San Diego on Fire

San Diego, and the surrounding areas, are having a rash of wildfires again, due to lack of rain and obscene temperatures. I grew-up in San Diego and moved away twice, once for 5 years, and then again a few years ago.

One of the big reasons I moved away was that I didn’t think the city was a sustainable human settlement. All of Southern California is an over-populated desert that has it’s water piped in from up north, and it’s people are obsessed with an oostentatious over-consumption of resources. With climate change on top of that. I think it’s safety is precarious. Case in point, these fires, again.

They happened in an even bigger magnitude in 2003, when I was living there. Luckily, I lived just east of downtown, so we weren’t evacuated, but it was still terrifying when the smoke filled our lives for a few days.

Here’s a little snippit of memory from back then,


Ring of Fire

I was sitting in front of a computer screen, talking into the mic with a pink handkerchief covering my nose and mouth.  We’d recently moved the DJ booth into the covered patio, so I was surrounded by windows. Some of the 1930s glass panes were broken, and the smoke was trickling in the room.

The sky was a thick, ominous reddish orange. The sun was a fuzzy dark disc behind the smoke. Was this the beginning of our apocalypse? Were we close to donning Mad Max style accouterments and resorting to pillaging and mayhem?

Our city was surrounded by flames. The cheesy graphics on the nightly news illustrated the wildfires in all directions. We were “safe”, for now, but situated in the center of a crescent moon of 13 fires, one of which was the largest in California history. We only had the ocean to escape to on one side. Our huge sports arena was filled with evacuees.

Being a DJ, I felt it was my duty to be in the booth, reporting back on the latest news and entertaining anyone stuck in their house who might be listening. Being an independent DJ, I also felt it was my duty to be a tad ridiculous while doing so.
Instead of playing the usual music, I went with the fire theme. This included “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, “Burning down the House” by Talking Heads, “It’s the End of the World as we Know it (and I Feel Fine)” by REM, and “Beds are Burning” by Midnight Oil.

San Diego survived that time around. So here’s to all my friends in family down there, I hope you stay safe.


One thought on “San Diego on Fire”

  1. Great atmospheric post, Cypress. These are fabulous tracks aren’t they – some of my all time favourites – in fact I can’t think of a bad fire-related song for the moment!
    I’ve never experienced fire like this – it must really put you on edge and remind you the Earth’s going to have the final say..


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