Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Calif Fires 2009

Calif Fires 2009 – Open Page

A [Neanderthal ] took up residence [in SoCal,] dug a cellar [deep inside the forest] and built a log house on top of it; paved up large tracts of the forest and mountainside and bought two cars. After 20 years he decided SoCal was no good for living, for most of his forest had gone, the water table had dropped by 8 yards and he didn’t have enough water to spare the fish [and the cost of 'fighting' the fires had become unaffordable.] —Adapted from My Life, My Trees, by Richard St. Barbe Baker [Quoted by EDRO]

SoCal Fires: “Nothing personal; it’s just business, folks!”

Related FEWW Link:

Calif Fires Summer 2009 – Part 2: We Are Watching YOU!

[Definition: Calif 'wildfires' may mean fires—started in various ways—that have gone wild, as in out of control, in Californian fashion.]

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The Corporate Arson that Never Quiet Burned Out [Or, Waiting for Santa Ana Winds!]

This UPDATE was posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 6:50 AM PDT ( 13:50 UTC)

834 personnel, an additional 85 crew since the last blog entry, pushed back by the flames, fighting hard to boost the containment to 94%.

Then came the really bad/good news: Sanat Ana winds were picking up!

Then came the serious news: “A Red Flag Warning will be in effect Monday night through Wednesday evening.”

A Red Flag Warning will be in effect through Wednesday evening for winds gusting to 35 mph and a relative humidity below 15%. Weak to light Santa Ana winds are predicted for late tonight. Santa Ana winds are dry and warm (often hot) winds in the Southern California area that blow in from the desert.

Due to this anticipated increase in temperatures, wind, and a decrease in humidity over the next few days additional aircraft were ordered which include 4 Type 1 heavy helitankers. Helicopters began the aerial assault on Saturday and will continue through the week needed. The intent is to extinguish remaining interior hotspots and reduce the risk of embers igniting additional fuels during the anticipated hot, dry and windy weather. These hotspots are located in steep and rugged terrain, which is inaccessible by ground crews. Three airtankers will also used today to strengthen control lines in anticipation of theses hot, dry and windy conditions. InciWeb said.

Naturally, the estimated containment date has been pushed back again to Thursday September 24th, 2009 approx 12:00 AM. Something tells me the date would be changed again!

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When you’re in love with something, it’s hard to let go!

This UPDATE was posted on Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 6:50 AM PDT ( 13:50 UTC)

A reduced number of 749 personnel “continue to hold and mop up the 132 miles of containment line around the fire,” InciWeb reported.

Station fire is now 93% contained, with the estimated containment date now pushed back to September 22, 2009.

On the philosophy of a fire, InciWeb wrote, “the difference between a fire being contained or controlled can be unclear. When a fire is contained a fuel break has been completed around the fire manually by hand line, and/or mechanically by dozer line. These breaks may also include the use of natural barriers such as rocky outcroppings. When a fire is controlled, it has been extinguished completely, including hot spots. When a fire has been controlled, the fireline is secure enough so that flare-ups within the fire perimeter will not break through the line. Therefore, just because a line is contained does not mean that the fire is controlled.”

Videos of the Station Fire can be seen at Station Fire Videos.

As for the cost of Station Fire, FEWW’s earlier estimate of $100million may have to be revised.

Station Fire Burn Scar

station_amo_2009259
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this false-color image of the Station Fire and its surroundings on September 16, 2009. Using a combination of infrared and visible light to increase the contrast between burned land, and vegetated or bare land, this image shows the scar from the Station Fire, an irregular patch of brownish red. Vegetation—even sparse vegetation— appears bright green. North of the fire, the Mojave Desert appears sandy pink. South of the fire, the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles appears in shades of blue-gray to nearly white. 
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Michon Scott.

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An UPDATE posted on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 6:40PM PDT

Was erased due to a s/w problem; the system failed to automatically back up the content.

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This UPDATE was posted on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 7:27 PM PDT ( Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 02:27 UTC)

Station fire is 87% contained according to InciWeb, wich also reported that  a ” closure for the Angeles National Forest remains in effect due to firefighters and crews at work. Hazards and danger exist in the fire in the fire closure area.”

“The LA County damage assessment included 132 vehicles destroyed and 14 damaged. Containment date has been extended due to weather caused delay of firing operations.”

The estimated containment date has been pushed back until Saturday, September 19th, 2009 approx 06:00 PM.  Currently 1,192 personnel are working on the fire which has burned a total of 160,557 acres (650 km² or 251 square miles), or an area nearly 4 times the size of District of Columbia.

Temporary flight restrictions are still in place over the Station Fire, but the air quality was reported as “improving.”

No further information is available concerning  the arsonists who started this diabolic fire.

FEWW is watching with interest how the next large/major fire might start in SoCal, or indeed elsewhere in the country.

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This UPDATE was posted on Friday, September 12, 2009 at 8:17 PM PDT (September 13, 2009 at 03:17 UTC)

VP Joe Biden tries to accrue political capital at firefighters funeral

As thousands of firefighters gathered at Dodger Stadium for a high profile memorial service to honor two firefighters killed in the station fire, Biden tried shamelessly to accrue political capital by association. [There're no other reasons why Joe Biden had to memorialize the two firefighters.]

“There are still acts that go above and beyond duty,” Vice President Joe Biden told the audience as Secret Service agents stood on the top steps of the dugouts and scanned the crowd. “Two men tell others to hunker down and race out to find a way out — it is above and beyond the call of duty. That’s real courage.” —LA Times.

“You are giants in my eyes and in the eyes of all Californians.” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

The authorities said the fire was 84% contained; they have reduced the number of fire crew to 1,824, InciWeb reported. Estimated containment date is reported as    Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 approx 06:00 PM. The cost of fire, as FEWW estimated last week could/would reach/exceed $100million.

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Remembering the Brave NYC Fire Crew on 9/11/01

Thought for the day on the 8th anniversary of 9/11

Thank God Rudy Giuliani is no longer in charge of the fire crew!

This UPDATE was posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 5:05 AM PDT (12:05 UTC)

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Pharmaceuticals and Fire Industry share two common features.

1. The former thrives on growing supplies of sick people; the latter can’t survive without ever-widening “wildfires.”

This UPDATE was posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 4:09 AM PDT (11:09 UTC)

Fire crews reported significant progress in tackling the Station fire, which has now burned more than 160,000 acres (650km²). They have contained 71% of the blaze.

“By late afternoon, ground crews had completed their work in setting controlled fires. Helicopter crews were set to begin their work later today to focus on inaccessible forestland, said Loretta Benavidez, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.” LA times reported.

“The helicopters are equipped with a barrel suspended from the aircraft’s belly. The barrel is filled with a petroleum-based gel that is ignited as it is squirted onto the vegetation below, Benavidez said.”

The controlled burn could only moves in the desired direction if the wind and weather conditions are optimal, the report said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Forest Service administrator revealed that four of their fire crew, and one of their other employees, had “lost everything” in the fire.

2. The activities of both industries are very predictable!

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When firefighting is corporatized, blazing acreage becomes bottom line

This UPDATE was posted on September 9, 2009 at 10:51 PM PDT (September 10, 2009 at 05:51 UTC)

Californians should thank the deities the Fire Industry is NOT [yet] in the business of selling amputations as cure for gangrene!

The scheduled burnout operation east of Mt. Wilson were delayed due to unfavorable wind conditions which has hampered fire crews efforts, LA Times reported.

“Most of the work is really being done inch by inch,” said David Ortiz, a Station fire spokesman. “It’s really steep terrain.”

Station fire,  the largest fire in Los Angeles County’s  modern history (so far) has to date blackened about 160,400 acres and destroyed about 80 residences. The blaze is 62% contained, officials said.

Meanwhile two California lawmakers were reported as  revving up efforts for congressional approval for legislating a national register for tracking convicted arsonists [and patsies?]

“We as Californians understand the incalculable damages that can be caused by wildfire, which makes it all the more essential that we do everything possible to prevent unnecessary and senseless disaster at the hand of an arsonist,’’ LA Times reported Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) as saying.

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Corporate Arsonists Just Doing their Job (!)

This UPDATE was posted on September 8, 2009 at 5:23 PM PDT (September 9, 2009 at 00:23 UTC)

SoCal Corporate Arson Good for GDP

Between them, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the state of California, are  offering a total rewards of $150,000 for information leading to the conviction of the arsonists.

“Sheriff’s homicide detectives searching for the arsonist who set the deadly Station fire are appealing for anyone who travelled on the Angeles Crest Highway just above La Cañada Flintridge around 3:30 p.m. on August 25.” LA Times reported.

