As an Indianapolis Colts fan living in Los Angeles, California, I never expected to be writing about my beloved city. Now, I wish I didn’t have to.
I woke up on the morning of Tuesday, December 5th, 2017, to the pungent smell of smoke permeating my house. After this, I scoured the house, and quickly determined that my house was not on fire. Despite this, leaves and dirt blanketed the backyard, and ash covered my car. That day at school, the sky was orange and the air was rancid. Nobody wanted to go outside. Breathing in the smoky air sparked my asthma, and made my day miserable. The wind seemed to blow at 1000 miles per hour; giant trees swayed like twigs. There was an eerie aura among the community; time slowed down. During my drive home, debris and dirt swarmed around the freeway. When I finally went to bed, I was glad that this nightmare was over, or so I thought.
I had learned that day that a wildfire, dubbed Thomas Fire, broke out in Ventura County. As of my writing this article, the fire has spread to Sylmar, Santa Clarita, San Bernandino, and now Bel-Air. In every area apart from San Bernandino, the fire continues to rage, and has no plans to stop. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, tens of thousands of acres have been destroyed, and hundreds of buildings have been razed to the grounds. Over 250 schools have been closed due to the unbearable air quality or proximity to the blaze. Today, this only got worse.
I awoke this morning to the same smoky aroma and the same orange sky. But to my surprise, a new harrowing, sight appeared on my Twitter timeline.
This is a scene straight of hell.
You have probably heard of a fire ravaging a hillside, and people escaping from it in a movie or across the world, but most of you have probably not seen this happen at a place that you could drive to in under 20 minutes. An infinitesimal 9.5 miles separates my house in Studio City and the scene of the crime, the Skirball Cultural Center. The Skirball fire began around five AM. This section of the fire alone has burned over 150 acres, four to six homes, and has caused mass panic in this city. The I-405 freeway closed down for hours, and is now reopened for the most part.
As flames continue to engulf Southern California, fire fighters and civilians alike have rallied to support their fellow Californians. People have risked their lives to put out the devastating fires, and people have opened up their homes to those who have evacuated.
This fire is bigger than football.
Rams’ punter Johnny Hekker has completely mobilized the organization, and has visited a shelter in Ventura with supplies. Everybody in California, and the entire United States, needs to come together to support those who have lost so much. Myself, along with the rest of FPC, send prayers out to everyone impacted. If you live in the Los Angeles/Ventura area, stay safe.
You can contact me on twitter @ben_pfeifer_.