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California Fires Redux

 
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:53 pm    Post subject: California Fires Redux Reply with quote

Eerily, almost to the exact day (October 20) of the Berkeley-Oakland fires 16 years later, another firestorm is in progress in California, this time in the southern part of the state.

Any C&Zers in Southern Caifornia who are near this tragedy? Rainey? Others? All of you, take care and don't take any chances. Losing houses and property is one thing; losing lives is another.

Pray for dipping temperatures, no wind, and some rain.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I understand it there are fires from Oxnard to the Mexican border. They're standing ready to evacuate the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. That's not everything in between, of course, but a massive area for fire fighters to have to cover nonetheless! A quarter of a million people have been evacuated from San Diego county alone. Don't know how many up here in Los Angeles county.

I'm in Woodland Hills near the Ventura countyline. That's closest to the Malibu fire and south of the Canyon Country fire. We're not in any danger. My neighborhood is suburban but close to Ventura Blvd and the 101 which is to say close to the main thorofares.

We're about 2 miles from the facility that is taking in the large animals like horses that are being evacuated from Malibu. So they're counting on this area remaining safe. Still, my animals smell the smoke and are pretty nutz.

Hope no one else is in any more danger. This is exciting enough, thank you very much. Shocked
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an interactive map of the fires I've found.
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&om=1&msa=0&msid=104490150066531762262.00043d07fd69c22f79aee&ll=34.265161,-118.638611&spn=0.567471,0.823975&z=10&source=embed

If you move the blue square in the lower right you can go up and down the coast for a different detail. Meanwhile, if you click on any of the features represented it identifies resources and landmarks. If you click on any of the fire symbols it identifies that fire by the name the firefighters are using and provides what information is available like the size, number of buildings threatened and percentage of containment (hint: not much).

You can also select the Satellite or Hybrid maps on the upper right and see the actual terrain.

I'm near the green horse where large animals who have been evacuated are being boarded — just south of the 101 freeway and immediately east of that road (Topanga) that's been closed down to be exact. As you can see it's suburban but it's on the fringe of the developed area so it's secure where we are even though there are undeveloped canyons from the south of us to the coast.

That isn't to say there are no people living there. There are and these are the people who go through constant cycles of mudslides and wildfires just so they can live in Los Angeles and close to nature too. It's quite beautiful and driving that closed road from where we are to the coast is like a 20 minute mini-vacation. I hope it stays that way!
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At times like these when I'm a zillion miles from certain events....my heart goes to the spots...to the civilians...to all those working in firefighting..all those...

a heavy dose of nature....of the power in our planet...of the energy...

and along with such times, will come stories...of bravery, of generosity, of sudden hope, of grief, of anger; and in a little while, of 'oh my goodness, there's the first green shoot on that blackened tree' moments...

with love from Australia to California....I am thinking of you so much..
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georgia



Joined: 16 May 2006
Posts: 456
Location: california

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, I'm (we're) relieved that you and yours are safe. Having lived through the Oakland firestorm of 16 years ago, I know the fear you can feel--and the terrible sadness--if you are anywhere near the fires. We were lucky, and the fires here did not reach us. But we had our old van packed with the irreplacables: important documents, family photos, handmade baby clothes, etc. What else matters? My husband went to work at the hospital emergency room where he worked part-time, and I sat at home watching the television. Our older daughter was in her freshman year at Cal and watched the fire spread over the Berkeley hills before she high-tailed it out of her dorm with a few friends and came home (a mere 5 miles away).

My brother tells me that the furniture in his house in Huntington Beach was covered with gritty ash before he realized what was happening and shut the house up tight.

Once again, wish for no wind, falling temps, and moisture of any kind. What a nightmare.
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reminded of a fire that swept through parts of Victoria...friends of ours were in an area totally surrounded by fire...a ring...terror..

there will come a time when this fire will stop...and then the reality of the first day without the flames...

hugs to all
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live about one block from where the firestorm in Oakland STOPPED 16 years ago. (I'm about a mile away from Georgia.) Our son's school was destroyed and 35 families from that school - as well as about 50 families from our church (some duplicates here) - lost their homes.