“Obviously if someone saw something that day we would like them to come forward and speak to investigators. But even if they didn’t see anything we would also like them to contact detectives if they traveled past there around that time,” said Steve Whitmore, sheriff’s spokesman.

Guess what folks, FEWW said who would be responsible for the 2008 SoCal fires (as well as all other expensive fires in the previous years) as early as a year ago. As for the rewards, please give it to the family of the fire personnel who unwittingly lost their lives playing against the corporate arsonists. [BTW, are you  serious about catching the fire bogs? A $100million fire, and only $150,000 reward?]

What part of what FEWW said about the Fire Industry being the Arsonists you don’t understand?

Meanwhile, Station fire, which has consumed  more than 160,000 acres (649 km²/ 251 sq miles) in 15 days, is now 56% contained, however, the winds are picking up again, causing concern for the fire crews.

Fires in Los Angeles County [NASA Earth Observatory - Posted September 9, 2009]lafires_ast_2009249
Two weeks after [one or more] arsonist[s] ignited the drought-dry forest north of Los Angeles, the Station fire had become the ninth largest fire in California since 1933. On the morning of September 8, 2009, the fire had burned more than 250 square miles (about 650 square kilometers) of land, according to the Station Fire Incident Report from September 8. This image, captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on September 6, shows the extent of the burned area. The newly charred land is black in this false-color image, which was made with near infrared light. Plants are dark red, and man-made surfaces, particularly the dense urban centers of Pasadena and Burbank, are blue and white. NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Holli Riebeek. [Edited by FEWW.]

Meanwhile another fire in SoCal was reported by the NIFC

Oasis (Sonoma-Lake Napa Unit, Cal Fire), 400 acres at 15 percent contained. This fire is five miles southwest of Wilber Springs, NIFC reporetd.

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This UPDATE was posted on September 7, 2009 at 7:45 AM PDT (14:45 UTC)

Station Fire joins Calif’s top 10

The Station fire grew to more than 636 km² (246 sq miles) earlier this morning, joining California’s list of 10th-largest fires ever recorded, officials said.

About 4,623 personnel who are working on the blaze have managed 56% containment.  In the San Gabriel Wilderness, a senior official said, the flames “boiled out of Devil’s Canyon.” The fire reportedly jumped a fire break yesterday at the Angeles Crest Highway, moving north. [Cost of containing fire to date: exact cost Not Disclosed; estimated at $44 million.]

Two other fires are currently burning in SoCal:

Oak Glen 3 (San Bernardino Unit, Cal Fire): 1,159 acres at 96 percent contained. This fire is four miles north of San Bernardino. (Costs to date:  $6.5 million)

Big Meadow (Yosemite National Park): 7,425 acres at 96 100 percent contained. This fire is two miles northeast of El Portal. (Cost to date: NOT disclosed; estimated at $20 million).

Meanwhile, InciWeb has issued the following announcement:

ANNOUNCEMENT

BOIL YOUR WATER BEFORE USING IN FIRE CLOSURE AREA
September 6,2009 – BOIL YOUR WATER BEFORE USING Failure to follow this advisory could result in stomach or intestinal illness. Este informe contiene informacion muy importante sobre su agua potable… more

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This UPDATE was posted on September 6, 2009 at 6:24 AM PDT (13:24 UTC)

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity helped the fire crews increase their containment of   Station Fire (aka Corporate Arson) to nearly 50%. The 623-km² blaze is largest in LA County history so far.

Fire authorities say the blaze, which has so far cost about $40 million to tackle, would be fully contained by Sept. 15.

LA Times said:

A source told The Times that “material that didn’t belong there” has been found at the site suspected to be where the fire started, a twice-scorched slope cordoned off by crime scene tape near Mile Marker 29 along Angeles Crest Highway. …  it was found in the brush off the highway, within walking distance of the turnoff at the center of the arson probe.

Two other fires are currently burning in SoCal:

Oak Glen 3 (San Bernardino Unit, Cal Fire): 1,159 acres at 90 percent contained. This fire is four miles north of San Bernardino. [Costs to date: $6.5 million]

Red Rock (Klamath National Forest): 1,364 acres at 95 percent contained. This fire is 15 miles west of Fort Jones. Minimal fire activity was reported.

Yesterday, BLOG posted a list of three possible suspects. who might have started the Station Fire:

  1. The fire industry experts
  2. Freelance experts employed by the fire industry
  3. Highly skilled arsonist(s) with a Walter Mitty personality

Today, we eliminate choice # 3. The problem with choice #3 is that you can’t find even two people with similar Mitty-like symptoms working together without blowing the whistle on each other. The fact that it takes more than one person to plan out such massive fire makes this choice highly improbable.]

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This UPDATE was posted on September 5, 2009 at 7:44 AM PDT (14:44 UTC)

Station Fire (AKA, Corporate Arson) grows to 626 km² (242 sq mi)

Station fire is now 42 % contained, fire authorities said.

Here’s a list of possible suspect(s) who might have started the fire:

  1. The fire industry experts
  2. Freelance experts employed by the fire industry
  3. Highly skilled arsonist(s) with a Walter Mitty personality

Two other fires are currently burning in SoCal:

Oak Glen 3 (San Bernardino Unit, Cal Fire): 1,159 acres at 90 percent contained. This fire is four miles north of San Bernardino.

Red Rock (Klamath National Forest): 1,364 acres at 95 percent contained. This fire is 15 miles west of Fort Jones. Minimal fire activity was reported.

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Breaking News: Station fire arson; homicide investigation underway

A [Neanderthal ] took up residence [in SoCal,] dug a cellar [deep inside the forest] and built a log house on top of it; paved up large tracts of the forest and mountainside and bought two cars. After 20 years he decided SoCal was no good for living, for most of his forest had gone, the water table had dropped by 8 yards and he didn’t have enough water to spare the fish [and the cost of 'fighting' the fires had become unaffordable.] —Adapted from My Life, My Trees, by Richard St, Barbe Baker [Quoted by EDRO]

Station Fire 38% Contained

This UPDATE was posted on September 3, 2009 at 5:32 PM PDT (September 4, 2009 at 00:32 UTC)

Some 4,735 fire crew have contained about 38 % of the Station Fire, estimated at 144,743 acres.

Five other fires are still burning in SoCal:

  • Oak Glen 3 (San Bernardino Unit, Cal Fire): 1,159 acres at 75 percent contained. This fire is four miles north of San Bernardino. Minimal fire activity was reported.
  • Morris (Angeles National Forest): 2,168 acres at 95 percent contained. This fire is five miles north of Azusa.
  • Big Meadow (Yosemite National Park): 6,283 acres at 60 percent contained. This fire is two miles northeast of El Portal. Structures remain threatened and roads are closed. Precipitation fell on the fire yesterday.
  • Pendleton (San Bernardino Unit, Cal Fire): 860 acres at 95 percent contained. This fire is burning two miles east of Yucaipa. Fire activity was minimal.
  • Red Rock (Klamath National Forest): 1,382 acres at 90 percent contained. This fire is 15 miles west of Fort Jones. Minimal fire activity was reported.

Year-to-date statistics:
Fires: 65,483; Acres: 5,459,428

10-year average
Fires: 62,862;  Acres: 5,754,861

Cost of fighting “wildfires?”
(CALFIRE Budget)

1998/9:  $44 million
2008/9: Just under $1.7 billion
2009/10: $2.0 billion (?)
A rise of  more than 45 folds!

Problem with SoCal:
“No-Good” for “Lifestyle” and fires cost too much to “fight!”

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6 Large Fires Burn in SoCal

This UPDATE was posted on September 2, 2009 at 5:10 PM PDT (September 3, 2009 at 00:10 UTC)

There are currently 6 large fires burning in SoCal, the largest and most dangerous of which is the Station Fire.

station fire location map
Station Fire Approx. Location Map [as of September 2, 2009 at 5:10 PM PDT] . Source of initial image: Google. Image may be subject to copyright.

The following information provided by InciWeb and other sources:

The Station Fire is now at 140,150 acres. The fire continues to burn within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena and Glendale. Steep terrain, decadent old growth brush and hot dry weather are factors that drive fire activity. Evacuations, a forest closure order and temporary flight restrictions remain in effect. A second fire camp has been set up in Santa Clarita to help support fire fighting efforts. Evacuations and fire conditions on the fire are constantly changing. Be sure to check for changes in evacuations by dialing 211.

