If you have Google Earth (and if you do not, why not?) and want to see where the fires burned, the SD County Emergency website now has maps that overlay the approximate fire perimeters on the satellite maps of the county. (Clicking that link will download a kml file.)
When you open the file in Google Earth, the fire areas first appear as big green blotches. It took me a while to notice that one can make them transparent and thus see what is underneath.1
Warning: It is sickening. The resolution of Google Earth images is such that you can make out not only houses, but features of people’s yards. You really get a sense of what was burned2, and the images are very hard to look at. For some reason, I find this almost more difficult than what’s shown on TV from ground level.
- Presumably most F&V readers are savvy enough that they would figure that out faster than I did, but just in case… [↩]
- Of course, not everything you see is destroyed. Many structures in the burn areas will have survived due to the dedication of firefighters on scene and the efforts of homebuilders and homeowners to make homes capable of withstanding wildfire. In fact, I am able to identify a street within the depicted fire perimeter and on which one friend lives, and I know her house survived (but neighbors’ homes were lost). [↩]