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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SoCal Fire Update

Update: The Rancho Bernardo list of burned homes is here (pdf). There's a short list up for Rancho Santa Fe.
The SOSD blog has good information. CalFire still has good and complete news. Jim posted that the wind was down where he is, plus some other updates. A lot of sad stories around. Piggington's has quite a bit of good info posted, especially this about homeowner's claims. The Dawg's still barking. If you're real nice, he might put up a picture of a nekkid lady tomorrow in order to make the news easier to swallow. End Update.

The conditions forecast is bad for today. The fires are growing. So far, the estimate is over 600 homes burned, over 150 non-residential structures burned, and fires covering areas equivalent to over 350 square miles. (Update: estimate is 1,000 burned in San Diego County alone.)

If you pray, pray. If you don't, consider trying it. It won't hurt you, and you don't have to believe to make a valid prayer. No one ever talks about the fact that the disaster test in NO before Katrina came up with 20,000 dead. We screwed up absolutely everything during Katrina, and less than 2,000 died.

This is a major disaster. The Red Cross has an information page up. You can use their safe and well page to show where you are. The authorities are asking everyone to go light on cell phones so the emergency services have the access they need, and to stay off major highways unless it is an emergency (like evacuating). Seven counties now are involved with fires. Modesto Bee reports 3 firefighters in critical condition with burns.

Dressage Daily in Florida has a help line for Californians who need to evac horses or those who have accommodations for them.

Other numbers from News10.net:

Good coverage at San Diego Union Tribune. New voluntary evacuation for SD south of Main and east of I-805.

From SoCal:

25 fires at last count, not counting smaller "spot fires" form airborne embers. Almost all out of control, due to constant 30+ knot winds. Massive ashfalls. Respiratory problems. Only one known fatality, but massive property damage. Expect winds to finally die down after today (Tues). Morning drive-time radio is calling it "The Great Fire of 2007".

I work less than a mile from the farthest-on of the Irvine/Santiago Canyon fire; we could see the flames from our office windows yesterday. The abandoned Marine base and all those bulldozed areas ready to be turned into flipper condos acted as a firebreak. Most roads in the area were closed yesterday, but open today; I could see the burns up to the edge of the roads coming in.

The Arrowhead fire in the mountains above San Bernardino flashed overnight, destroying over 140 vacation homes. Biggest are still the ones in San Diego County and the "Buckweed" ("Buckwheat" to the morning drive-time wags) one up where I-5 and Route 14 come together near Saugus/Newhall.

They expect the winds to ease off by Wednesday; since Sunday, it's been a blast furnace/wind tunnel, with a new fire popping up every couple hours. Most believed to be from power-line blowdowns, but the Irvine/Santiago Canyon fire is confirmed arson. Look up the Roman penalty for arson (Tunica Molesta) sometime.

Headless Unicorn Guy
I don't think a jury is going to have much mercy on an arsonist.

Thanks for the update. The weather report is now for winds to continue rough tomorrow.
Thanks for the previous link. Almost 3:00pM and we still have wind. Normally these will die in the next hour. Cross fingers.
Update from yesterday:

-- KFI 640 morning drive-time bumper sound bite

The winds died down during the night. Some of the smaller fires are already out, but the bigger ones are expected to burn for about another week. The Arrowhead Fire (in the mountains above San Berdoo) got stopped at "The Rim", when it tried to burn down steep slopes against the wind. One new fire at Camp Pendleton Marine Base, where a backfire went out of control; it's closed I-5 and the Santa Fe/Amtrak rail line between LA and San Diego. Total 5 dead, 20+ wounded, thousands of houses burned out (mostly in San Diego County). A lot of San Diegan evacuees are stashed in Qualcomm Park (the new San Diego sports stadium); the atmosphere there is more like a big tailgate party than Katrina at the Superdome. (There's an attitude in local FEMA et al that "We're NOT going to have another Katrina screwup!")

"Down, down down,
Into a Burning Ring of Fire..."
-- KFI 640 morning drive-time bumper sound bite

Without the winds, the smoke plumes are hugging the ground; you can't get away from the smell of burned brush, and I'm doing a good impression of Doc Holliday whenever I go outside.

"Come on Baby, Light my fire;
Come on Baby, Light my fire;
Try to set the night on -- FIRE!"
-- KFI 640 morning drive-time bumper sound bite

Lotsa finger-pointing about why the air assets weren't put on MY fire. I expect the reason was the Santiago Canyon fire started about a day after the others, and by that time the firebombers were already committee to Malibu, Buckwheat, and San Diego.

-- KFI 640 morning drive-time bumper sound bite

With such a big burn, the main worry this rainy season (winter to those of you outside SoCal) is going to be mudslides. Bad mudslides. Construction industry (reeling from the housing bubble pop) is looking up with all the needed repairs and rebuilding.

Headless Unicorn Guy
Yet another update:

"She ran calling -- WILD-FIRE;
She ran calling -- WILD-FIRE;
-- KFI 640 morning drive-time bumper sound bite

Still no winds, thick smoke hanging around at ground level. Irvine/Santiago fire now burning NE into national forest lands, away from populated areas. FBI called in to investigate origin; reward for arsonist now topping $120,000 -- any Jubal Earlies out there wanna make some gorram shiny money? Looting reported in San Diego County evacuated areas; one more fatality -- cops in San Berdoo shot a copycat arsonist.

Headless Unicorn Guy
Sounds like you are doing it with style, Headless.

I heard the news about the two people found in the burned house in SD. The press keeps concentrating on the arson, but with winds like that....

There was thick smoke here for six weeks this year during the burn. I hope it clears out a lot quicker for you.
No sound-bite bumper for this update. (I think KFI ran so many they ran out of them.)

Seven dead at last count, including four illegal aliens whose border jumping had some really bad timing and trapped them in one of the San Diego fires.

The reward for the Santiago Fire arsonist is now at a cool QUARTER MILLION. 100 Grand of this was ponied up by KFI 640, a fact which other local media (who have a jealousy feud with the station) are pointedly ignoring. (LA Times still gives the reward as $150k; the $250k total refs doubleplusunevents refs doubleplusunpersons. I think they're blaming Bush instead.)

Brown haze everywhere, constant smell of burn outside, some ashfall; my cold from last weekend is now showing signs of bronchitis, and I know I'm not alone.

Tried to come into work through Santiago Canyon this morning (Friday); road still closed. I was curious to see how Silverado Canyon and Silverado Cafe (near the fire's origin point) came through it; I sometimes stop by Silverado Cafe for their Tuesday Taco Nights on my way home.

Headless Unicorn Guy
The smoke is really bad and it does make people sick. The onshore winds are better than the Santana, but they do pool the smoke a lot more.

I heard about the couple and the canyon find. Very sad. There could well be more out there. Some of the canyon people wouldn't leave even when churches went out to get them. They didn't want to leave their work area, they had no way to get back, and they didn't want to end up anywhere with a bunch of cops.

I also heard some illegals were having trouble getting back home because they didn't have ID, and the roadblocks are checking ID to prevent looting.
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