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As soon as this happens all the crazies and the fire bugs come out and start setting fires in the dry brush in the foot hills.There is a scrub brush called Grease Wood that burns like mad. So far they have lost about 100 homes and a lot of out buildings. Sky is dark grey with smoke and your eyes smart & redden if you have to go out in it.
There is not enough firemen and equipment to cover all the hot spots. Drop planes and helicopters have been of limited use due to high winds. Eventually the fire fighters get the upper hand as the fuel for the fire is consumed.
No we don't have hurricanes, tornadoes and floods. Our plague of locusts are fires, mud slides and earthquakes!...KF
[edited by: engine at 11:12 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
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The people who set these fires should be guilty of a capital offence.
[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 10:20 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
Most of the house are burnt down to foundation. As the old saying goes " they managed to save the lot and the well!" It is a terrible loss to people especially when they lose a lifetime of mementos and photos etc.
Thanks for caring!...KF
[edited by: engine at 11:13 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
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I'm about 10 miles North of where some of the bigger fires are. The sky is full of smoke, there are orange glows everywhere. Winds are kicking up to 60MPH in certain areas. They've been clocked at over 100MPH. These Santa Ana winds can be as damaging as hurricane winds. You look at the freeways and there are Semi-Trucks laying on their sides because they were blown over.
Air quality is probably at its worse ever. Many people have to wear surgical masks to go outside, it is that thick with ash and other debris. Us Californians are definitely in for a rough ride here in the near future. The Governor has declared a State of Emergency for "all of Southern California" and when all this is over with, that's when the reality of it all will really sink in. I'm saddened for those who are watching their lives go up in flames.
There was a comment yesterday from a Fire Captain and he said...
"There are more homes burning than we have fire engines and firemen".
I've had the news on since yesterday morning and am keeping in tune with everything that is going on. Night before last I was able to see flames coming up over the mountains and it was a scary sight. I'm prepared if I have to go.
They just said on the news that the amount of land burning in California is equivalent to a small state.
2007-10-23 at 0605 - The President has just declared a Federal Emergency for Southern California.
2007-10-23 at 0615 - 384 square miles of land now on fire.
2007-10-23 at 0645 - Mandatory evacuation just issued for 3,800 homes in San Diego. One of their major fires just jumped into the largest wooded area in their area.
SOCal will be in my prayers. Be smart guys... don't stick around too long.
As I watch the news now, things seem to be calming down a bit. That's because the winds are at a lull right now. The day is just beginning as far as the Santa Ana winds go.
The recent numbers show that over 300,000 people have been given mandatory evacuation orders. The number of homes destroyed in San Diego has now crossed the 600+ mark. Now that the sun is up, the counts will become more accurate. We're fortunate in that the loss of life is minimal.
Its what comes after all this is over with. That's going to be the tough part.
Over 6,000 firefighters involved. They've called in fire teams from Arizona to assist. Last I heard we are at about 30% contained. But, that varies on which of the many fires you are tracking. In one fire, they are only 5% contained.
Today is supposed to be the last day of the Santa Anas. They should die down around 1430/1500 today. Its the time between now and then that is critical. When you have winds blowing embers upwards of 2-3 miles and starting other fires, it becomes a major challenge.
Watching the weather right now, we are going to have triple digit temps in some areas. Add that to the bucketfull of rain we've had this year and it makes for the "Perfect Storm" as the Governor put it yesterday. We've had 1/5th the rainfall we should have for the year. Things are so dry, you can almost taste the dryness in the air.
Ten (10) major fires burning as of this moment. Mandatory evacuations still being issued for many in Southern California. Major roads closed. Residents refusing to leave their homes with fire licking at their back yards. They are actually standing out there with garden hoses trying to fend off flames that are 10, 15. 20 feet in height blowing around at 15, 20, 30MPH.
Let's remember, its only property, it can be replaced. If you're in Southern California and have been issued mandatory evacuation orders, then obey them. If you're in any of the Canyons, you are most likely under some sort of evacuation order.
I'm watching scenes from a helicopter recorded earlier. I'm not sure exactly where that chopper is, but they are doing a 360 pan and you can see many of the fires clearly. It's like we are surrounded by flames.
If you wish to follow what is happening, I'm watching abc7 here in Orange County.
abc7.com: Eyewitness News for Los Angeles and Southern California
I live about 10 miles from the Malibu fire (upwind, luckily). My parents live about 5 miles from the Canyon Country fire (I was up there for the weekend and left about an hour before the fire started in Agua Dulce), and their office is about 3 miles from the Stevenson Ranch fire.
What makes this even worse is those same residents in San Diego went through something similar in 2003. They are not new to this. We live in a state that is prone to many natural disasters with fire being at the top of the list. And then when it rains (which these days is rare), we have mud slides. And inbetween all of that, we have a few earthquakes here and there on a daily basis. And then a big one every now and then.
