Re: Is Fr. Alexander Lebedev OK in California, wildfires?
- Glory be to God, that you are safe, Fr. Alexander. I saw the flames
from the safety of Tarzana, and prayed (probably the same)
supplicatory canon to Most HOly Theotokos that you did. However, I did
not realise it was THAT close, and I am sorry I was not able to reach
you and offer to stay in our house.
All the hillsides around were ablaze and it was indeed a frightening
sight. Living in the place like this, every time we say those litanies
about earthquake and fires - it seems so close to home and heartfealt.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Fr. Alexander Lebedeff"
> Dimitra wrote:this fire.
> >Does anyone know if Fr. Alexander Lebedev is OK there in southern
> >California--I see the wildfires are still raging nearby...
> > Dimitra
> Dear Dimitra and all of the others who have enquired about our well
> being and the situation of our home with regard to the wildfires.
> Glory be to God, we are well, and our house has been spared.
> We live in the foothills above the San Fernando Valley, in a small
> community called Bell Canyon, which was in the midst of the path of
> the brush fire that roared across the mountain canyons last week.
> On Wednesday last, in the early afternoon, we heard on the news that
> a serious brush fire has started in Chatsworth and was moving
> Southwest--in our home's direction. We decided to move Matushka's
> mother, who is 91, out of any danger, driving her to her son's house.
> Meanwhile, we remained calm, expecting that the fires would pass our
> community by, as they had on two occasions in the past. We served a
> supplicatory canon to the Mother of God, asking for Her protection
> and proceeded to prepare dinner.
> At about 8 p.m., a Ventura County Sheriff's vehicle pulled up, and
> informed us that the fire was approaching and he suggested that we
> make preparations in case we would have to evacuate. He also was
> performing a survey, taking down the names of all residents,
> visitors, and workers found in Bell Canyon at that time.
> We began to load up the vehicles with our most treasured
> belongings--icons, irreplaceable church books, family pictures,
> diplomas, certificate of ordination, etc., as well as necessities,
> such as medications and toiletries--not to mention the home computer
> (just the box) and external disk drive. Matushka insisted on
> evacuating with all her hats.
> By this time, we could see much more than just a red glow in the sky.
> I took some pictures of the approaching firestorm, and noted a tree
> outlined against the sky on the ridge closest to our house. I
> said--"if that tree goes, we're out of here."
> Fifteen minutes later, the tree was spectacularly ablaze. By this
> time, we could see the fires coming down the hills toward our house
> from three sides. The fires roared up the hill toward a house across
> the way from us, and we could see the balcony of the house begin to
> burn. We were sure that house would be lost, but an aerial drop of
> water extinguished the flames. (It should be noted that air
> operations (water drops and chemical retardant drops) normally cease
> at sundown for safety reasons, but they continued into the night for
> With only one road into and out of Bell Canyon, it was clear that it
> was time to leave. As we decided this, confirmation came from
> sheriff's vehicles announcing, using bullhorns, announcing mandatory
> It should be noted that this is horse country, and many of the homes
> in the area have their own stable facilities. Horse trailers began
> arriving and the staging area for loading them was directly below our
> house. It was heart-rending to see these magnificent animals so
> obviously frightened by the smoke and the flames visible from all sides.
> We loaded up our cars with our own animals (a very big dog and a very
> small dog, both quite excited about this adventure) and left the
> house in God's hands.
> That night, we slept in our cars, with the animals.
> In the morning, the fate of the homes in Bell Canyon was not clear.
> All we could see was towering smoke above our area, and helicopters
> and planes flying all over.
> That day, we were not allowed back into the canyon at all. After many
> phone calls, we finally were able to find a hotel that would take us
> with our animals, and stayed there the second night, watching the
> news reports on television, which continuously talked about Bell
> Canyon being the place where the fiercest battles with the blaze were
> occurring, and where the most "hot spots" were. The most encouraging
> news was that only one home was reported to have been destroyed.
> In the morning we were able to reach the Bell Canyon guard gate and
> were informed that residents with identification were being allowed
> back in. We drove in and were appalled at the sight of the hills
> surrounding Bell Canyon completely blackened--and many of the
> interior roads showed areas around the homes that were blackened, as
> Our house, thanks to the Protection of the Holy Mother of God, was
> untouched, although from the windows we see how close the flames came
> to many of the houses in our area.
> The firefighters had done an absolutely magnificent job.
> We thank all of you for your prayers.
> With love in Christ,
> Prot. Alexander Lebedeff
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]