Surviving the Firestorm in California by Angelic Guidance
The Voice said, “Turn around, go back into the fire.”
© 2007 Tiffany Snow

Before we went to bed Sunday night, my husband Billy and I looked at the latest fire information, said our prayers, and felt safe. We always said special prayers for our land, and the other 2 families here, and listened for Divine guidance, protection and direction in all things. What came to be known as the “witch fire” was miles and miles away near the town of Ramona, and there was no information given about evacuating Highland Valley Road, where we live. But within only a few hours it would be a matter of life and death to be able to listen to that voice in the midst of a firestorm of flame and cinders, surrounded with no open roads or discernable way out…

That Sunday the wind had been blowing fiercely, the Santa Ana winds were gusting down the mountain and through the avocado grove, piling a thick layer of leaves at our front door. I had opened the windows, the wind had always given me a feeling of exhilaration; and I was happy to see the leaves dance with the fall season change. Our two cats were not as impressed, and Munchi and Angel hid under the couch until I got the message and closed the windows back down. My husband noticed a light layer of dust on the counter, and there was a slight smell like a campground cooking fire in the air.

Highland Valley road is on a ridge line above the San Pasqual Valley, near the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The sunsets and views from here are wonderful, and though both roads down the mountain wind and turn for miles, it seems to be the favorite route for weekend visitors on their way to the quaint little town of Julian and their famous apple pie. Situated as we are on the outskirts of the three towns of Escondido, Poway and Ramona, it seems that city officials don’t really know what area we live in, since on that fateful night of the fire, none of us on Highland Valley got reverse 911 calls to evacuate. Assuming that another area was responsible for making the calls left a gap in the system which left an entire area without warning.

My husband was in bed and I was in the living room on the computer. About 3 a.m. Monday morning, I heard a distinct voice in my mind say, “we can’t hold it back any longer. You must leave.” I looked up quizzically and the adrenalin shot through my body – the house was surrounded by orange glowing smoke, and bright flames were racing toward the house from all sides, all in a circle about 300 feet away. I yelled, “Billy! The fire is HERE!” He shot out of bed, looked out the window, said, “Get dressed. You get the computers, I’ll get the cats.” We still had lights. I raced to the closet, praying for guidance, praying to stay calm. I grabbed an old Star Wars t-shirt with the slogan “Jedi – may the force be with you” and headed for the two laptops that have our business and book information on them. As a healer and stigmata-bearer, I had experienced many unusual things in my life, and the notes and information that came through those times of Divine connection were not to be lost. I remembered to pull the computer power cords out of the walls. I grabbed my purse. But I forgot my wedding ring and photo albums. “Get in the car! NOW!” Billy shouted to me, as he threw the couch to one side to try to get the cats. As he continued to try to capture them to no avail, I yelled back to him, “we can’t wait, come now!”

We both knew the choice we had to make, our hearts were breaking – he grabbed his wallet, his cell phone, our prayer book of The Divine Decrees and raced out the door, and jumped into the car. We had done all this in only about three minutes. He looked over at me and said, “which way do we go?” All around us was the flames. It was upon us now. I listened. My heart was racing, but my mind was calm. Go up the driveway, then head down Highland Valley to the I15 freeway. We started up the driveway, flames everywhere, we were evidently in a pocket, and it looked like the fires had been burning longer around us. Our homes are behind a large wooden gate, which opens by electricity. In the few moments it took to go from our house to the gate, the electricity had gone out, and it wouldn’t open. The car in front of the caretaker’s little trailer was gone, so we knew he had probably left. There were flames behind his trailer taller than his home. We couldn’t see our landlord’s house on top of the hill, and I prayed they were alright. I asked if we needed to go up there and get them. I got the answer “no.” They are an active but older couple, and I didn’t know how they could get out as quickly as was needed. But I was not compelled to go up. I trusted I was hearing what I needed to hear.