I am very thankful that we have all the people involved who are bravely fighting these fires. Those guys/gals are awesome. To stand there in a full body heat suit with flames all around you, I say Kudos to you!
2007-10-23 at 0850 - "This is the largest evacuation in California history."
These are areas where most of the wealth is in Southern California. Country clubs, million dollar homes, etc. You watch the live reports and you see these plumes of black smoke. Each time one occurs, you know another home just went up in flames. This is really heart-breaking and saddening.
I know one of our members WebGuerrilla was given mandatory evactuation orders yesterday. He is north of Los Angeles where one of the other major fires are.
The reports are continuously coming in and the numbers are increasing as each report is confirmed and then confirmed again.
Can you believe that part of this is due to the...
Southern California Beetle Infestation
Years of severe drought have left the forests of San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties in Southern California significantly stressed and vulnerable to a bark beetle infestation that has created millions of dead and dying trees. The latest aerial surveys estimate that over two-thirds of the Southern California forests have suffered above normal tree mortality due to drought and insects.
Bark Beetles of the Southern California Forests
The bark beetle killed trees reduce the overall fuel moisture in areas where large numbers of dead trees stand. The dead, dry trees burn faster and hotter than living trees within any given stand.
If you look at the maps of where infestation of the Bark Beetle is heavy, they are some of the same areas that are burning right now.
The fires we are experiencing now were predicted in 2003 forward. Nature has been extremely busy these past 12 months in all parts of the world.
From the California Office of Emergency Services
This covers all of the California Wildfires, there are ten (10) of them at the moment.
The numbers are expected to increase as we continue through the week. Latest reports state that it could be 5-14 days before this is fully contained barring any further acts of nature.
My family is part of the 500k+ that are still evacuated in San Diego County. We left town yesterday morning and expect to be gone at least until Friday.
The best source of info for San Diego online is [sosdfireblog.blogspot.com...]
The maps that show the fires in the County is like looking at an invading army driving the entire County into the sea.
[edited by: tedster at 6:02 pm (utc) on Oct. 24, 2007]
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We literally have "Fire Storms" taking place. There are "Fire Tornados" that rip across the land and destroy everything in their path. We have winds blowing embers miles away and starting new fires.
Its really difficult for me to fathom what many are going through right now in Southern California. I'm about 5 miles from one of the larger fires in Irvine (the Santiago Fire) and its a worrisome sight to see flames coming up over the top of the mountains. These are the same areas where I go for evening drives.
They say now over 600 square miles (almost twice as much as yesterday) have been burned. Over 500,000 people evacuated. And with all this happening, there are people complaining about the response efforts. I sit here and think, how do you prepare and respond to something of this magnitude? On day 2, there were more homes on fire than there were fire trucks and personnel to deal with them. We are now on day 4 and the situation is thrice as bad.
We're fortunate in that the Santa Ana Winds have simmered down. Today is the "Transition Day" as they call it. Now we have to sit and hope that the weather remains dry for a bit while things are cleaned up. The worst thing that could happen now would be rain. Even though we desparately need it, we surely don't want it now. When it rains after a major fire, we usually have mud slides to deal with. Not only that, but the runoff from the mountains is so toxic, it gets pretty nasty around here.
2007-10-24 at 0425 - They've closed the 5 Freeway around Camp Pendleton as the fire has crossed the freeway.
there are people complaining about the response efforts.
In terms of assistance from the state, resources are allocated based on priority, with highest priority going to structures in danger. Apparently, at the time of the request by O.C., no structures were in immediate danger, so the resources were initially allocated to those areas that were deemed in higher danger for structures.
Again, this was from talk radio, so the actual numbers/events may not be entirely correct. But hopefully O.C. (and other areas) will upgrade and expand their resources. From what I understand, San Diego learned a big lesson from their previous fire experience and the reverse-911 worked very well, despite being online for only a month (other than the fact that publicity about it was sparse and a lot of people didn't know about it, especially that they could register cell phones).
With the Santa Anas dying down, it looks like a lot of the L.A. county fires are being mostly contained, so hopefully a lot of those resources can be shifted down south to O.C.
I'll second the comment that for those of you not here, you have no concept of what it's like. Despite the horrendous conditions, the firefighters have been doing a tremendous job. The incrediblly low number of fatalities and casualties so far is remarkable, especially considering the conditions. Again, major kudos for the brave men and women!
As a fellow Southern California resident I got more info. from you guys than
the TV and Newspapers.
You both should be stringers for the LA Times and the Orange County Register.