Mandatory Evacuations:

Glendale: Sky Ridge, Sky View Ln, Brittany Ln and Deukmejian Wilderness Park until noon 9/2/09

Altadena: Chaney Tr at Angeles NF Gate

Tujunga: On and north of Day St between Haines Canyon Rd and Lowell Ave until noon 9/2/09

Acton/Agua Dulce:

  • Soledad Canyon Rd from 14 Fwy to Bootlegger Canyon Rd
  • Angeles Forest Hwy south of Aliso Canyon Rd into Angeles National Forest

Angeles National Forest: Entire eastern main body of the Angeles National Forest will be closed effective 6:00 p.m. tonight until full containment of the Station Fire

Current Situation

  • Fire Name: Station
  • Geographic Location: Highway 2 North of La Canada – Flintridge, CA
  • Acres Burned: 140,150
  • Start Date: August 26, 2009
  • Time: 3:20 p.m.
  • Percent Contained: 22%
  • Estimated Containment Date: 9/15/09
  • Cause: Under Investigation
  • Injuries: 6
  • Structures Threatened: 12,000
  • Commercial Buildings Threatened: 500
  • Residences Destroyed: 62
  • Commercial Property Destroyed: 3
  • Outbuildings/Other: 27
  • Communication Sites Destroyed: 2
  • Total Personnel:    4,128
  • Helitankers:  9
  • Helicopters: 8
  • Air Tanker: 11 (including the DC-10 and the 747)
  • Engines: 488
  • Hand Crews: 73
  • Dozers: 64
  • Growth Potential: Extreme
  • Summary: The Station Fire has burned 218 square miles of land within the Angeles National Forest and near surrounding foothill communities of La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena and Glendale. The goals of the firefighters are to keep the fire west of Highway 39 and Angeles Crest Highway, east of Interstate 5, south of Highway 14, Pear Blossom Highway, and Highway 138, and north of the foothill communities and the Angeles National Forest Boundary. Angeles Crest Highway remains closed and is the primary access route for camps , numerous private residences, and the Mount Wilson Communication Facility and Observatory. Multiple evacuation centers have been established. The Mount Wilson Communications is directly threatened. This facility is a major communications hub for all of Southern California.
  • Estimated Containment Date:    Tuesday September 15th, 2009 approx 06:00 PM

Other Fires in SoCal:

Big Meadow Fire
Name:     Big Meadow Fire
County:     Mariposa County
Location:     Foresta Community
Administrative Unit:     Yosemite National Park
Status/Notes:     5,933 acres – 55% contained
Date Started:     August 26, 2009 12:08 pm
Last update:     September 2, 2009 7:30 am

Oak Glen Fire
Name:     Oak Glen Fire
County:     San Bernardino County
Location:     South of Oak Glen and Potato Canyon
Administrative Unit:     CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit
Status/Notes:     1,012 acres – 75% contained
Full containment is expected September 7, 2009.
Date Started:     August 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Last update:     September 2, 2009 10:15 am

Pendleton Fire
Name:     Pendleton Fire
County:     San Bernardino County
Location:     Yucaipa
Administrative Unit:     CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit
Status/Notes:     860 acres – 70% contained
Full containment expected September 4, 2009.
Date Started:     August 31, 2009 3:30 pm
Last update:     September 2, 2009 10:25 am

Red Rock Fire
Name:     Red Rock Fire
County:     Siskiyou County
Location:     15 miles west of Fort Jones, CA
Administrative Unit:     Klamath National Forest
Status/Notes:     1,382 acres – 85% contained
Date Started:     August 21, 2009 6:40 pm
Last update:     September 2, 2009 7:30 am

Morris Fire
Name:     Morris Fire
County:     Los Angeles County
Location:     San Gabriel Canyon near Morris Dam
Administrative Unit:     US Forest Service – Angeles National Forest
Status/Notes:     2,168 acres – 95% contained
Date Started:     August 25, 2009 4:27 pm
Last update:     September 2, 2009 7:30 am

For more information see: InciWeb

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Station Fire Grows to about 570 km²

This UPDATE was posted on September 2, 2009 at 7:35 AM PDT (14:35 UTC)

The Station fire now covers about  140,000 acres (about 570 square km), however fire officials say they have made progress and believe they could save Mt. Wilson observatory, and the all-important TV and radio transmission towers, at least for now!

Conditions:

  • Temperatures continue to drop with humidity rising ( thanks to a small extent, perhaps, to hurricabe Jimena drenching the California Baja Peninsula).
  • No. of properties destroyed: at least 62 homes.
  • Water and gel drops deposited from aircraft and sprayed by fire engines are dripping from everything that still stands in the area.
  • The fire is  about 22% contained and about 10,000 homes are still threatened.
  • The eastern flank of the station fire is creeping in the mountains north of Altadena and Pasadena, officials said.
  • Evacuation orders have been lifted in La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and other communities in the region.

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This entry was posted on September 2, 2009 at 1:05 UTC

Socal Fire Crews: May the Force Be With You …

But that’s all the water we’ve got!


Photo: From a lakeside dock in Yucaipa Regional Park, the McHenry family  cheers as a Sikorsky S64 Sky Crane firefighting helicopter goes “In the Dip” for another load of water Tuesday. (Don Bartletti /Los Angeles Times). Image may be subject to copyright.

FSHScalifornia244_MO

Fires Approach Mt. Wilson Observatory from Two Directions

Fire crews are reportedly trying to save the historic Mt Wilson observatory as well as important TV and radio antennas from destruction. Fire was approaching the mountain  from two directions: about 800 meters (yards) to the north and 1,200 meters (yards) to the west.


Photo: Flames from the Station fire approach Mt. Wilson Observatory in the Angeles National Forest. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times).  Image may be subject to copyright.

“We expect the fire to hit the Mt. Wilson facilities between 5 p.m. today and 2 a.m. Wednesday morning,” LA Times quoted Los Angeles County Fire Department Deputy Chief James Powers. “Right now, we’re conducting controlled burns around the perimeter in preparation for the impending fire’s arrival. We’re also bringing in trucks and special equipment to coat all of the structures with protective gel and foam if necessary. We do not plan to cover everything with a gooey mess.”

APTOPIX California Wildfires Scene
Smoke from the Station Fire rises over downtown Los Angeles Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Jon Vidar)Image may be subject to copyright.


The Los Angeles skyline is obscured by smoke [buildings are barely visible in the background] from the Station Fire north of the city August 31, 2009. A deadly wildfire burning out of control for a sixth day in the parched mountains north of Los Angeles doubled in size overnight on Monday and posed a continuing threat to Mount Wilson, a key communications nexus for the region’s broadcasters and emergency services. REUTERS/Freds Prouser. Image may be subject to copyright.

Head Lines:

More images at

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Posted by feww on Monday Aug 31, 2009 at 11:30 PM PDT (September 1, 2009  at 06:30 UTC  )

califfires_amo_2009243
The Los Angeles Times reported that the fire had burned more than 50 structures and remained out of control, spreading both west and north. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image around 2:05 p.m. local time (21:05 UTC) on August 31, 2009. Red outlines indicate high surface temperatures associated with wildfires, and almost reach Mt. Wilson. A long plume of smoke blows away from the fire toward the northeast. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. The Rapid Response Team provides daily images of this area. Caption by Michon Scott. [Edited by FEWW]

The Station fire, currently the largest of eight blazes blackening southern California, “was plowing through dense hillside vegetation and steep terrain toward residential areas of Sunland and Santa Clarita on the west.” LA Times reported.

A new fire in San Bernardino County is growing completely out of control and threatening about 2,000 homes near Yucaipa, a city located about 15 km east of San Bernardino, with a population of 50,000.

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SoCal Fires Rage On! 500 km² consumed by out of control fire

Posted by feww on Monday Aug 31, 2009 at 5:19 PM PDT (September 1, 2009  at 00:19 UTC  )

The Fire in SoCal Mainly…

  • The Station Fire has more than doubled in size to about 110,000 acres burning completely out of control for a sixth day.
  • Two fire crews were killed Sunday when they drove off the side of a road in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton.
  • About 2,600 personnel are currently tackling the  massive blaze.
  • Fire destroyed 18 homes Sunday and at least three structures early Monday, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
  • Two school districts canceled the first day of classes due to heavy smoke, which made breathing difficult.

la times google map of fire
LA Times Google Map of the Station Fire. Image may be subject to copyright. The areas shaded in yellow are (L-R) Acton/Agua Dulce area (evacuated), Cheseboro Road south of Mt Emma Road (evacuated),  Juniper Hills neighborhood (under evacuation orders).


Towering Inferno.
A structure burns during the Station Fire in the Big Tujunga canyon area of Los Angeles, California August 29, 2009.  REUTERS/Gene Blevins. Image may be subject to copyright.


Smoke from the Station fire over the Angeles National Forest as seen from a hellicopter. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times /August 31, 2009). Image may be subject to copyright.


South of Dixieline?
Flames burn near a cross during the Station Fire in the Big Tujunga area of Los Angeles, California August 29, 2009. REUTERS/Gene Blevins. Image may be subject to copyright.