Billy pulled the gate open, which felt unusually light to him, and we headed down the road. It was an eerie sight. The smoke was so thick; you couldn’t see anything until you were upon it. We knew where the road was because it was the only one place the fire wasn’t. It was just a black strip through the orange flames. Every house I could see was a bonfire. Any place there was fuel, the fire was taking as its own. I asked the Holy Angels to try to save our cats, and even our home if possible. I got the answer, “We will try our best.” We are newlyweds, and all of our wedding pictures, my original songs from when I was in the music business, all of my paintings would be gone. The statue of Mary that wept whenever Holy stigmata would happen, and the two Angel statues above the bed that did the same, all would be burned. How could they not be? I would be happy to get out with our lives. I then asked God simply for that, and prayed safety for all those around us. All material things can be replaced. I took comfort in knowing that every song had been played, and every moment was recorded in our hearts, and none of that could ever be truly lost, the energy of it continues forever in our mind and in the mind of God, and expands out. So in the midst of the fire, I smiled.

All these thoughts were racing through as fast as wildfire (I know what that means now). My husband said; “I can’t see the road. Hold on.” I said, “I left my wedding ring.” “It’s OK, he said, so did I.” We bypassed Bandy Canyon road, an offshoot that goes down the mountain in another direction, and we were again told by The Big Guy to keep going straight, down the seven miles of Highland Valley Road to the freeway. I wondered if we would be out of it after we got down the mountain. Instead, it was just as bad if not worse there, and each home was another bonfire blazing through the smoke. The heat inside our car from the flames was so bad I prayed our gas tank wouldn’t catch on fire. A white alb (my husband is a Priest) was hanging in the back seat. I grabbed it and found a bottle of Holy Water under the seat and saturated a corner of it. We put the cloth over our mouths to breathe through. Our eyes were tearing from the smoke and our lungs were burning.

We had navigated down the mountain eyeing every burning power pole and watching for any lines or trees that had fallen across the way. Now we were finally only a few miles from the freeway, where the road splits between a swampy flatland on one side and a water treatment plant on the other. There was little room for error, and not being able to see through the thick, grey smoke everywhere, we ran off the road at the intersection. Amazingly, only the front tires started to drop off the road, and easily we moved the car back onto the road and continued navigating our way, gunning the car at times to make it through areas where the trees were on fire and hanging over the road. We came upon a car on the road, completely engulfed in flames, the Angels said no one was burning in the car. We got over as far as we could, and gunned it again.

We were driving through the fire with one ear to the heavens, and one ear to the earth. We were almost to the freeway now, only about a quarter mile left out of several. The smoke was less here, and we only had to pass by a plant nursery and we would be free. We briefly saw a horse trailer ahead of us, and then they disappeared into the smoke. We came upon people along the road, who had gotten out of their cars. “Is it safe to go the other way?” a man asked. “We can’t get through this way, the flames are over the road. We can’t get out.” The nursery was on fire. I saw a vision in my mind’s eye, how it was OK to drive through on the road, but that it must be quick, but I saw that people would panic as the flames blew through from one side to another over them, and I saw vehicles losing control and blocking the way, and then people could be hurt. It was like a TV screen before my eyes, showing what was about to happen. What to do?

“Turn around, go back into the fire” I heard. What? I said it out loud, “Billy, turn around and go back into the fire.” My husband turned and looked at me. “What? Let’s just be sure you are hearing right. You are under a lot of stress. Go back into the fire? Are you sure?” “Yes!” I said, turn around now, go back up the hill and into the fire!” So we did. We turned the car around, even though we were so close to the freeway, and hurried back into the thick smoke and flames as quickly as we had left them. “Are you sure?” Billy asked once more. “Yes! I’m sure!” I answered as we passed a power pole ablaze, the lines ready to drop. I knew that I was putting both our lives into the hands of Him who knew the way out, but was I confident enough in my ability to hear, for the calmness I prayed for was lasting even “under fire.”

Now as a healer gifted by God, I have seen miracles happen under my hands thousands of times, I have seen the new medical reports, pet scans and blood work of others who God had brought through life-changing times. Now my life and that of my beloved husband relied on only a few words. No one else was coming down the road. It was nearly impassable. Our eyes were tearing from the smoke, our lungs searing. I thought in my analytical mind, “maybe this is so we can go down the other way, down Bandy Canyon, maybe that opened up now.” But that wasn’t the case. As we neared the intersection between Bandy Canyon and Highland Valley we saw through the haze two fire trucks sitting in the road, by one of the few places the eucalyptus trees were still untouched.

