considered its contents. What will I need? I considered time, weight, and use. Already in jeans and sneakers, I decided on only the necessities—a sweatshirt, some underwear, glasses, contact case, a book, and a bottle of wine. Wow.

Waiting on the edge of the couch, my heart thumped as I poised for departure. Where was I to go? How will I get there? I grabbed my keys, my wallet, and my BART pass. The clock ticked. Breathe.

Hearing the alert lifted, I jumped for joy. Phew!
Today’s post was inspired by the writing prompt, “You’ve got one hour to pack up everything important to you and get out of town. What do you pack and where do you go?” This is my 30th post in March for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). I created this image in Adobe Illustrator. © 2011 Steph Abbott. All rights reserved. 


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