oldsalt

My world is burning

34 posts in this topic

If you've tuned into the news today, you've probably seen that San Diego County is burning. As of this morning, more than 250,000 have been evacuated. There is a terrible pall of smoke hanging over the whole city. We are sitting under a rain of ash. Many of our major expressways are closed, as the fires jump . We are suffering hurricane force Santa Ana winds, which is making fighting the multiple fires almost impossible. Only a few helicopters are occasionally flying; it is too windy for the more efficient fixed-wing aircraft to fly. They don't expect the winds to end until Thursday.

My husband's boss has brought his family, and his horse, down to the marina. Their boat is a couple of docks away from ours. They had gone to a hotel last night, but that area was subsequently evacuated as well. We have several people who have had to leave their homes, and are thankful to have a boat to come to. They are the lucky ones.

I do have a point in writing about this. I want to commend our city and county government. They are doing a magnificent job of handling this crisis. When I compare their work with what happened during the terrible hurricanes of two years ago, especially in Louisiana, it is like night and day. Thankfully.

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Drat. How I completely missed that incomplete sentence, I don't know. The fires are jumping the roads.

Sorry about that.

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Drat. How I completely missed that incomplete sentence, I don't know. The fires are jumping the roads.

Sorry about that.

"the fires jump" is much more vivid and expresses the sudden shifts and aliveness of these fires. Watch out for flying embers, even on your boat. I wish you safe and well.

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Please keep posting, if you can. And keep safe.

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How awful for you, Janet. Do stay well.

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I do have a point in writing about this. I want to commend our city and county government. They are doing a magnificent job of handling this crisis.

The heroic fire-fighters and emergency personnel are stretched so thin but are doing an incredible job.

To those who have asked how I am doing, it is extremely windy and there is a huge hill covered in tinder-dry brush behind my house. I am watching it and so far, so good. The main problem is the wind now. My pool is full of leaves and branches, the flag in the front of the house blew over, and so did the side yard fence. There are leaves and branches everywhere and plenty of smoke in the air, so I'm staying indoors as much as possible.

I am several miles from the fire lines in Malibu and Santa Clarita, but the smoke from both fires is an eerie overcast. Here's a picture I took yesterday afternoon at 4:30PM.

post-2-1193092805.jpg

Five minutes later it was darker and the sun was completely gone.

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Thank you all for your concern. We are in no danger here, since we are on the coast, on the water. If the fire were to reach us, we'd just let go the lines and head out to sea. We do have several families that have come to their boats after being evacuated. We know that one family has definitely lost their beautiful home.

The worst we are suffering comes from breathing the smoke-polluted air. A mild on-shore breeze would normally help, but so much of the smoke has been pushed out to sea that all it is doing is pushing it back on us. The air and the ash is all we are enduring, and that is nothing compared to those who are losing their homes and possessions.

I must reiterate my admiration for those whose job it is to fight this conflagration, and those who have the responsibility involved in the crisis.

By the way, there have been no rapes or murders at the stadium. I blame Bush.

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This morning I drove about 60 miles along the coast -- from central Orange County across Camp Pendelton to Carlsbad. The sky was filled with smoke the entire way, with a small exception in Oceanside. At a couple points the visibility is really terrible. Power has been going in and out in parts of Orange County.

On my way out of Carlsbad, I heard on the radio that there is a good change the fires will cross from the I-15 to the I-5 and go all the way to the coast.

This is the biggest fire disaster to hit San Diego in many years, larger than the ones in 2003. The final tally for damage will be very large.

And by the way: the evacuation of 250k people was done while the fire itself has 0% containment. One big problem I've heard is the high winds prevent fixed-wing aircraft from assisting, so they're relying on helicopters. And coming up way short, like getting 5 when asking for 20. So this will not be over soon.

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P.S. to the last post:

Here is a blog for latest fire updates. Solana Beach residents have been advised to be prepared to evacuate. I heard the same advisory issued to Carlsbad, too.

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I didn't realize that those fires were of such proportions until reading this thread. I hope Betsy and Janet and other Forum members in California can avoid any personal disasters.

I have to wonder how much the out-of-control nature of these fires is related to California government land use restrictions, environmental laws that stop development and clearing of trees/brush from their "natural state".

