Movie legend Kirk Douglas was forced to flee Montecito, California when wildfires threatened to engulf his family home.
The 92 year old was visiting his grandchildren in Santa Barbara County earlier this month (May09) when they received an evacuation warning from fire officials.
But the veteran actor could only watch helplessly as wife Anne packed the essentials they would need in an emergency, because he is still nursing a broken foot from an accident last month (Apr09).
Douglas writes on his blog, "We got a notice to be ready to evacuate, the wind had changed and the fire was coming closer. From our doorstep we could see the flames and smoke billowing on the mountainside. We debated about leaving but the order was not yet given to evacuate.
"I said, 'Let's stay,' and my nervous wife, Anne, agreed but she started to make preparations. She left the gate open in case the power went off and we were trapped. With our housekeeper Mary's help, she put the car in the driveway and loaded it with water and blankets. Then, she gathered up all of our personal effects and spent the rest of the night waiting.
"I was no help - I'm still wearing the plastic boot because of the broken bone in my foot. Don't tell anybody, but I slept through the whole thing. In the morning, the air was getting smoky so we left for Los Angeles."
The fires began last week (05May09) and drove more than 30,000 people out of Santa Barbara County, as well as destroying more than 80 homes - and the news left Douglas devastated.
He adds, "I feel very sad for them. Mother Nature can be tough, but when that happens you not only have to protect yourself, you have to try to help others."