I walk daily along a road of houses ALL rebuilt after the fire and I know the toll it takes on families to go through the turmoil of losing EVERYTHING - often, including pets!

So, I too have been praying and sending good thoughts to those going through this. It's dreadful.. Today on the radio I heard a woman whose house burned 4 years ago. Finally a year ago, they moved into their new home. She is not sure the new home is still there - they left in a shower of sparks! She said the only good thing is that they didn't have much in the house because they were still recovering from the first fire! I guess I would be thinking about moving at that point to somewhere that was maybe a little safer from wild fires.

Again, I hope everyone is SAFE. THINGS can be replaced.

Has anyone heard anything about arson with any of these fires? I have heard some very paranoid theories. Question
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I woke this morning there was a cataloguing of American disasters and the Oakland fire — tho fires, generally and surprisingly, aren't the costliest disasters we have — was in the top 5. I had no idea!

Sooo sad to hear about someone potentially losing a second home to fire! Again, I can't imagine...

Steve was randomly wondering what this will do to available loan money following on the heels of the unsecured loans financial disaster. Can't guess about that either.

Mostly, regarding the fires up here, they're thinking the effects of the winds which, happily, are less intense. I think there's some speculation about arson in San Diego county tho. Not sure how they can formulate that theory when there's been so little containment to examine the site of the first outbreak, but that's what I've heard on the news.

The central problem, I believe, is zoning. The natural contours of the land and the resinous nature of the growth cause fires that become intensely hot immediately while the narrow confines of canyons make it difficult to evacuate, difficult for firefighting equipment to get in and next to impossible to get the equipment out again. In fact, the coalescing of factors for fire are so extreme in San Diego county that a planning officer for the fire department told a Red Cross meeting in Ventura county that fire fighters from Australia and New Zealand come to San Diego to train with their fire fighters in these extreme conditions.

These areas have more recently been developed at the insistence of big developers who make the big bucks on new home construction. Previously, these same canyons caught fire and burned. But firefighters didn't have to go into them — they contained them from the perimeters. And people didn't have to make the decisions to try to defend their homes or evacuate. Now, lines of closely-set homes go up the canyons along single roads that end in cul-de-sacs where fire fighters can't afford to lose men and equipment. Plus, habitation introduces all sorts of new hazards — electric lines, BBQs, fireplace sparks, people!

Developers, zoning boards and local governments have to answer for this one!
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This article is one of the scarier things I've read this morning!

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/10/25/MNA0SVGRQ.DTL
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things that they're saying is different about the Los Angeles county fires and the San Diego county fires is that while both fire departments prepare for dealing with such fires, Los Angeles county puts a lot of energy into preparing to prevent such fires.

People who live in the vegetated areas here are required by law to have a clearance area around their structures. If they don't do their clearance, they get a notice and then the fire department (or their contractors) do it and bill the owners.

It's also been more than a decade since we have been allowed to have the lovely cedar shake roofs that were so characteristic of SoCal at one point. They were an important element in the architecture of the ranch houses of the 50s. But now they're not permitted in building and those who still have them are only allowed to replace (I think it's) 10% of the roof to maintain existing ones.

Maybe some of those things are applicable strategies for NoCal.
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The vegetation clearance and shake roof prohibition is also mandated up here. Every fall, a friendly firefighter coomes by and does an inspection. Last year two of our shrubss were too close to the top of the chimney, so we hacked everything back - WAAAAAAAAAAAAY back.

Interestingly, I live, as I mentioned , a block away from the last home that burned in Oaklnd. Of the homes that survived the inferno, 100% have tile roofs. None of the homes with shake or even composition shingle roofs survived. (At least the ones near me)
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