We rolled down our window, and smoke billowed in, “turn around,” they said, “it’s the only way out.” “No, we were just there,” Billy said. The man got on his radio, and confirmed, “You’re right. There is no way out. Just sit tight here for a minute.” He came back with two bottles of water and cloth filter masks and said, “we can’t do anything else here, we are going to try to get down the mountain. Put your car in between us.” At that moment, a small pickup truck with Hispanic workers in the back of it careened off the road and hit the back of the other fire truck beside us. They were told to place their vehicle between the two fire trucks as well. We were told we were going to leave in a few moments. We were going to be escorted down the mountain, with their full fire equipment and safety gear, including manual spot lights to check each crossing of the power lines. I knew this was the safe place God wanted us to be right now.

My heart was thankful, but we were still sitting in the road in the midst of the fires. The Divine voice came again. “You must move. There will be a flare up over the road in 5 minutes…” “Billy!” I said, “We have to go now! Tell them we have to move NOW!” Soon the voice said, “4 minutes…” The fireman knocked on our car and we rolled our window down. “We have to go now!” I shouted across my husband’s lap, we only have a few minutes!” The fireman seemed a bit taken back by my forcefulness, but assured me they are getting in their trucks now. On “2 minutes” we started moving, and slowly we caravanned down this alley of sorrow and hope. As I looked on, the fire raged onto the trees behind us, overcoming the trees right where we had been. Now we continued through the miles of orange smoke and flames, with other cars falling in behind us, and safely passed the nursery on the backside of Rancho Bernardo. We got onto the freeway. So many homes, and many new constructions, had burned. But many would also be saved. I knew this would be a time of miracles for many people, and many stories of thanksgiving would occur this night.

We drove south since the North 15 was sealed off by the local police and we kept going all the way to a hotel in San Diego, coughing, praising God for our lives and Divine direction, thanking the Holy Angels, and making phone calls all along the way. Our wonderful landlords were safe, they had actually been nowhere near the fire, but had been up visiting in Los Angeles. Our caretaker was safe as well. We called our families; none knew what had been happening. When we asked the hotel to book us for a few days, we were told they could only promise a couple of nights, because they were expecting a big convention in town. We told them things would be much different this week, and to expect an overload from people leaving their homes. They looked at us like we were crazy. I guess we were some of the first running from the fire. We collapsed on the bed, tried to get a grip on what just happened and then later bought some food and clothes, since all we had was literally 2 computers and “the shirts on our backs.”

The next day we booked a flight to New York, to stay with relatives. First I asked in prayer about this, since we both wanted to stay here if there was anything we could do. We were told that it didn’t matter where we went, we were indented to the fire, and with that as a touchstone, would be able to help manifest changes in participation with the Angels from wherever we chose to go. We boarded the plane carrying our laptops in a canvas health-food grocery bag and our clothes in the Jedi t-shirt, with the sleeves tied into a knot to make a bag. Though people looked at us strange at first, when we had the chance to explain, there were always tears in their eyes, as they seemed to also understand how indeed “the Force” was with us, and how people are more important than things. I teased Billy, saying this is one way to get out of mowing the lawn, and how he was always after me to pack lightly for travel.

Two days went by, then three, and four. From my father-in-law’s TV we watched everything we could, and I went online to try to get information about our house or Highland Valley Rd. My high emotions about the status of the property were clogging up any information I could get from Divine sources. I felt everything was OK, as if a bubble surrounded our area. The news we heard wasn’t good. Neighbors above us had evidently been warned by friends to leave, but their bodies were found charred in the debris. The neighbors across from us had survived by jumping in their pool with towels over their head and watched as their house burned; others had driven their van into an empty field, and lived.