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I have to wonder how much the out-of-control nature of these fires is related to California government land use restrictions, environmental laws that stop development and clearing of trees/brush from their "natural state".

The brush-covered hill behind my house can't be developed because it is sacred Chumash Indian burial ground. It is part of the local parks system.

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Here is an updated map. And now they're evacuating Del Mar.

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I drove back from a weekend in Phoenix yesterday afternoon and evening. Saturday was calm and warm in Phoenix, but by Sunday morning it was gusting to 40-50 miles per hour. I was in those gusts all through Arizona and Imperial County, California. But when I reached the mountain range that I-8 crosses at eastern border of San Diego County, the wind gusts picked up even from there. At one point, I was at almost a dead stop because of a detour around a wind caused accident between a camper trailer and an eighteen wheeler. The wind gusts felt like two or three strong men were pushing the side of my pickup truck, determined to tip it over.

When I got back home, it was as if a fog had settled and a light snow was falling. I looked up and the moon was blood red. I had turned the AC off in my apartment, so when I entered it it smelled as if somebody had lit a campfire in my living room. I turned on the AC to clear out the smoke, did some errands, and went to sleep.

That may sound flippant, but this is not my first southern California wild fire. The wind can drive the ash and smoke many miles from the actual danger. Note that Janet was seeing ashes falling even though she is far removed from the fires.

When I woke up this morning I learned that new fires had erupted. In addition to Ramona (where colleagues of mine were evacuated at 10:30 last night), there are new fires in Poway (where I work) and Rancho Bernardo (right across I-15 from where I live). Work was closed, but I checked in briefly anyway.

When I started up my truck, there was no sound from the radio which I normally keep on. Dead air from one of the San Diego pop/rock FM stations. I picked the next station. More dead air. It turns out that those stations are both Clear Channel stations, which briefly lost power this morning. The third channel I punched, AM 640 in LA came up right away. But still, it was disconcerting.

Colleagues who were with the company during the fires four years ago are now grizzled vets of when the wall of flame towered over our offices, the smoke was so thick that you couldn't see across our tiny parking lot (which we share with a volleyball gym next door), and employees used our offices as an evacuation center. The reason for this last event is that our office building is a former indoor shooting range, and its AC system is designed to filter out the most obnoxious of smokes. At this point, our paper based IP has been evacuated to an undisclosed location. :lol: We have plans in place to evacuate our servers and a test article satellite should the need arise.

So far, the smoke situation at home has improved from last night, and at this point I have no intention of evacuating. But my bags are packed and I'm ready to bug out with little or no notice if necessary. Also, I'm stocked up on water and food if I have to do without power for a day or two. But the most annoying aspect is the prospect of being stuck in my notoriously dishevelled apartment until Thursday morning. If that happens, my place will be spotless!

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I've not been paying attention to the news the past few days, so I wasn't aware of this until now. Stay safe Janet.

I wonder if environmentalists are behind this one.

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Can I remark that despite the praise accorded to the firefighters and crisis manager, I find it frustrating that some of the extremely good, existing fire suppressants and technologies, academic research on the ecology and biodiversity with relevance to sparking susceptibility, and information about human resources (i.e., if certain types or volume of manpower is needed) for these fire-prone areas are not used more effectively or implemented more quickly. I know the importance of my properties to me extends far beyond what an insurer could compensate me for, and would not want to be affected by a shortage of or exhaustion amongst firefighters, among other things. I hope all FORUM members in the area stay safe.

So far, the smoke situation at home has improved from last night, and at this point I have no intention of evacuating. But my bags are packed and I'm ready to bug out with little or no notice if necessary. Also, I'm stocked up on water and food if I have to do without power for a day or two. But the most annoying aspect is the prospect of being stuck in my notoriously dishevelled apartment until Thursday morning. If that happens, my place will be spotless!

Ah well, your "Go" plan appears to be in good order, if nothing else. :lol: Don't forget to set out the Nart Smoke-A-Way Fume Absorbers (some other activated carbon impregnated polyurethane foam filters don't get the odor out, but I understand Nart's do).

