I climbed into my truck before dawn this morning, and dragged girlfriend Maria Thomas out of her bed to accompany me to Rainbow in hopes of seeing to my livestock's safety and my farm's fate. We were stopped, same as before, at Rainbow Glen Road. This time we were able to take Mission Road, which was open for Rainbow residents East of the 15. Again, CHP professionals were kind and supportive, but firm. No one passes. It was suggested that I get in touch with animal control to see if they'd go up and check on livestock. We hung around with the small crowd of would-be Rainbow Glen Road returnees for a few minutes and were thrilled when animal control happened to stop by. They were very happy to take my farm address and check on my animals. They suggested I return to my evacuated position and wait for a return status call, as they had numerous farms to visit in the little Rainbow Glen Valley.
We drove into Fallbrook proper in the hopes of getting a view of the farm from one of the northernmost crestline neighborhoods that look down into our valley. Although I saw no evidence of fire in all of Fallbrook, many neighborhood streets were shut down to all but residents of that street, and we were turned back from any of the side streets that would have looked down on the valley. Since it was a total evacuation, I had expected to see quite a bit of damage, but saw nothing.
The fire got fairly close to south San Clemente, and there was never a mention of an evacuation, so the mandatory evacuation of Fallbrook let many of us to assume Fallbrook was in cinders. Just not so!
It took us quite a while to get on our way back out of Fallbrook proper to San Clemente because road closure information is still inaccurate. A CHP officer that stopped us at a side street road closure directed us to go to Mission Road East and on to 15, but when we arrived there it was blocked off.
Later, while we were on our way back to San Clemente, animal control called to tell us what they saw. They said chickens and llamas were very hungry and thirsty (chickens had had no water since Monday, 5 days ago) and that the flames had gone right to the door of the farmhouse, but that the house was saved. She said some of the grove was lost.
I just received a call from Rabbi Shalom who grows his sacred ethrogs on the southwestern corner of my farm. Unbelievably, two days ago, during the height of fire storms, he managed to talk his way past the roadblock and he just now called to tell me he's been to the farm and wanted to tell me what part of the farm's grove at that time had been lost. I'm flabbergasted! I'm the owner of the farm, and had hungry and frightened livestock but couldn't get in. But he got in! Wow, I thought I had a pretty convincing need to get in, and if there was any way they could let me, they would have. And hey! I brought donuts!
Animal control has kindly offered to continue to care for my livestock until the eviction has been lifted, so I won't be returning until I'm guaranteed passage through Rainbow Glen Road. Why waste the gas?