Our fire department is no longer with a full-time staff. In fact I think the doors are closed a few days a week and our engine gone.

The neighborhood is sandwiched between two fire departments, one 2 miles away, the other probably 4 or 5. It may not seem far but if either of those departments are in use elsewhere, we are screwed. The closer station deals with car accidents from the Pacific Coast Highway and the house filled hills.

Since Mayor Villaretardo (not my moniker for him but now EVERYONE seems to call the guy) deemed it necessary to use funds elsewhere, we now have little defense against fire. And if these hills explode they way they look like they might, we are in a world of trouble.

When mom fell, In the ride to the hospital, the paramedics from our station quietly expressed their concerns. They know the reality is only a matter of when not if.

I’m writing this as the sun rises on what is to be yet another scorching day. The hills are a matchbox. And if you grew up in Los Angeles during the fires of Malibu or have been anywhere near a fire that moves faster than Justin Bieber in his Audi, you know just how dangerous and destructive this can be.

Too many things have changed for the worse in my old neighborhood but not even the nouveau riche can stop a fire.

And this morning I smell smoke.