What da  fiia ma  gonna do now? A deer walks through charred forest in the Angeles National Forest near Acton.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images /August 31, 2009). Image may be subject to copyright.

More images at

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Posted by feww on Monday Aug 31, 2009 at 5:40 AM PDT (August 31, 2009 at 12:40 UTC)

Two fire crews dead, as Station Fire grows to 43,000 acres

Station Fire killed 2 fire crews as it blackened nearly 43,000 acres of forest and scrubland, destroying 18 homes.

One fire official said  the fire was “still very much out of control.”


Station Fire images are reminiscent of Vietnam War.
Original caption: A helicopter finishes a water drop and flies over the setting sun over the town of Acton.
Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times / August 30, 2009. Image may be subject to copyright.

Fires in Los Angeles County


As brush fires burned north of the city of Los Angeles on August 29, 2009, the MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image around 2:20 p.m. PDT (21:20 UTC). Red outlines show hotspots where MODIS detected high surface temperatures associated with fires, and the hotspots roughly correspond with fires described by California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center. The Rapid Response Team provides daily images of this area. Caption by Michon Scott. [Edited by FEWW]

Related News Links:

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Run, if you see fire: Schwarzenegger

Posted by feww on Sunday Aug 30, 2009 at 7 PM PDT (August 31, 2009 at 2:00 UTC)

California Gov.  Schwarzenegger has urged residents in fire evacuation zones to flee

Schwarzenegger referring to three residents in Big Tujunga Canyon who suffered  burns while trying to save their homes Saturday said:

“There will be people who don’t listen… Move as soon as [fire crews  tell you] to move.”

The Station fire, characterized as “treacherous” by U.S. Forest Service Incident Chief the has now burned more than 35,000 acres of land, destroying another handful of homes.

Schwarzenegger: Evacuate if Ordered

About 6,600 homes across the 32-km fire line were reportedly  under mandatory  evacuation as a DC-10 and other aircraft doused the area with hundreds of tons of  water and orange-colored flame retardant.

According to Gov Schwarzenegger, 12,500 structures are under threat, with 2,200 personnel tackling the fire, which is 5 percent contained.


DC-10 douses the Station fire and surrounding area with  fire retardant. This picture was taken from Soledad Canyon Road in Acton. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

More images

Related News:

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Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 5:48 AM PDT (12:48 UTC)

SoCal Blazes Blacken More Scrubland

Calif Fires Beat Clunker Boost Any Day!

From InciWeb and other sources:

The Station Fire started off Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2) about one mile above Angeles Crest Fire Station around 3:30pm Wednesday August 26, 2009. Angeles Crest Highway, Tujunga Canyon and Big Tujunga Canyon roads are closed. As a result of extreme fire activity, and to protect public health and safety, Angeles National Forest officials implementing an area closure for lands in the vicinity of the fire. This closure is in effect until canceled.

3 injuries have been reported. Residents are advised to be ready to evacuate if they are near the fire boundary.

As of 8:00 p.m. Saturday evening the fire is moving very quickly to the north towards Acton. If the fire continues on this aggressive path it could be very near Acton by early morning.

Map Station Fire
Station Fire: Location Map. Google Map may be subject to copyright.


Flames from the Station Fire are seen above the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in La Canada, California August 28, 2009. REUTERS/Rod Seward. Image may be subject to copyright.

Fire Stats:

  • Size: 20,500 acres
  • Percent Contained: 5%
  • Estimated Containment Date:  Tuesday September 08th, 2009 approx 06:00 PM (!)
  • Fuels Involved: Very heavy fuels of ceanothus, chamise, scrub oak and manzanita across the entire fire area, 15 to 20 feet in height with Big Cone Douglas Fir in the drainage bottoms. Fuels have not experienced any significant large fire activity in the past 40 years.
  • Fire Behavior: The fire quadrupled in size driven by SE winds. Saturday behavior was extremely active with rapid rates of spread and flame lengths up to 80 feet. There is a potential for Sunday’s fire behavior to be similar to Saturday. Upslope winds are likely. Spotting may occur from 1/4 mile up to 1/2 mile.
  • Significant Events: Mandatory Evacuations are in effect for over 10,000 homes. The fire is threatening the Mount Wilson Communications Facilities and Observatory.


The Station fire in the Angeles National Forest has tripled in size today, spreading rapidly to the east and west this afternoon, and prompting the evacuation of at least 4,000 homes in a broad swath of foothill neighborhoods in areas including La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, Altadena and Big Tujunga Canyon as temperatures reached triple digits and flames drew closer to houses.
Photo credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times. Caption: LA Times.

Other Remarks

  • Growth Potential: Extreme
  • Threatened:
    • 10,000 homes threatened.
    • 500 commercial properties
    • 2,000 other structures threatened.

Current Weather:

  • Wind Conditions 6-12 mph SE
  • Temperature 100 degrees
  • Humidity 7%


Other Fires

Gloria Fire:

  • Date/Time Started: August 27, 2009 2:57 pm
  • County: Monterey & San Benito County
  • Location: Northeast of Soledad
  • Acres Burned: 6,437 acres
  • Containment 6,437 acres – 60% contained
  • Structures Destroyed: 1 residence and 1 outbuilding destroyed
  • Threatened: There are approximately 100 homes threatened by the fire.
  • Evacuations: All evacuations have been lifted on Highway 146, Bryant Canyon and Stonewall Road.
  • Total Fire Personnel: 1,083
  • Engines: 110
  • Fire crews: 32
  • Airtankers: 3
  • Helicopters: 5
  • Dozers: 26
  • Water tenders: 8
  • Costs to date: $2.5 million [The Cheap Fire!]

Pacheco Fire

  • County: Santa Clara County
  • Location: Pacheco Pass Road near Dinosaur Point
  • Status/Notes: 1,650 acres – 50% contained
  • Date Started: August 29, 2009 2:20 pm
  • Total Fire Personnel: 389
  • Engines: 40
  • Fire crews: 5
  • Airtankers: 4
  • Helicopters: 3
  • Dozers: 4
  • Water tenders: 3

Big Meadow Fire:

  • County: Mariposa County
  • Location: Foresta Community
  • Administrative Unit: Yosemite National Park
  • Status/Notes: 3,506 acres – 30% contained
  • Date Started: August 26, 2009 12:08 pm

Cottonwood Fire:

  • County: Riverside County
  • Location: Highway 74 cross of Bee Canyon
  • Status/Notes: 2,290 acres – 30% containment
  • Date Started: August 27, 2009 5:13 pm
  • Total Personnel 698

Red Rock Fire:

  • Name: Red Rock Fire
  • County: Siskiyou County
  • Location: 15 miles west of Fort Jones, CA
  • Administrative Unit: Klamath National Forest
  • Status/Notes: 1,373 acres – 80% contained
  • Date Started: August 21, 2009 6:40 pm

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 4:00UTC

As brush fires consumed more than 12,000 acres in Los Angeles and Monterey counties, an aircraft dropped water and the dreaded orange retardant on the steep terrain along La Canada Flintridge, while some residents stayed behind to protect their  multimillion-dollar homes.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the two counties, while some 1,000 residents from the coastal development of of Rancho Palos Verdes, who were under compulsory evacuation order, were allowed to return home.

“We were very fortunate that the head of the fire … was stopped at the backyards of those homes,” said Los Angeles County deputy fire chief John Tripp.

There are currently four major fires in the two counties, with containment near zero percent.


Flames from the Station Fire are seen above La Canada, California August 27, 2009. Photo: REUTERS/Rod Seward. Image may be subject to copyright.

List of Major fires  in California (Source: NIFC)

  • Morris (Angeles National Forest): 2,000 acres at 60 percent contained. [2,168 acres - 85% contained.] This fire is five miles north of Azusa. Residences are threatened. Information: Call 626-574-5208 or visit the incident website.
  • Big Meadow (Yosemite National Park): 1,700 acres at zero percent contained. [3,417 acres - 10% contained] This fire is two miles northeast of El Portal. Roads are closed and residences were evacuated.
  • NEW Station (Angeles National Forest): 500 acres at zero percent contained. [5,500 acres, 5 percent contained ] This fire is four miles north of La Canada. Roads closures and evacuations are in effect.
  • NEW Bryson (San Benito-Monterey Unit, Cal Fire): 4,000 acres at 80 percent contained. This fire is 20 miles southwest of King City. Firefighters expect to contain the fire tomorrow.
  • NEW Gloria (San Benito-Monterey Unit, Cal Fire): 2,000 acres at zero percent contained. [6,000 acres, 15 percent contained.] This fire is four miles east Gonzales. Residences are threatened and evacuated. Highway 146 is closed.
  • NEW Ridge (Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base): 250 acres at 10 percent contained. This fire is nine miles west of Fallbrook. Moderate fire activity was reported. See Admin Unit for full details: Marines at Camp Pendleton
  • Harrington (Klamath National Forest): 165 acres at an unknown percent contained. This previously reported fire is 20 miles southwest of Happy Camp. Minimal fire activity was reported.
  • NEW Day (Lassen-Modoc Unit, Cal Fire):250 acres at 10 percent contained. [853 acres - 50% contained.] This fire is five miles northeast of Pittville. Active fire behavior was reported. Residences are threatened.

