Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Southern California Fires

OK, most of the Citizens and many of our friends have lived or live now in Southern California.

I have a cousin who is waiting on edge with her family with a car packed up and ready to go as soon as the evacuation order comes and a friend who has already evacuated. Two other friends have told me that their parents have evacuated and have houses in the most threatened region of San Diego County. A third friend is sheltering her evacuated boyfriend and most of his valuable belongings.

This morning I saw reports on this State of California Website that seems to indicate that Malibu is getting many times the resources committed to a much smaller fire than are committed to the Witch Fire in San Diego County. Now the resource allocation is favoring the Witch Fire somewhat. But the damage is not even close between the two fires. Malibu has lost about 6 or so houses while the Witch Fire has claimed over 500 houses so far. Neither fire is close to being contained. See link here.

So what news do you have? What comments do you have about federal, state and local responses? What do you think of the media coverage? What about Mexico? Are the fires really stopping at the Mexican border as CNN suggests or are they just not reporting fires south of the border? If the fires aren't crossing into Mexico, why not?


Dr. Strangelove said...

This map shows the terrible situation in San Diego. I am not sure if resources were overly spent in Malibu... but that seems consistent with the way things happen.

I can only speculate that the Los Angeles fire department is desperate to make sure no fires break out on the hills that separate the Valley from West LA... because that would be so devastating and so hard to contain. By contrast, the San Diego areas are not quite as heavily populated and the terrain is somewhat more amenable to firefighting.

But I am only speculating. It's probably just the rich people getting better treatment for a while.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Word is that there were 1400 firefighters in Malibu last night, only 500 left today. So they are being moved around. Part of what is happening is localitis: the LA firefighters first duty is to fires in LA county, not SD county. San Diego was underprepared for fires. Guess which political party holds the reins of power in SD? Starts with GOP and ends with Katrina.

Raised By Republicans said...

LTG, can you ellaborate on the different levels of preparedness in LA County and San Diego County?

Raised By Republicans said...

By the way, I can certainly imagine what a nightmare scenario would occur if the hills above Pacific Palisades or along the Sepulveda Pass started to burn. Sherman Oaks, other communities in the West Valley, Santa Monica and much of West L.A. would have to be evacuated which would make these evacuations in San Diego look small.

The Law Talking Guy said...

RBR - I don't think the evacuation would go much beyond Bel Air. Flames aren't going to sweep through the city so long as the hydrants etc. work fine. It's the hills with tinderbox vegetation and scattered houses.

As for unpreparedness, it was documented 3 years ago. Doubt much has changed.

USWest said...

So am I correct that the Citizen's in L.A. are pretty much OK but for some mighty hazy skies?

We are getting some of the Haze here in the Central Coast. And it is weirdly hot. Near the coast today it got to 87 degrees. That is nearly unheard of. The record high is 90 at that was set in 1950.The norm is 68. So if it is that hot here, I don't want to even think about what the folks in LA are dealing with.

Dead Parrot said...

San Diego's fire fighting resources are woefully thin given the high risk of the immediate area. But this is because the virulently anti-tax residents have repeatedly declined to tax themselves to pay for more fire protection services. Even after the Cedar fire, one of the *biggest fires* in California history, San Diego residents voted against a tax increase for fire protection.

As this Pulitzer Prize winning article says, "San Diegans are cheap."

Raised By Republicans said...

Well, see how much they pay for home owners' insurance from now on. They'll sure wish they'd paid those taxes instead!

USWest said...

Be aware that when you cut and paste a link that is very long, this little comment box will chop off half the link. It is better to embed the link in text.

Dr. Strangelove said...

If you open the comments in a full page (e.g. click on the title of the post rather than the "post a comment" link) then the link is displayed fully. But USWest is right: please embed links if you can.

I apologize for stating the obvious, but in case you were not sure it would work here, you can embed the links in the usual way, by writing {a href="http:// ... "}text{/a}. Except of course you must replace the braces by greater/lesser signs.

Dead Parrot said...

One other note - the satellite maps I have seen of the fire zones clearly show that the Harris fire in southeast San Diego County also burned in Mexico. Don't know why CNN would suggest otherwise.

The Law Talking Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Law Talking Guy said...

Check out this
awesome column
in the LA Times today. Did you know SD County doesn't even have a fire department?

It's so worth a read.
A quote:
"Although the city of San Diego has a fire department, the county doesn't, leaving many suburban and rural areas to rely on volunteer departments. The city has but one firefighting helicopter and just 975 firefighters for 330 square miles and 1.3 million residents.
Compare that [ ] with San Francisco, which has 1,600 firefighters for 60 square miles and 850,000 people."

Apparently the dig is that "A number of San Diego suburbs are more inclined to invest in evacuation technology than fire prevention and suppression [because it is cheaper]."

The Law Talking Guy said...

Thanks for your concern, USWest. The light shining through the sky is a weird yellowish color. It's like near sunset, but at noon. There were bits of ash on my (freshly painted) fenceposts this morning. All in all, it's not a big deal in metropolitan LA... yet.

USWest said...

My friend who lives behind the Getty above Santa Monica told me that the Malibu fire came dangerously close and that when she went out, the smoke was bad enough to cause coughing and eye watering.

I have been evacuated a couple of times from the Sierra's while camping. I know what it is to be in smoke and an ash. But I had a safe home to get to. At worst we risked loosing out camping equipment. It was never like the SD situation.

Our air is being polluted by aerial abatement spraying for the brown apple moth. So in addition to the irritation caused by the smoke that is starting to show up in this area, we are getting sore throats and bloody noses from what is claimed to be an "inert" substance. But that is a topic for another day. I hear the plane buzzing overhead as I type.

Raised By Republicans said...

I saw an interview with a couple of brothers in San Diego who said that they had stayed despite the evac order because they wanted to save their homes. They got on 911 and begged for support from the fire department as the fire swept up the canyon towards their homes (the brothers apparently live on the same cul de sac). No help came for a long time. They said their homes were saved when a fire crew from Alameda (i.e. NOT FROM ANYWHWERE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY) drove up and went to work with something bigger than a garden hose.

I'm reminded of the spoof of the song "Our House" by Madness (Madness sings the spoof for spitting image). In it, they sing about a housing boom and collapse which they blame on Thatcher's policies. At one point, they say how they've lost everything and then sing, "Dad's still voting Tory now, my God! He must be thick!"

Sorry about the clumsy link but what Dr. Strangelove thinks is "obvious" is a far cry from clear to me.