Fire in the Fall

Fire Chief’s Granddaughter and California Wildfires

Aikya Param
2 min readNov 6, 2019


Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

Should be blue dawn
In October California,
But ringed with rose and gray.

Safe at hills’ base
In October California.
Winds quiet at this time.

In October California:
Power out on purpose.

Howling winds, flames flash
In October California:
Gold grass, flammable hills.

Turn of the month:
Will November bring rain clouds?
Expectant gratitude
In October California

California, large swaths of California — including the dry grass and trees, including people’s homes, including businesses, burns. Some hillsides are black. Statistics tell how many acres fire affects in each one and what percent is contained. Maria Fire, started on Halloween and updated 11/5/19: 9,999 acres — 95% contained. Ranch Fire, started 11/3/19 and updated 11/5/19: 2,000 acres, 15% contained. Sobrante Fire started 11/1/19 and updated 11/5/19; 19 acres, 100% contained.Eagle Fire, Copper Fire, 46 Fire, Hillside Fire, Hill Fire, Hillside Fire, and East Fire. Firefighters from all across the country are joining to help. Prison inmates are told they must help and all that previously caged male energy is released against this seasonal life threatening challenge.

We yearn for rain. A little was expected on the 12th or the 16th but not any more. My umbrella

I drove to a doctor’s appointment this morning. Carbon emissions from cars and cows have made our climate change hothouse. Did I consider this before driving to the doctor? No.

Perhaps I need quiet time to figure out alternatives to habit and convenience. Choices made by one person may not change the larger picture but it would be one person living with intention. It opens into larger realms, other choices that express what matters to me.

Did I mention my maternal grandfather was a Fire Chief? He worked in Weehawken, a little town across the Hudson River from Manhattan, a burough of New York City. The fire challenge in his lifetime was learning how and teaching others how to fight chemical and electrical fires. He helped start a fire college to do that. He saw homes and businesses destroyed and people burned beyond recognition. He’d be pretty passionate about this California October and November.

How can we prevent this, Grandpa?



Aikya Param

Rev. Aikya Param is a minister at Oakland Center for Spiritual Living in Oakland, California, a published author and visual artist.