• Myles Shin

Today I Experienced... The Saddleridge Fire

It was 1 am when I heard sirens and the cops yelling, "Get out! Get out!" I was in complete shock and didn't really know what was happening. My mom told me there was a fire and it was rapidly approaching us and we had to evacuate. I was still in a daze and didn't really understand what was happening. I grabbed my school supplies and my phone charger; that was about it. In the moment it was so hard to think that I forgot to bring extra clothes and other essentials. This felt like the Porter Ranch gas leak, except worse. It was 1 in the morning on a school day where the fire was most likely going to burn down our house; the gas leak would only give us bad air quality. While we were leaving, I saw the fire on the hill near my house. It was so close and I honestly thought I would never see our home again. 10 years ago, there was a similar fire that burned down homes in my community. Porter Ranch especially has perfect conditions for wildfires: it's dry and windy.

We left and we went to IHOP from 1:30 to 10 AM. There weren't too many other people in there, but we were all so tired. We just slept and ate there because we had nowhere to go. We booked a reservation at a hotel nearby, but it wouldn't open up until 3:30 PM. We had time to kill. It was mostly a lot of sleeping and doing work. The crazy thing about this was that my school didn't even cancel school. All the other surrounding schools cancelled class for the day, but my school didn't. Even the Hart District in Valencia, which was not as close to the fire as us, closed down all of their schools.

Finally we got to the hotel room and saw what was going on in the news. We saw all of the horrible news of how people's houses burned down and how this was one of the fastest moving fires ever in California. It was really worrisome especially since it was barely 13% contained after the first day. Luckily, we were able to go home the next day at night. This whole experience made me realize that we need to be more ready for natural disasters, especially with the Big One (the big earthquake) way overdue. Not only this, but it made me realize how we take firefighters and police officers for granted. They do so much for us and our cities could not function properly without them. I am forever in debt to them for saving my house. There were over 1000 firefighters in Porter Ranch stopping this fire. The fire was stopped less than 2 streets away from my house. It was scary to say the least.