Thoughts with the CA DEN

I sit in my office, with all the windows and doors of my house closed tight.  I am 20 miles from the nearest fire, but the smoke and ash are still thick and it makes me think of all of our CA DEN members that currently packing up or have already been evacuated. 
I’ve watched the news in horror as they have highlighted areas that have been evacuated, show houses burning down, and they are the same areas we have had DEN events with our members.  Last night, they mentioned they have evacuated so many people, it would be like evacuating Pittsburgh!

I did hear from Linda Foote, Poway DEN member, yesterday who had just been evacuated from her home and then even her district. I want to hear from the rest of you as well.  Let us know if you are doing fine and if there is any way we can help support you.

For now, I think I speak for all of Discovery Education and our incredible Discovery Educators, when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the CA DEN!


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  1. Stacey Pechan said:

    Yes, our prayers are definitely with all of you who have been directly affected. It has been an awful couple of days for Southern CA. I will most certainly be looking for ways that I can help out in the coming days and weeks. We need to be there for each other in times like these!!

  2. Barbara Neiman said:

    If there is anything I can do to help let me know. I live in Santa Monica.

  3. Cindy Hills said:

    Hi Jannita,

    Thank you for your concern…here at East Heritage in Fontana, everything is fine with the exception of the very high winds and the plume and smell of smoke that is coming from the fires in the nearby mountains, Arrowhead, Running Springs, etc. Over 500 homes and a total of over 750 structures have been lost in So. CA as of the morning news, as you well know. I will let you know if anything changes here. Let me know if there is anything that we can do.

  4. Jannita Demian said:

    Hi Jannita,

    Well, we are on watch and packed up in case we need to evacuate. We slept with the News and a light on just in case. Thankfully I am safe with my family for now. I feel helpless as I see so much loss in the not too distant areas. Qualcomm Stadium is in need of teachers to teach children. Maybe that’s the best way available teachers could assist.
    They need hand sanitizer and soap. Children’s activities (puzzles, stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, books, etc…)would be great.
    If we need to evacuate that will be where we go. That way I can be of service to the children during this time.
    Cajon Valley DEN Member-
    Vicki Jones

  5. Jannita Demian said:

    Hi there,
    What a nice message. I think I am safe here in Del Cerro but one never knows with the way the winds are blowing. At 6:00 A.M. I could see the flames on Mt. MIguel. That was scary and made the fire seem real to me. One bright spot was that today is the Discovery Ed. stream-a-thon. Since I can not work, I am enjoying some of these meetings (inbetween keeping my eyes on the news reports).
    So thanks for all you do,
    Birdy Hartman

  6. Jannita Demian said:

    Hi Jannita,

    Thank you for your concern…here at East Heritage in Fontana, everything is fine with the exception of the very high winds and the plume and smell of smoke that is coming from the fires in the nearby mountains, Arrowhead, Running Springs, etc. Over 500 homes and a total of over 750 structures have been lost in So. CA as of the morning news, as you well know. I will let you know if anything changes here. Let me know if there is anything that we can do.
    Etiwanda DEN Member-
    Cindy Hills

  7. Susan Little said:

    Hi Jannita,
    We are doing fine here in Fontana. Lots of high winds and smoke.

    Janese: you are in my prayers!

    Jannita: Thank you for giving us this forum to keep track of our DEN Family!

  8. Jannita Demian said:

    Hi Jannita,
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. My husband and I had to evacuate yesterday and are now in a hotel near Anaheim. Our son is still in San Diego but is safe at this point. We don’t know when we’ll be allowed to go home again
    Poway DEN Member-
    Suzie Voutila

  9. Susan Plack said:

    Hi Jannita,
    My dad woke us up at 4am in a bit of a panic when he saw the fire cresting over Mt. Miguel in San Diego County. His back yard view is the mountain, I can see it from my upstairs bedroom. I got up, looked out the window, took a shower, photographed my house, started to pack up, calmed down, got my dad over to my house, photographed his house, and took over TV duty so my husband and son could finally go to sleep. Dad is here with us now and all the men are upstairs sleeping while I keep watch on the fire. The wind is blowing it away from our houses right now, so for now we are good.
    Susan Plack
    Rancho San Diego

  10. Jannita Demian said:

    Dear Jannita,

    Thank you for thinking of us. The statistics are frightening with over
    500,000 residents under mandatory evacuation. With winds continually
    shifting, the number of fires have increased from two to seven to twelve.
    Evacuation centers that were open on Monday are now in the evacuated

    We are fine, although our Del Mar friends have been evacuated, and we are
    providing our own “evacuation center” for them.
    Our school district has closed all schools Monday
    and Tuesday – our youngest daughter woke us at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning to
    tell us that there were evacuation announcements for Carmel Valley west of
    Del Mar and part of the district.
    Our superintendent has been a part of three, lengthy, 42 San Diego County
    District Superintendent teleconferences and is keeping us in the
    communication loop. It is probable that all schools will be closed all
    week due to three factors: quality of air, need to clean facilities of ash
    and respiratory contaminents, staff living throughout the county who may
    have been evacuated or lost homes.