Thanks again for a job well done!...KF
2007-10-24 at 1110 - It is being reported that the damages in San Diego County alone at this date and time are in excess of $1 billion US dollars.
Parts of our Marine Corp base in San Diego are now on fire, Camp Pendleton. The major artery connecting the south is now closed, the 5 Freeway. The fires are burning from Temecula to the Mexico border, that's about 75 miles of fire line. That's just the fires south of Los Angeles. We also have fires north of Los Angeles and into the Mountains.
There are a plethora of small communities that have been destroyed throughout the canyons and continue to be destroyed. We have resources here from all of the Western United States and from New York. The President has upgraded the status here in California to a "Major Disaster".
Unfortunately this is just the beginning of a long recovery process. While we are mostly focused on what is happening now, the after effects of all this are even more concerning. Our coastal areas rely on tourism and local residents heavily. Our oceans are going to be affected for some time after this. I'm not sure on what scale, but I know from previous fires that the runoff that comes out of the mountains and into the Pacific Ocean after a fire is very harzardous to one's health.
I don't even want to think about what those 500,000 displaced residents are going to do. Our insurance industry is already stressed, this is sure to cripple quite a few after the dust settles.
Memories have been lost. Possessions have been destroyed. But, we are fortunate in that the loss of life has been very minimal. The real effects of all this will come from a psychological standpoint. And you know what, Californians seem to be resilient to acts of nature. We'll get through all of this.
2007-10-24 at 1130 - San Bernardino National Forest is engulfed in flames (between Running Springs and Snow Valley). The fire line is steadly moving towards Highway 18 and that is a major artery connecting many people to the rest of us down here.
They are talking about the after effects of this right now. That entire area will be prone to rock slides, mud slides and all sorts of other issues.
Oh-oh, here we go again, black plumes of smoke popping up all over the place, bummer... :(
And, all the conspiracy theories are now surfacing. They've already arrested one 48 year old male from Hesperia who was starting a fire on the side of a road. They are now classifying him as a "Person of Interest". The fire burning just south of me in Irvine has been confirmed as arson. It does make you wonder...
And it's not just a few random spots in sparsely populated areas. These are major metropolitan areas that are home to millions of people and near major transportation arteries used by millions of commuters and commercial truckers. All of which will probably be seriously affected by mud slides for the next 1-2 years at least. To give outsiders some idea, the 5 freeway (affected by the fires at Camp Pendleton near San Diego and Castaic north of L.A.) is *THE* transportation artery between Mexico-Los Angeles-all points north. (The "alternative" for Los Angeles going north is the 101, which is already the most congested highway in the country. The "alternative" for Mexico to Los Angeles is the 15, which will also likely be affected.) Pacific Coast Hwy. (Rte. 1) going through Malibu will likely have mud slide problems as well- it often does every year without any help from fire-induced super erosion, which will dump even more people on the 101, if they decide to go that way-out-of-the-way route. This doesn't just affect the daily commutes of millions of people, but also the road transportation of billions of dollars of goods that flow into the country's largest ports of L.A. & Long Beach and get shipped everywhere else. Not to mention perishable goods that are shipped into the area through those arteries.
And yes, tourism will be seriously affected. So far, most major landmark buildings seem to have been spared- not sure if there was damage to the San Diego WIld Animal Park or if they just evacuated the animals as a recaution. But the black scars on the landscape will be around for a good 1-3 years.
Perhaps this will be a minor shot in the arm for the housing industry as 1,000+ and counting families have potentially just been added to the home buyers pool. (Then again, it may also scare away a lot of previously potential buyers in fire ravished areas.) And the demand for housing repairs will skyrocket short-term. But it's definitely going to hurt the insurance industry. Which will in turn eventually be shouldered by other policy holders. Perhaps it might even bail out a few people who were close to foreclosure, assuming their insurance will pay close to their outstanding mortgage(s).
And all the smoke and soot will play havoc on the environment. The air quality will be poor for weeks to months, especially the further inland you go. Runoff will eventually dump a lot of the soot into the ocean and lakes, hurting water quality and affecting fishes and other animals.
And this is after just a few days of fires. SOme of the fires will continue to burn for many more days and weeks. And fire season isn't anywhere near over yet.
The weather has changed considerably and that has helped quite a bit. But, we've got some major fire lines out there that are still at zero containment. There is a town in the San Bernardino mountains called Running Springs that is now surrounded on three sides by fire.
The air here is terrible. It's raining ash. There is this orange glow around the sun and this ugly haze everywhere.
They are predicting containment on all fires within 5-14 days. But again, that takes into consideration that weather conditions remain positive.
Winds have died down and the humidity is up, some small showers here and there.
Now we start a new cycle, brush grows back, people rebuild, 3 or 4 years down the road it will happen all again. It seems we never learn. Details at eleven.