Total number of large active fires in the US:

Arizona (1)
California (9)
Idaho (1)
Montana (1)
Oregon (1)
Texas (1)
Utah (1)
Washington (2)

Year-to-date statistics
2009 (1/1/09 – 8/28/09) Fires: 64,380  Acres: 5,222,488

10-year average
1999 – 2008  Fires: 61,149  Acres: 5,639,306

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UPDATE: Sunday, August 23, 2009  at 6:00 PM PDT (Monday, August 24, 2009 at 01:00 UTC/GMT)

Lockheed fire in Santa Cruz County, which broke out August 12,  is almost fully contained after blackening about 8,000 acres of land and damaging four seasonal cabins, according to the state fire officials. The fire [safely] spread through steep terrain, costing an estimated $25.5 million to date.

Toll:

  • Ten injuries since Aug. 12.
  • Thirteen structures destroyed, one damaged.
  • About 2,500 people were evacuated from their homes in the Bonny Doon, Swanton and Davenport communities.

The Yuba Fire is almost entirely contained having consumed about 4,000 acres in the Dobbins area since August 14, destroying two homes. The cost: $10.7 million through Saturday.

Los Angeles County-Ventura County. Meanwhile, a brush fire, which is believed to have started after a vehicle collision at about 2:00PM, burned eight acres near the Los Angeles County-Ventura County border, before it was contained by 122 Los Angeles firefighters, various media reported.


Bell Canyon Brush Fire. Photo KTLA TV, LA. Image may be subject to copyright

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First the Godfather Fire, Now the Cartel Fire Mexican Drug

The Fire industry can’t believe their luck!

UPDATE: Thursday, August 20, 2009  at 5:20 PM PDT (Friday, August 21, 2009 at 00:20 UTC)

The Nearly 40,000-hectare La Brea Fire is about 95% “contained.”
la brea fire afp
Mexican drug traffickers are suspected of starting fires near Santa Barbara. Photo: AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Mexican Drug Cartel might do better financially, if they joined the California “Fire Cartel.”

see also: FEWW Links to Calif Fires

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UPDATE: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 00:01 PDT

Images of California Fire Retardant Nightmare!

One day soon, California would be all retardant orange, red and fire!

bushfire LATIMES
An aerial tanker drops a load of retardant on the northern flank of a fire near Castaic, Calif. Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

bushfire LATIMES 2
Another aerial tanker, too,  drops its load of retardant on fire near Castaic. Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

For regularly updated California bushfire news click here.

Related Links:

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Latest:  Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 21:12 PDT [Monday, August 17, 2009  at 04:12 UTC/GMT/Z]

  • At least 11 major fires are now burning throughout Calif.
  • The Lockheed fire in Santa Cruz County has consumed at least 26 square km (10 square)
  • Mandatory evacuations are underway at Swanton and Bonny Doon communities.
  • About a 1,000 homes are threatened but no damage reported as yet. Lockheed fire is now 50 percent contained.
  • Fire in Yuba County, north of Sacramento, has tripled in size to about 16 square km (6 square miles).
  • Yuba fire has jumped the Yuba River and is burning into Nevada County.
    The blaze started, according to the investigators, when a hawk flew into a power line and its feathers caught  fire. [Where do they get this 'blue movie' scripts from?]
  • The fire is less than 15 percent contained.

Fire Information – National Fire News

Lockheed (San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, Cal Fire): 6,843 acres at 40 percent contained. This fire is four miles northwest of Boulder. Evacuations remain for the communities of Bonny Doon and Swanton affecting 2,000-2,400 people.
Information: Call (831) 335-6717 or visit the incident web site.

Corral (Santa-Clara Unit, Cal Fire): 15,000 acres at 60 percent contained. This fire is 18 miles east of Pleasanton. Active fire behavior was reported.
Information: Call (408) 779-0930 or visit the incident web site.

Yuba (Nevada-Yuba Placer Unit, Cal Fire): 2,000 acres at 15 percent contained. This fire is three miles northeast of Dobbins. Evacuations are in place for Lake Francis Road, Yuba-Nevada Road, Colton Way, Candlewood, Rices Texas Hill, Rices Crossing (south end). Nearly 250 homes are threatened.
Information: Call (530) 823-4083 or visit the incident web site.

SHU Lightning (Shasta-Trinity Unit, Cal Fire): 17,623 acres at 85 percent contained. This fire is located three miles northeast of Burney.
Information: Call 530-225-2510 or visit the incident web site.

La Brea (Los Padres National Forest): 84,150 acres at 25 percent contained. This fire is one mile east of Santa Maria. Structures are threatened and evacuations are in effect.
Information: Call 805-961-5770 or visit the incident web site.

Stuff mothers should teach their children!
After a week long investigation by the U.S. Forest Service Special Agents, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and fire investigators it has been have revealed that the La Brea Fire was started by a cooking fire at a marijuana drug trafficking operation. The La Brea Fire Tip Line is still open, and anyone with additional information helpful to this ongoing investigation is urged to contact 805-686-5074.

Fire Information – National Fire News

National Preparedness Level 3 (!)

August 15, 2009

Initial attack activity (!) remained light yesterday with 121 new starts. Three new large fires were reported, one each in California, Utah, and Washington. Firefighters continue to battle the large fires throughout California, where residents from several communities have been evacuated. The Summit fire in California and the Horse Butte fire in Idaho were contained yesterday.

Weather:

Breezy and dry with offshore winds of 15-25 mph across Northern California. Drier with 15-30 mph winds across the Southwest and much of the Great Basin into the Central Rockies. Cloudy and cool across the Northern Rockies. Continued cool with showers across Alaska. Gradual drying across the Pacific Northwest.

Source: National Interagency Coordination Center
Current Wildland Fires

Alaska Fires: 4  Acres: 1,157,945  New fires: 0  Fires contained: 0

  • Railbelt Complex (Fairbanks Area, Alaska Department of Forestry): 636,224 acres at an unknown percent contained. This complex of three fires is 12 miles southwest of Nenana. The fire received rain yesterday.
    Information: Call 907-832-1835, 907-832-1097 or visit the incident web site.
  • Crazy Mountain Complex (Upper Yukon Zone, Bureau of Land Management): 447,420 acres at an unknown percent contained. This complex of four fires is three miles southwest of Circle. The fire received rain yesterday.
    Information: Call 907-773-5511 or visit the incident web site.
  • Rock Slough (Upper Yukon Zone, Bureau of Land Management): 61,467 acres at an unknown percent contained. This fire is 47 miles northeast of Fort Yukon. No new information was provided. This will be the last report unless new information is received.
  • Hardluck Creek (Fairbanks Area, Department of Forestry): 12,834 acres at 50 percent contained. This fire is 27 miles northwest of Fairbanks. Residences are threatened.
    Information: Call 907-356-5511 or visit the incident web site.

Arizona Fires: 2 Acres: 1,805 New fires: 0  Fires contained: 0

  • Woodchute (Prescott National Forest): 790 acres at 95 percent contained. This fire is 14 miles northeast of Prescott. Fire activity was minimal.
  • Pipeline (Kaibab National Forest): 1,025 acres at an unknown percent contained. This previously reported confine/contain fire is 20 miles south of Fredonia. This will be the last report unless significant activity occurs.

California  Fires: 6  Acres: 95,490 New fires: 1  Fires contained: 1

  • Lockheed (San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, Cal Fire): 5,036 acres at 15 percent contained. This fire is four miles northwest of Boulder. Evacuations remain for the communities of Bonny Doon and Swanton affecting 2,000-2,400 people.
    Information: Call (831) 335-6717 or visit the incident web site.
  • Corral (Santa-Clara Unit, Cal Fire): 15,000 acres at 20 percent contained. This fire is 18 miles east of Pleasanton. Active fire behavior was reported.
    Information: Call (408) 779-0930 or visit the incident web site.
  • NEW Yuba (Nevada-Yuba Placer Unit, Cal Fire): 1,000 acres at zero percent contained. This fire is three miles northeast of Dobbins. A powerhouse, transmission lines, and the communities of Dobbins and Oregon House are threatened. Evacuations are in effect.
    Information: Call (530) 823-4083 or visit the incident web site.
  • SHU Lightning (Shasta-Trinity Unit, Cal Fire): 17,623 acres at 70 percent contained. This fire is located three miles northeast of Burney.
    Information: Call 530-225-2510 or visit the incident web site.
  • La Brea (Los Padres National Forest): 69,131 acres at 10 percent contained. This fire is one mile east of Santa Maria. Structures are threatened and evacuations are in effect.
    Information: Call 805-961-5770 or visit the incident web site.
  • Coffin (Shasta-Trinity Unit, Cal Fire): 1,200 acres at 75 percent contained. This fire is one mile northwest of Lewiston. Reduction in acreage is due to more accurate mapping.
    Information: Call 530-225-2510 or visit the incident website.