Through it all, I held out hope for our little home, and especially our 2 kitties. Yet even from Google-earth, it looked like our home was gone, and no roof was apparent, just a white square area where our house should be. This was difficult for me to see, since I could see other some other houses and distinguish that there were ceramic tiles on their roofs. Everyone, including my husband, said I should just let it go, that nothing could survive what we had driven through. So I tried to convince myself they were right, that it was just me being hopeful, and living my healing business mantra “Be realistic…expect a miracle!” So on the morning of the fourth day, I gave up the thought. A dear friend found us another place and was taking the steps to secure the rental for us, even volunteering to furnish it for us. Times like these truly show what is deep in the heart of each person, and will bring it to the forefront. Even as the TV news reported some people were going behind the fire lines and looting homes, other people were opening theirs up to strangers.

I had seen unHoly Angels in the forefront of the flames, I knew they delight in destruction. This fire was not “an act of God,” The Big Guy is all about love, not punishment, he doesn’t bring the bad stuff, but he desires to save us out of it. A few days before the fire, we were given an illustration about how we are all asked to be the mystic, to hear him for ourselves. He said, “As the arrow leaves the bow for your destruction, you will be told to move right, or to move left, and you must do so without hesitation and without question.” We had no idea this would be literal for us in just a few days. During a fire, everything changes in a second. We had to be open to change too, and go with it.

The call came later on this same fourth day, in the afternoon, from our landlords. “We are calling you from inside your house, it is here, everything is intact, and I put food and water out for your cats. Our house is still here too and is fine, and even the caretaker’s trailer. Everything around us is gone. Part of the grove is damaged. It is a miracle.” I cried with amazement, when the Angels say they will try their best, there is a lot to that!

The fire burned a circle around our land; most everything around us is devastated. Friends said our home didn’t even smell like smoke on the inside. We couldn’t wait to return. It would be another week before the water and power would be back on, so we spent a few more days visiting in New York, now sharing the happy ending to our story. We had many friends who gave our pets love until we returned.

It is unreasonable that our place exists, just as it was unreasonable to turn around and drive back into the fire. I have learned much from this experience. I have learned that seeing with the literal eyes can sometimes distract from seeing the real truth through the eyes of faith. I have learned that Divine direction is always there and that we can hear it even in times of ultimate stress. And I have learned that contrary to stereotype, there are men who will ask for directions – and listen to their wives even when they are told to drive back into the fire! Through this experience, I have run the gamut of emotions: joy, sadness, melancholy, loss and elation. For me, it is similar to the stigmata, like a resurrection while still in the body, a rebuilding from the inside out. There are many people digging out from the ashes. People will either choose to praise God for their life and the lives of their loved ones, or blame him for the losses that have occurred.

As I see it, there are only two choices, love or fear. Love moves us forward, to rebuild, to have hope, to re-grow. Fear stagnates and freezes us, and keeps us from being the true potential we were created to be, and having the beautiful lives we were meant to have. We all have defining moments in our lives, and the San Diego fires have been defining moments for many people: for the heroic firefighters who guided so many to safety, for the police who helped keep people calm and directed their exits, for all those who listened to that voice inside telling them, “go this way or go that way.” May we be thankful for our lives, and see everything else as just an additional perk along the way. When we use our free will to go beyond our own energy and connect with Divine Energy, we have unlimited resources and guidance. Its in that place of unity and trust that we expand, and allow ourselves to be safely led, by God’s voice and our own that he placed within us. Even now, can’t you hear that voice inside you telling you that? Believe me, you can trust that Voice with your life, we did.

***update – we are back and everything is so surreal, people sifting through the ashes of their homes while others are merely cleaning their windows. There is melancholy in the air, and mixture of the full spectrum of emotions. It is like southern California has been through a war, and is experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome. Update on our home – it is in perfect shape, as are our kitties! There is burn everywhere else, and definite lines clearly seen around the perimeter of our home. Even though (didn’t we keep the Angels busy!) we left 2 one-gallon containers of gasoline for the lawn mower on the front porch, right against our home. And we have water, and even the power is back on. So now I am back at work continuing to fulfill the commission The Big Guy gave me, “Heal my children, help them remember who they are,” with hardly a bump. God is good! END

About the Author: Tiffany Snow carries the scars of the Holy Stigmata, and is a documented miracle healer and award-winning author. All her books are available on Distant healing, speciality prayers, live teleconferences and more articles are offered through the websites. This article may be reprinted and shared in any form, unedited, without permission: please list a website for contact information:   800-535-5474             TOP