The 1982 Agoura Fire

A heart-stopping tale well told.


When you live in Southern California, you get used to wildfires. They come with great regularity every fall with the Santa Anna winds. I had seen more than my share as a youngster growing up in San Fernando, California. At one point, I was even the head of a volunteer mountain rescue squad and a volunteer firefighter. It was just a part of growing up in Southern California.

However, after graduating college I moved out of the immediate fire zone just enough to feel assured I wouldn’t get burned out of my house in an instant. It was a relief. I spent several years in the relative comfort of Granada Hills as I gazed at the yearly wildfires from afar. Yep, I was still a volunteer but at least the flames weren’t licking at my door.

In 1982 I was remarried to the love of my life. We immediately bought…

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