Summit (Mendocino National Forest): This fire was contained at 350 acres.

Colorado Fires: 1 Acres: 6,779 New fires: 0  Fires contained: 0

  • Narraguinnep (San Juan National Forest): 6,779 acres at 80 percent contained. This incident is 12 miles southeast of Dove Creek. Rain fell over the fire yesterday.

Idaho Fires: 0  Acres: 0   New fires: 0   Fires contained: 1
Horse Butte (Cassia County Fire Department): This fire was contained at 340 acres.

Oregon Fires: 2 Acres: 8,611  New fires: 0  Fires contained: 0

  • Williams Creek (Umpqua National Forest): 8,389 acres at 88 percent contained. This fire is 15 miles east of Glide. Residences remain threatened and roads in the area are closed.
    Information: Visit the incident website.
  • Cougar Ridge Complex (Wallowa-Whitman National Forest): 222 acres at 90 percent contained. This complex is 12 miles south of Wallowa. No new information was provided. This will be the last report unless new information is received.
    Information: Visit the incident website.

Texas Fires: 1  Acres: 8,752  New fires: 0 Fires contained: 0

  • 2009 Summer Wildfire Response (Texas Forest Service): 8,752 acres at zero percent contained. These fires are located throughout the state. Reported acreage is a cumulative total.

Utah Fires: 2   Acres: 46,323   New fires: 1   Fires contained: 0

  • Big Pole (Salt Lake Field Office, Bureau of Land Management): 43,923 acres at 75 percent contained. This fire is 12 miles west of Grantsville. No new information was provided.
    Information: Visit the incident website.
  • NEW White Valley (Bear River Area, Utah Department of Forestry): 2,400 acres at 40 percent contained. This fire is nine miles north of Brothwell. Moderate fire activity was reported.

Washington Fires: 1  Acres: 4,279  New fires: 1 Fires contained: 0

  • NEW Discovery (Southeast Area, Washington Department of Natural Resources): 4,279 acres at 95 percent contained. This fire is seven miles southeast of Moxee City.
    Information: Call (509) 653-1411.

Fire Statistics:

Year-to-date:  2009 (1/1/09 – 8/15/09)   No of Fires: 61,987   Acres:  5,054,483
10-year average   (1999 – 2008)    No of Fires: 57,517    Acres: 4,813,391
[Source: The National Fire Information Center]

Lockheed Fire, Santa Cruz Mountains [NASA/ EO]

lockheed_amo_2009225
On August 12, 2009, the Lockheed Fire broke out in the mountains southwest of San Jose, California, and burned through an estimated 2,600 acres of brush and timber by the morning of August 14. The fire was burning about 4 miles northwest of the town of Boulder Creek, and at least 2,000 people had been forced to evacuate their homes.

This photo-like image of the fire was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 13. The red outlines mark the location where the sensor detected active fire. A narrow but dense plume of smoke slices across the mouth of Monterey Bay, stretching past the city of Santa Cruz toward Monterey.

The landscape of this part of California is one of redwoods and fir trees, and it appears lushly green in this image. But mixed with these forests are tracts of chaparral (landscapes dominated by fire-adapted, drought-tolerant shrubs and grasses) and large stands of highly flammable knobcone pine. Hot, fast-moving fires are a natural part of this landscape, and people’s desire to suppress forest fires around their homes in recent decades has allowed some areas to become unnaturally overgrown—and primed for wildfire.

References

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.

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Fire season flares up: “Lockheed” and “Corral” fires ignite the Bay Area [Click on the link for video and additional photos]

NorCal wildfire forces about 2,400 to leave homes

(AP) – August 13, 2009 [Late evening, local time]

DAVENPORT, Calif. — Hundreds of firefighters are battling a wildfire that has forced about 2,400 people in the Santa Cruz Mountains to evacuate their homes.

Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order Thursday morning for the entire population of Bonny Doon. The community of about 2,000 residents is located roughly eight miles north of Santa Cruz.

Everyone in the nearby community of Swanton has also been ordered to leave. About 400 people live there.

State fire officials say the blaze started shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday. It has grown to about 2,300 acres, or 3.6 square miles, and is at zero containment.

Further down the coast, officials say a 46-square-mile blaze on the edge of the Los Padres National Forest in northern Santa Barbara County is about 10 percent contained.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.

Californians flee ‘wildfires’


Bonny Doon residents watch as smoke billows over a field in Santa Cruz County.  PHOTO: AP. image may be subject to copyright.

Santa Barbara County wildfire forces evacuation order for 150 homes

Aug 13, 2009 | Molly Peterson | KPCC

A wildfire has burned more than 50 square miles of land near Santa Barbara. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports that the La Brea fire has closed part of a national forest and forced people to evacuate their homes.

Thousands of firefighters, including crews from Orange County, are working in the San Rafael Wilderness. Brushy canyon in that area has been burning for almost a week. Los Padres National Forest managers have closed more than 100 square miles of nearby lands, and fire officials on Tuesday asked residents of two dozen ranches and homes to leave. Now they’re asking people in 150 homes along the western edge of Los Padres, toward Santa Maria, to do the same.

Fire crews are working to control the northern edges of the fire, near the homes. The northeast area of the fire hasn’t burned in 87 years. New Cuyama High School is a temporary emergency shelter for people. Ranchers who own horses and cattle are moving large animals too – some of them to Santa Maria Fair Park.

© 2009 Southern California Public Radio

Latest Fire Headlines – June 2, 2009

It’s night and day compared to a similar lightning storm on June 20, 2008. Same number of lightning strikes, but 10 times as many fires because the forest was drier and the storms brought little moisture. Recent lightning is coming with much more precipitation and the fuels are not quite ready to burn actively. Thirty-three hours of lightning in Northern California on June 20 produced more than 5,100 lightning strikes, igniting 1,000 fires in the area, according to the US Forest Service.

lightning-map-june2-09

The mother saved her 10-year-old daughter, who was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in critical condition. The girl suffered burns and smoke inhalation.

In the past week, thunderstorm activity produced over 5,000 lightning strikes in Northern California resulting in nearly 90 fires in the northern region. “On Sunday alone, roughly 1200 lightning strikes occurred in the area,” according to Basil Newmerzhycky, a Forest Service meteorologist in Redding. Fire crews quickly responded to the lightning-caused blazes, holding the total acres burned for all the fires to less than 45 acres.

The Oregon Department of Forestry says more than 20 lightning sparked fires were reported on both Bureau of Land Management and private lands over the weekend, including three on Monday.

————————————————————- $$$ ————————————————————-

The latest “Official Fire Report” cut and pasted from the previous report excludes the actual fire status (way to go County of SB!)

Official Information as of: 5/18/2009 2:54:55 PM (PDT)

Fire Status:

  • 8,733 acres burned
  • All evacuation orders and warnings lifted as of May 13, 2009
  • Residences threatened – 500; commercial properties threatened – 0
  • 80 homes destroyed; 15 homes damaged
  • 1 commercial property destroyed
  • 2 outbuildings damaged, 79 outbuildings destroyed
  • 1,857 personnel on scene: 111 engines, 57 crews
  • 1 air attack tanker and 4 helicopters
  • 30 firefighter injuries to date
  • Cause under investigation:  Tip line: (805) 686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $17 million
  • Expected containment 5/20/09

Five percent more of Jesusita fire under control at no cost to taxpayers (!)

deadlier than fire
How could anything be deadlier than Fire?
Image may be subject to copyright.

Official Information as of: 5/15/2009 4:27:48 PM

Fire Status:

  • 8,733 acres burned
  • 95% contained
  • All evacuation orders and warnings lifted as of May 13, 2009
  • Residences threatened – 500; commercial properties threatened – 0
  • 80 homes destroyed; 15 homes damaged
  • 1 commercial property destroyed
  • 2 outbuildings damaged, 79 outbuildings destroyed
  • 1,857 personnel on scene: 111 engines, 57 crews
  • 1 air attack tanker and 4 helicopters
  • 30 firefighter injuries to date
  • Cause under investigation:  Tip line: (805) 686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $17 million
  • Expected containment 5/20/09

JESUSITA FIRE EVACUATIONS:

MAY 14 11:50AM EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY ALL EVACUATION WARNINGS HAVE BEEN LIFTED.

