Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on July 12th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 19

Where there's smoke

I am so damned tired of breathing in all this smoke, blinking ash out of my eyes, and hearing the buzz of helicopters and water tankers all day and night.

If it’s not enough that our county was one of the few in the state that’s still under severe drought, now two monster wildfires have grown here, one after another. Flames were visible on the hillsides from Santa Maria on the evening of July 7 when the Alamo Fire reared its ugly head.

And then, the very next day, a fire began just off Highway 154 near Camp Whittier at Lake Cachuma, and thus the Whittier Fire was born. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office had to evacuate hundreds of campers and weekenders immediately while Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Cal Fire responded to the blaze.

I don’t think enough thanks can be given to first responders in times like these. The idea of having to leave a situation like the Alamo Fire, which has torched thousands of acres just over the ridge, to go fight another fire sweeping across more impossible terrain, it’s hard for a little bird like me to imagine.

What my inquisitive bird brain does start to imagine, however, is who in the hell started these fires. I know, I know, it could have been anything, and our commendable firefighters haven’t determined a cause yet. But still, we all saw the ridiculous number of nowhere-near-safe and totally insane fireworks going off around July 4. How much you want to bet some numbskull with a firecracker was responsible for the Alamo Fire?

Or what if some thoughtless A-hole flicked a cigarette butt out their car window on Highway 154, starting the Whittier Fire? If that’s the case, that person ruined the week for some happy campers, residents who had to evacuate at the drop of a dime, and all the poor little animals that were burned alive at The Outdoor School.

It’s hard to gauge the immensity of a natural disaster like a wildfire when all you see on the horizon is smoke. People have lost their homes, or have been driven from them, and are stuck waiting, unsure if there will be a home to return to. The cost goes well beyond dollars

Nobody has died yet, and we can thank our local firefighters and other first responders again for that. It’s times like these that we regular citizens really depend on civil servants to handle truly dire situations and put out the fires that threaten us all.

In another terrain, I know I’m not the only one hoping the feds are doing everything possible to follow all the smoke surrounding President Donald Trump’s administration. I haven’t talked about Trump for a while, but from the resignation of Michael Flynn to the recent revelations that Donald Trump Jr. met with a lawyer with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin before the election to discuss incriminating intelligence regarding Hillary Clinton, there’s definitely a lot for investigators to rifle through.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and not all the water tankers or fire helicopters in the nation can extinguish a fire as hot as treason. Let’s just be sure to thank our federal law enforcement, like we do our first responders, when they reveal their findings, no matter what they are.

The Canary’s inquisitive bird brain is always at work. Send your thoughts to

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