For the last few days, the wildfires in Southern California have been at the front of my mind. I was born in Ventura County, I grew up there and it is where my parents live to this day.
And while wildfires in the region came almost yearly, every time I would see or smell smoke, it felt all to real and unexpected. Wednesday morning I woke up to a call from my dad back home.
"Mom started packing her car, I started packing my car. Until last night I was packing the office, and we had everything ready to go. I think I slept better last night knowing if the doorbell rang and they told us we had to leave, we literally had to grab stuff and get out of there. I wanted to make sure both cars were gassed up because we didn't know which direction we were gonna go in," said my dad Nasser.
It was not just my family. As of Wednesday morning the fire threatens more than 12,000 buildings, many of which began overnight.
"I think it seemed more eerie and it seemed closer at night because of the fire and the darkness. It was glowing in the dark,” my dad explained.
This isn't the first time my family has been able to see flames from our home. Years ago when my sister and I were in elementary school, the same thing happened.
"I personally was a lot more nervous because we had you guys as little kids. There were two things that were playing out at that point. One, was to keep calm as far as you guys were concerned, to not make you overly anxious. And at the same time, have a game plan," he said.
That game plan is key for every wildfire, whether they're miles away or hundreds of miles away, create a game plan for what you would do if the knock on the door came that said you had just hours to get out, or in some cases, minutes.
"If you have to rebuild you have to rebuild. That's basically it. I think that's the reason why we all pay insurance premiums and that's the way it is," my dad said.