AS PREVIOUSLY COMMUNICATED, THERE ARE CURRENTLY NO MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS IN EFFECT.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR CONTINUED COOPERATION AND PATIENCE.

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Latest Update: Friday, May 15, 2009 at 05:50 UCT  — Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 22:50 PDT

The Jesusita wildfire in Santa Barbara is 90% contained, however the remaining portion which is burning along a ridge in the coastal mountains is proving difficult for firefighters to reach and extinguish, the news media reported a fire official as saying.

“Right now, it’s pretty steep. The last 10% is the most difficult part to put out and we’ve been working on it the longest.” said Fire Capt. David Sadecki.

Meanwhile the Santa Barbara Fire Department set a containment date for May 20, postponing the date set initially by exactly 7 days.

But how could that be?

FEWW will try and tackle some of the unanswered questions in the future entries.

good bless you firefighters
The Humorous side of Calif Wildfires. Santa Barbara, May 7, 2009. A house lies in ruins consumed by Jesusita fire which was fueled by strong sundowner winds and record 100-degree heat. Photo: Getty Images [inset added.] Original image and inset may be subject to copyright.

Latest Update: Friday, May 15, 2009 at 05:50 UCT  — Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 22:50 PDT

Official Information as of: 5/14/2009 5:02:23 PM

Fire Status:

  • 8,733 acres burned
  • 90% contained
  • Damage assessment teams have been working in the field providing more accurate survey numbers.  Assessment to date: 80 homes destroyed, 15 homes damaged; 79 outbuildings destroyed; 2 outbuildings damaged; 1 commercial property destroyed.
  • 2781 personnel on scene: 203 engines, 86 crews
  • 1 air attack, and 7 helicopters
  • 29 firefighter injuries to date
  • Cause under investigation:  Tip line – 805-686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $17 million
  • Expected containment 5/20/09

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Latest Update: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 15:20 UCT  — Wednesday, May 11, 2009 at 8:20AM (PDT)

Official Information as of: 5/12/2009 8:56:22 PM

Fire Status:

  • 8,733 acres burned
  • 80% contained
  • Damage assessment teams have been working in the field providing more accurate survey numbers. Assessment to date: 78 homes destroyed, 22 homes damaged; 67 outbuildings destroyed and 69 outbuildings damaged
  • Approximately 145 properties evacuated (mandatory evacuation orders); affects approx. 362 people
  • Residences threatened – 500; commercial properties threatened – 0
  • 3,141 personnel on scene: 257 engines, 88 crews
  • 5 air tankers including the DC10, and 13 helicopters
  • 28 firefighter injuries to date
  • Cause under investigation: Tip line – 805-686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $13.5 million
  • Expected containment 5/13/09


Be Like a Bear. Don’t let the fire scare the Jesusita out of you! The-State-of-Emergency Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a fire emergency news conference. Undated photo published on May 7, 2009. (Lara Cooper/Noozhawk photo) Image may be subject to copyright.

Latest Update: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 02:40 UCT  — Monday, May 11, 2009 at 7:40PM (PDT)

Official Information as of: 5/11/2009 1:50:52 PM
Fire Status:

  • 8,733 acres burned [The incineration of such large area tells an interesting story, if you listen!]
  • 70% contained
  • Damage assessment in progress – initial estimate of 77 homes destroyed, 22 homes have been damaged, 60 outbuildings destroyed and 69 outbuildings damaged
  • Approximately 145 properties evacuated (mandatory evacuation orders); affects approx. 362 people
  • Residences threatened – 500;  commercial properties threatened – 0
  • 4,104 personnel on scene: 403 engines, 110 crews
  • 5 air tankers including the DC10 and 10 helicopters
  • 28 firefighter injuries to date
  • Cause under investigation: Tip line – 805-686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $10.8 million
  • Expected containment 5/13/09

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Latest Update: Monday, May 11, 2009 at 05:45UCT  — Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 10:45PM (PDT)

“Do ya feel lucky, punk?”


The Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara County, May 10, 2009. A charred view from La Vista Road shows a residence that was spared as thousands of residents made their way back to their homes on Sunday. Photo: (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times). Image may be subject to copyright.

Who did it?

The authorities first said they suspected arson. But when we raised the question Cui bono [other than the fire industry,] they changed their story.

Joe Waterman [no pun intended, that's the guy's real name,] an incident commander with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, said:  “It’s looking like this was not an act of nature.”

They have concluded that the Jesusita blaze was probably started by someone using power tools, possibly while clearing brush. [Umm...]

Here is the most recent stats:

Official Information as of: 5/10/2009 10:11:14 PM (PDT)

Jesusita Fire Information

  • 8,733 acres burned
  • 65% contained¹
  • Damage assessment in progress – initial estimate of 77 homes destroyed, 22 homes have been damaged, 60 outbuildings destroyed and 69 outbuildings damaged
  • Approximately 145 properties evacuated (mandatory evacuation orders); affects approx. 362 people
  • More than 3,900 properties under evacuation warning; approx. 9,754 people affected
  • Residences threatened – 500; commercial properties threatened – 0
  • 4,150 personnel on scene: 428 engines, 110 crews
  • 5 air tankers and 15 helicopters
  • 28 firefighter injuries to date²
  • Cause under investigation:  Tip line – 805-686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $9 million³
  • Expected containment 5/13/09
  • All previous evacuation warnings are now lifted.

Notes:
1.
Unusual things are known to occur when fighting the Calif. wild-and not-so-wildfires!!]2. In this beautiful state, a slight scratch caused by your fingernails as you pull up the zipper on your trousers  in a hurry is considered a work injury [and rightly so, if you're a brave firefighter!]
3. watch the cost estimate go through the roof by the time the fire is put out.

———————————————————————————–

Latest Update: Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 13:30UCT   —  6:30 PDT

Santa Barbedwire

APTOPIX Wildfires
The Jesusita Wildfire, Santa Barbara, Calif. Smoke from smoldering hot spots rises  in the hills above Highway 154 on Saturday, May 9, 2009, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Parsons). Image may be subject to copyright.

The following update comes from the County of Santa Barbara

Official Information as of: 5/9/2009 10:35 PM  (PDT)

  • 8,733 acres burned
  • 40% contained
  • Damage assessment in progress – initial estimate of 31 homes destroyed, 47 homes have been damaged and 2 outbuildings damaged
  • Approximately 5,894 properties evacuated (mandatory evacuation orders); affects approx. 14,735 people
  • More than 17,787 properties under evacuation warning; approx. 44,467 people affected
  • Residences threatened – 3,500; commercial properties threatened – 100
  • 4,321 personnel on scene: 498 engines, 104 crews
  • 11 air tankers and 13 helicopters
  • 18 firefighter injuries to date
  • Cause under investigation:  Tip line – 805-686-5074
  • Air quality warning remains in effect
  • Estimated costs to date $6.8 million
  • Expected containment 5/13/09

Evacuations: Current evacuation map

‘Fires Are Hot’—Governator

fires are hot
Molten aluminum has flowed from the wheels of a burned-out car, in front of a home destroyed after the Jesusita fire swept through Santa Barbara, Calif., Thursday, May 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon). Image may be subject to copyright.

Let’s hope there`ll be enough water this summer

have enough water for now - just
Santa Barbara County firefighters spray water on the rubble of a house that burned during the Jesusita fire in Santa Barbara, California May 7, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni Image may be subject to copyright.

Latest Update: Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 02:35 UCT (GMT/ZULU) [Sat, May 9, at 19:35PDT]

  • About half of the 30,000+ people evacuated from the area affected by the Jesusita fire in  Santa Barbara, California, were allowed back earlier today, the fifth day since the fire started, as firefighters made progress against the wildfire.
  • The other nearly 15,000 people remained under mandatory evacuation as of this afternoon, according to Harry Hagen, an official at the Santa Barbara County emergency ops.
  • About 30 percent of the fire had been contained, Hagen reported.
  • The fire should be contained by Wednesday, officials said.
  • More than 4,200 firefighters  using nearly 500 fire engines, and a total of 25 air tankers,  helicopters and a converted DC 10 were employed.
  • No reports of civilian casualties, but 13 firefighters were injured, with three of them needing hospitalization for smoke inhalation, and burn.
  • Based on last years patterns, the next fire (s) could erupt withing the next 18 days.

—————————————————————————————

Latest Update: Saturday, May9, 2009 at 12:50 UCT (GMT/ZULU) — 05:50 PDT


Jesusita Fire, Santa Barbara Hills, California. NASA image (acquired and released – drum roll – May 8, 2009). Created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.