    The amount of support and shared resources have been incredible amongst
    San Diego county residents who have repeatedly shown their concern and
    compassion for those (people and animals) in crisis over the years.
    Del Mar DEN Members-
    Grace and Tom Hauseur

  11. Randy kolset said:


    Saddleback Valley Unified School District has had two schools closed to students. We also have many teachers who feared for the loss of their homes as well. We are holding it together in Orange County. I feel for the individuals in San Diego. I have a brother who is waiting to see if he needs to evacuate and a grandmother who is very worried that her home may eventually need to be evacuated. My thoughts are with everyone.

  12. Cyndi Robbins said:

    Hello All,
    I came to work in Anaheim today to get a breath of fresh air. I live in Portola Hills and my husband is there keeping an eye on things. All of my valuables and hard drive are in my car, far away from the fire. I am hoping the wind doesn’t pick up. It is smokey in Anaheim and the kids are tired of being inside, but we are safe!
    See you all on Saturday!
    Cyndi Robbins
    Southern California DEN

  13. Brett Harvey said:

    We’ve been safe in La Crescenta but have a few teachers homes from Simi Valley/Santa Clarita evacuated. My wife Megan was supposed to go off-track today but has stepped in to sub for 3 different teachers who got evacuated. Kept our cross-country runners off the trails today – too much smoke to breathe in. One had an asthma attack just being outside. Anyone have an indoor track? Sorry have to keep some humor. We’re OK. Several of our friends are in the fire depts. are up there so we’re praying for them. Keep up on Google Maps:,-118.146973&spn=2.199313,4.405518&z=8&om=0 the one for SD County:,-116.732483&spn=1.442114,1.697388&z=9 and several for Google Earth:

  14. Kim Randall said:

    Hi Everyone,

    I flew over the area this afternoon into LAX and couldn’t keep my eyes peeled from the window. I never seen anything like this while flying, smoke everywhere and the ground below looked like charcoal. My thoughts go out to all of our CA DEN members affected by the fire storms and that you all get to return home safe and sound.


  15. Cheryl Woolwine - North Florida said:

    WOW – being from Florida I can understand some of what you are all going through as we have been affected from fires in the past but definetly not to the degree as S. Calf. My prayers are with you all. If there is anything we can do to support you please let us know. We pray you all get to return home soon, safe and sound!

  16. Jennifer Jensen said:

    I echo the words of so many others…you are all in our thoughts and prayers. As this situation progresses, please let us know what we can do to help you and your students.

    Colorado DEN

  17. Anne Truger said:

    To all of our CA DEN members Stay safe and know that you are all in our prayers. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help those displaced in the fire. I can’t even imagine the fear and sense of loss people who have been evacuated are going through. We are all praying for an end to these firestorms.

    Illinois DEN

  18. Martha Snider said:

    Here’s what I sent out in email here in Lodi, Ca.

    “Jannita, Sarah, and Hall:

    I hope you, your families, and our CA DEN families are all as safe as you can be with all that’s going on. Please send word–DEN site, blog, or email–if there’s any help we can do from N. CA to assist–now and in the months to come. I’ll help get the word out up here, maybe a different kind of DEN event. Again, if there’s anything we can do to help, just yell.

    Lodi DEN Members: For all of you here in Lodi, I’ll let you know what we can do when I hear from Jannita Demian, Sarah Johangiry, or Hall Davidson. We were suppose to have a cyber CA DEN leader meeting tomorrow afternoon.” It’s cancelled. “Someone asked me yesterday ‘Do you know of anyone in S. CA?’ Besides our personal contacts, through education we do know many people in the southern part of our state. In recent days, I’ve marveled at how much local communities from Santa Barbara to San Diego have come together to help themselves. Even though other organizations have already begun to send resources from our area, I believe educators and students have some unique talents to lend our fellow Californians in need.

    I’m sure you all join me in wishing our S. CA DEN friends well. Check our the CA Den Blog for more info and classroom resources.


  19. Rosie Parmigiani said:

    Please be assured of our prayers here for all the CA DEN members and their families (four legged and two legged). God Bless!

  20. Jannita Demian said:

    Hi Jannita,

    I am very close to the Santiago Fire. Yesterday they had roads closed by me but I managed to get home. The closest it came to me was about 2 blocks away. The part that is still burning is scary to watch on the hillside behind me. But for now I think I am out of immediate danger. Thank God. I’m mostly concerned for the folks in San Diego County. It sounds like they are in a bad way.

    Here are some shots/video I took last night.

    Thanks for reaching out to the DEN folks!
    Regina Wagner

  21. Heather Sullivan said:

    From all of us here on the East Coast- Our thoughts & prayers are with you all- Be safe & Be well. This too shall pass….

    -The NJ DEN LC

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