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Janet, Betsy, and all other Forum members in the area:

I wish the best for you guys! Nature sure can be dangerous, but thankfully we do have confident people fighting these fires. Stay safe! :lol:

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Janet, Betsy, and all other Forum members in the area:

I wish the best for you guys! Nature sure can be dangerous, but thankfully we do have confident people fighting these fires. Stay safe! :lol:

What he said.

When my sister texted me from San Diego, said there were 7 fires, but not near her, and that she was okay, I was glad that she was alright. Maybe I should have been more concerned, but I was not particularly worried, until... my husband came home and told me that the fires were in Malibu. "What?!" I thought they were in San Diego!"

I had NO idea how widespread the fires were. I lived in California for five years and know that in some areas (like, El Dorado County, where we used to live), fires were a seasonal hazard. We had an apron of concrete around most of the house, no vegetation too close, and once my husband, after being evacuated from his office building, stood and watched the fires all around from the (relative) safety of the parking lot.

We were probably just lucky, but the fires never seemed as hazardous as the cougar that killed a jogger, or (far more dangerous) the California government -- especially the legislature and schools.

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Right now (2:43 p.m. MST) the top of the Drudge Report reads: "CBS News has learned U.S. officials will officially declare California's Santiago Fire an arson and offer a $50,000 reward to find the arsonist... Developing..." On the right hand column of his page are links to a number of stories worth reading. One regards Harry Reid's statement that global warming is a reason for the fires. But the most disgusting to me regard CNN's internal memo to use the fires to "push" their "planet in peril" series. Here are the links:

Reid Statement at the bottom of the article.

CNN internal memo

CNN global warming and wildfire link

I'd be willing to bet the arsonist turns out to be an environmentalist. If so, I also bet this is downplayed by most of the media. Even if this turns out not to be the case, the radical Left is out of their minds and dangerous right now; I don't know what else to say.

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Those who have seen to this county during the worst of the crisis are now shoved aside so that the national and international press can leech off of the disaster. Where before, the press concentrated on the practical requirements of people relying on them for information, we now are blessed with state and federal officials patting themselves on the back (having demoted those responsible for a well-run plan to introducers of important persons) for such acts as having one man responsible for one area, write one of those "I absolve you of responsibility" letters to someone responsible for another area, in order to do an end-run around regulations that came from . . . blank out. Since it is the government, authority to issue such a dispensation isn't an issue.

While Katrina whirls about the head of every state and federal official, as well as around the press, notice that no one draws the essential differences between that crisis and So. CA. While they point to the wealth of so many of the victims here, they won't mention that wealth has turned chaos to a manageable situation, and is necessary to maintain life and property in a complex society. Nor will they accept any responsibility for the ideals they live by, which turned a large segment of a city's population into dependents who were incapable of providing even a day's provisions for themselves, but thought nothing of sticking it to the Man by stealing his wealth sans a government middleman.

We are fine. I am proud of my city and the people in it. When dealing with issues that properly belong to a city government, they've shown themselves to be competent and effective.

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I have been watching the Fox news coverage today. I cannot imagine the horror of a disaster of that magnitude--last report was that 450,000 acres were burning. To everyone who lives in the area affected by the fire, I extend my sympathy. And to Forum members in the area: please be safe. Disgustingly, several political leaders appear to be pouncing on this disaster almost with an "I told you so" glee.

We live in north Florida in an area affected notoriously by hurricanes, and had our homeowners insurance discontinued recently due to "an excess of risk" in our area--which I presume is the entire Gulf Coast. So we are looking for alternate coverage. Apparently, insurance companies, in order not to go broke, suspended coverage on a random basis. I would not be surprized that the Ca. fires would result in similar kinds of insurance problems. Due to governmental regulation, insurance companies cannot simply increase rates.

Oh yes, Global Warming allegedly caused the hurricanes too.

Please, Janet, Betsy, and others affected by this fire, as long as you can, let us know how you are faring.

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Barring the unforeseen, I think I'm in the clear. There is no wind and almost no smoke at home and at work. I am starting to recover from a nasty head cold. I went back to work today, and things are returning to normal. Only half of the employees have made it back, but that's better than the empty office building I checked in on Monday and Tuesday. I'm convinced that my personal encounter with San Diego wild fires has ended ... until next time. I'll be better prepared then.

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