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'We didn't get afraid'

Tourists Keith Topping and his wife Sheela, from Ojai, arrived on the island Thursday and have no plans to leave early because of the fire. They're scheduled to leave Saturday.

"I’d see hot spots," Topping said. "They would quickly get to them with helicopters. We didn’t get afraid for some reason. I didn't have sense enough. I guess we saw it as an adventure."

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals had 46 arrivals scheduled for today but they were all canceled. In the offices in downtown Avalon, the phones were ringing off the hook as staffers fielded calls from landlords wanting to make sure their properties were OK.

Denny Honsey, general manager of Catalina Island Vacation Rentals, said: "We still had some people who said, 'We still want to come,' but I had to tell them, 'You can't come here.'"

Company president Kevin Strege sent his wife and kids to the mainland to escape the blaze.

"I’ve seen fires before but never getting close to town."

-Seema Mehta in Avalon


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