  • Estimates of burnt acrage vary from 4,000 to 9,000 acres.
  • No. of homes damaged or destroyed 80 to 100 [You would have thought better, more accurate figure would be available.]
  • Cost of tackling the fire about $3.5 million
  • No. of personnel about 3,500 personnel
  • With 450 or so engines, 14 air tankers, 15 helicopters and CalFire’s converted  DC-10.
  • Millions of gallons of orange chemicals (flame retardants)
  • The blaze is about 10 percent contained.
  • Thanks to the sheer no of evacuees, hotels in the surrounding areas are doing brisk business.


Latest Update Friday, May 8, 2009 at 23:37 UCT (GMT/ZULU) —  16:37 PDT

Image of the Day: Oh NO, Not More of those Dreadful, Expensive, Orange Chemicals!


Massive volumes of fire retardant are dropped on the Jesusita fire in the San Marcos Pass near Santa Barbara. May 8, 2009. Photo: Bryan Chan/Los Angeles Times.

  • The Jesusita fire raged with renewed ferocity on day fourth.
  • The blaze has scorched an estimated 4,000 acres.
  • About 90 homes and structures have been destroyed or damaged [75 homes confirmed destroyed.]
  • The fire has advanced on the city and two nearby communities.
  • In addition to the 30,000 residents who have already fled their homes, about 25,000 others were told to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • “Literally, last night, all hell broke loose. … We saw the fire spread laterally across the top of the city and the fire front extend to almost 5 miles now.” City Fire Chief Andrew DiMizio said.
  • No civilian damage, bu 11 firefighters have been hurt, 3 of them hospitalized with serious burns.
  • In November 2008, another blaze destroyed about 200 homes in Santa Barbara and nearby communities. [See links at the bottom of this page.]

Latest Update Friday, May 8, 2009 at 14:14 UCT (GMT/ZULU) —   7:14 PDT


Map of Evacuation and Warning Area.
Image may be subject to copyright.

Image of the Day: California Bear on its back!


California Bear on its back! Wind-driven blaze in Santa Barbara. Dense smoke drifts over Santa Barbara as sundowner winds stoke the Jesusita fire.  May 7, 2009. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

  • The fire has blackened at least 3,000 acres.
  • Up to 80 homes and structures have so far been destroyed or damaged by the blaze.
  • Gov.  Schwarzenegger, who earlier declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara county was heard as saying that the fire is proving extremely difficult to bring under control.
  • Earlier this morning (local time) fire made a significant jump aided by the “sundowner” winds.
  • The fire threatens the town of Santa Barbara.
  • More than 30,000 people were under evacuation orders this morning.
  • About 2,350 firefighters are tackling the blaze, aided by 250 engines, 10 air tankers and 15 helicopters.
  • If the firefighters fail to kill the Jesusita fire, the clouds of fire retardant chemicals will (!)

Image of the Day: The World Should Be Orange!


One day all babies in Calif. will be born orange! The Jesusita fire, Santa Barbara County, Calif.  May 6, 2009. Photo: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times). Image may be subject to copyright.

Latest Update Friday, May 8, 2009 at 00:50 UCT (GMT/ZULU)[Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 17:50 PDT]

  • The Jesusita fire has already consumed about 1,500 acres.
  • The fire may scorch up to 2,500 acres.
  • As many as 44 structure may have been destroyed.
  • Another 3,500 homes are still threatened, according to the officials.
  • “The Jesusita fire has been a great challenge, there’s no two ways about it,” said the Bard of Brentwood [aka Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger] at a news conference in Santa Barbara.
  • Most of the people living in the foothills of Santa Barbara have been evacuated, as up to 1,400 fire personnel tackle the blaze, said Capt. Mike Deponce of the SBCFD.
  • A high-wind warning for the Santa Barbara coastal area (including Montecito, Carpinteria and San Marcos Pass) issued by the National Weather Service forecasts sporadic winds of 40 to 65 mph with gusts of up to 65 mph through Friday.
  • The dense brush that covers the area that had not cleared for fifty years, waiting to fuel a major fire.


How did this house catch fire? A home burns in the foothills near Santa Barbara. May 7, 2009. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

———————————————————————————————–

Latest Update Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 07:16 UCT (GMT/ZULU)

The Jesusita fire is the Santa Barbara’s third major wildfire in under nine months.

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County. [Boy, isn't he great, or what!]
  • Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said 5,430 homes were under mandatory evacuation.
  • An estimated 30 homes may have been incinerated.
  • The Fire is being investigated as possible arson [by whom?]
  • About 75o acres scorched.
  • Nearly 14,000 people have left their homes.

“We are having very extreme weather … The fire is moving from the north to the south and it’s moving into the neighborhoods.” Santa Barbara Fire Captain David Sadecki said.


A house burns and others are threatened as the Jesusita wildfire, fueled by high winds and record temperatures, moves through the hills of Santa Barbara, California May 6, 2009. About 30 homes destroyed and 2,000 evacuated on the outskirts of Santa Barbara on Wednesday as a fierce, wind-whipped wildfire raged in rugged foothills above the central California seaside city. REUTERS/Jason Redmond. Image may be subject to copyright.


A 5-million dollar home with a perfect view
. Who shut off the sprinkler system? Photo: Luis SInco/Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

Wildfire nearing California town [Includes Short Video]

The Jesusita fire

Wildfires
The Jesusita fire burns in the foothills above Santa Barbara Tuesday May 5, 2009. Southern California authorities said early Wednesday the wildfire is threatening 2,000 Santa Barbara homes and has grown to 400 acres. Santa Barbara County spokeswoman Pat Wheatley says the fire has pulled within a half-mile of some neighborhoods. The fire began Tuesday afternoon in the foothills above San Roque Canyon and quickly grew. (AP Photo/Keith Cullom). Image may be subject to copyright.

“Elsewhere, a fire in rural southeastern Arizona had destroyed three houses near Sierra Vista and injured one person. The fire had charred about 1,500 acres near Fort Huachuca. Containment was estimated at 25 percent early Wednesday.” AP reported.

“The flames erupted Tuesday and quickly spread through brush at elevations above the city, which still bears the scars of a November blaze that burned more than 200 homes in Santa Barbara and neighboring Montecito.”

“As many as 2,000 homes were threatened and more than half were under mandatory evacuation orders since late Tuesday afternoon. Sixteen schools and child care centers were closed.”

AP Update: Helicopters in night operations dropping water on Calif. fires

The following was posted on May 6, 2009 at 2:29 am

California Fire Fleecing Season Begins

Calif wildfire scam is bipartisan

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Some 1,200 homes have been ordered to evacuate amid threat of  a wind-driven wildfire burning in Santa Barbara County.


A helicopter makes a drop [in the ocean] on a fire near Santa Barbara, Calif. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

The blaze reportedly erupted Tuesday afternoon and is burning about a square mile of brushlands  on the foothills of Santa Barbara. The residents are being told that the  winds are forcing the fire toward their homes.

“Evacuations have been ordered for neighborhoods spanning an area about 2 1/2 miles wide, and part of State Route 192 has been closed.” AP reported.

Meanwhile, ABC News reported that $81 million would be slashed from Cal-Fire’s budget, eliminating more than 600 full-time and 1,100 seasonal firefighting positions,” commenting that no doubt it will slow response time.

Governor Schwarzenegger has signed an executive order for more money to go to the “fire industry.”

“He urged Californians to approve the special election ballot measures that’ll give Cal-Fire, among other state agencies, the money it needs.”

“I don’t like to use scare tactics or anything like this, but fire protection, without any doubt, will suffer if those measures fail on May 19th,” Schwarzennegger said.

[But does that mean the whole of California would go up in smoke, Gov., if the voters didn't approve?]

Cal-Fire Chief Del Walters took the opportunity to issue a more direct threat:

“We fight fire aggressively, and we get right on the fire. And if we don’t have enough people to do it, in some instances, fires will get larger.”

[And if the whole of California isn't good for a fire so big that it would scare the LD out of you, the chief would no doubt throw in Oregon and Washington for good measure!]

As for the irresponsible people who are allowed by the criminally negligent authorities to live in or at the age of forestland, it’s high time they came to their senses and stopped destroying our ailing national treasures.

“We are probably going to go back to a volunteer service where we’re going to have to maintain our own water and do more work in order to protect. It’s hitting home,” said Belinda Brunell.  [Belinda Brunelle and Bill Downey have property in the Sequoia National Forest.]

Devil knows why any responsible state would allow its voters to live in a national forest!

Related Links:

13 Responses to “Calif Fires 2009”

  1. Adrian G said

    It’s really great when people help each other. So to me this site has helped me find the necessary information.
    I did subscribe for email updates.

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