Monday, October 22, 2007

Salt spray, ash and anxiety mix in the Encinitas air

Posted @ 4:51 PM

At Seaside Beach in Encinitas, the air is filled with ash this afternoon.

More and more residents from Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach and Encinitas are camping in the beach's parking lot.

Rancho Santa Fe resident Ryan Hicks parked her family's horse, Cody, by his trailer in the lot because the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Rancho Santa Fe polo fields were full.

She and her parents were planning to camp at the beach for the night. "This is surreal. It's like a dream," she said. "When the sky's like this, it just adds to everything."

Nearby, Solana Beach resident Dee Dee McCann sat with her dog, Sante, and a neighbor's dog waiting out the fire. Her late husband, Jim McCann, who was San Diego Triathlon Club president, died only four months ago. She sat by her Toyota Tundra writing a letter to him about what it's like to be running away from a fire without him.

"This is as safe as anwyere else," she said. "I didn't want to go to Qualcomm or the Del Mar Fairgrounds because I knew they would be a complete madhouse."

Paige West, 11, of Encinitas said she and her family also were prepared to camp at the beach. "I kind of got used to the air," she said. "It's not as bad as it was earlier."

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