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Fire Weather VI: AIR SUPPORT

October 25th, 2007 by Celeste Fremon

skycrane.gif

Now that many of the fires
are contained, accusations and complaints are surfacing from Orange and San Diego counties that some of these disastrous fires of October were made worse by the fact that firefighters certain areas didn’t have adequate air support.


The way it works is, each county has its own fire-fighting air fleet
. Then when a true disaster strikes, the county or city draws from the state fleet and, in some cases, beyond.

For the record, LA County’s fleet consists of three Sikorsky Firehawks, four Bell 412 helicopters, and another Bell Jet ranger.

This fire season, in addition to the copters it had in its own hanger, LA County Fire Department had access to a couple of Erickson Sky Cranes, a Super Scooper or two (leased from Quebec), and some other fixed-wing planes that swoop over and drop fire retardant. (The Daily News has a basic rundown of what was most recently being used.)

erickson-sky-crane-2.gif

Over the past few days, these planes and ‘copters were bounced around between LA area fires, “depending upon where there were structures threatened,” LA County Fire spokes guy Sam Padilla told me.

And although there were homes and structures lost in LA County, as yet, there have been no big complaints that it was for lack of resources. The truth is, sometimes, in spite of everyone’s best efforts, the fire does what it wants.

Yet, Orange county fire authority chief Chip Prather has been widely quoted as saying that with the arson-started Santiago Canyon fire in particular, a lack of air support in the fire’s early stages made a crucial difference.

“If we had more air resources,” he said, “we would have been able to control this fire,” he said. “Instead we’ve been stuck in this initial attack mode on the ground where we hopscotch through neighborhoods as best we can trying to control things.”

Similar complaints are surfacing around San Diego’s destructive Harris fire.

So why didn’t the OC and SD have what they needed and LA did?
sikorsky-2.gif

Out of curiosity, I called Orange County’s fire authority
and asked what kind of air fleet the OC had. Angela, a very cheerful and sleep-deprived OCFA spokesperson told me, “Two helicopters.”

To make sure I hadn’t heard wrong
I asked again. Two, she repeated, and they definitely aren’t Firehawks. “I wish!” she said.

bell_412_03.gif

Asked why OCFA didn’t get the additional resources they needed, Angela laughed dryly. “That’s the big question,” she said. “Let me know when you find out.”

Even now, she added, the efforts to control the still-burning fires are plagued by a lack of the Right Stuff.

So what’s the deal? Certainly the LA fires started sooner, so equipment came to us first. Plus we have a bigger fleet to begin with. But that doesn’t really explain the situation.

Fire resources are controlled in layers. First city, the county, then state, then—if a fire is big or nasty enough to be “federalized”—by region. And with each successive layer, there’s a formula for allocation.

In other words, determining what caused these resource short falls is a complicated business that will take time to sort correctly.


But for now we need to make sure we ask
the right questions, and keep asking them.

POST SCRIPT: Here’s the LA Times write-up on the equipment that the State of California didn’t buy, since 2003, against the advice of its Blue Ribbon Fire Commission, all hand picked to make such recommendations.

I’ve heard from back door sources that the what the firefighters believed would have made all the difference in routing the 2003 SD fires before they got so tragically out of control—was early air support, specifically the super scoopers and the air cranes.

Posted in environment, Fire, Los Angeles County, State government | 43 Comments »

43 Responses

  1. Rebel Girl Says:

    Good report, Celeste – and good points.

    Ah, Orange County – why doesn’t it want to buy more than TWO helicopters for its fleet? The answer lies in OC’s sad relationship to its infrastructure and support services. As long as I have been here (15 years) -the funds, the allocation of resources and certainly the compensation of firefighters have generally been issues that receive little support at the ballot box and/or in other venues (Board of Supes).

    Why? Well, it’s Orange County, Jake.

  2. Woody Says:

    Clinton doled out $10 billion in COPS grants, and none of it could go for helicopters, because they weren’t as politically rewarding as the sound of 100,000 (temporary) police. Money has been there. It’s a matter of priorities and allowing local governments to spend the money where they know it is needed rather than the federal government telling them.

    I heard on this morning’s news that the 12,000 or so fire “refugees” at Qualcomm Stadium dropped down to 300 after officials starting matching the addresses of the people enjoying the free food against where evacuation was requested. It’s like Katrina, in which money and credit cards were passed out as fast as people could grab them, with no controls in place. To think that there are that many sorry people who would do that.

    Speaking of sorry people, L.A. Resident, after your previous attack on others not providing housing to the evacuees and our request for your personal contribution, we’re still waiting for you to tell us all that you have done to this point to help those who have been evacuated and how many illegals you have invited into your own house.

  3. L.A. Resident Says:

    The fires of 2007 are “déjà vu all over again”. I looked up a few numbers from the 2003 fires.

    Southern California documented a total of 739,597 acres burned, 3,631 homes destroyed and 24 lives lost.

    San Diego County – 383,269 total acres burned; 2,453 homes, 22 commercial properties, 763 out buildings destroyed; and 16 lives were lost

    San Diego is the largest urban county in California without a county fire department. The County for many years did provide fire protection to its residents as a discretionary service. The County discontinued fire protection in the mid 1970s, which required locally run fire organizations to be responsible for fire protection and emergency medical services in mutual aid with each other.

    The residents of Los Angeles County residents should be very thankful for their county firemen.

    http://sandiegohealth.org/emergency/eptf.pdf

    I have been riding through most of the mountains in Southern Calif. for over 30 years and have seen up close personal the effects of the infamous bark beetles in the San Bernardino Mountains. If you want a scare, (goggle bark beetles) there are many scientists who believe bark beetle infestations are caused by global warming. Forests from California to Alaska now have bark beetle infestation. Other theories blame fire suppression and timber management which have allowed more vegetation to grow and survive than the ecosystem can support. Combine this with the prolonged drought, has resulted in too many plants and trees competing for too little moisture, leaving the trees highly susceptible to attack by bark beetles and other parasites.

  4. listener_on_the_sidelines Says:

    Hey, Pokey. You out there? You’ve been awful quiet. All OK?

  5. Pokey Says:

    Hi Listner – thanks for asking –

    I have been on vacation for two week in the Desert (Joshua Tree), where we have been building a (small) vacatioin home on 5 acres.

    We have no internet or TV connection out there yet, just my Blackberry.

    Came back to all this smoke, fires and another layoff at my company. So have been busy catching up at work and lamenting that my vacation home is not fireproof.

  6. listener_on_the_sidelines Says:

    Whew! Thanks for tagging up. I was really beginning to worry about you and your family. It’s one thing to spar with you on a message board, but these fires in California make me worry about the real people tucked behind screen names. Glad you and yours are okay.

  7. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Hey, Pokey, good to see you. And RG, we’re assuming that the news remains optimistic about your house, yes?

    Yeah, LA Res. I did a short news piece about bark beetles after the 2003 fires, and it was very spooky stuff. And it’s only gotten worse since then.

    http://www.laweekly.com/news/news/bugs-and-politics/2270/

  8. Rebel Girl Says:

    Yes – news remains optimistic about my place but, well, I want to SEE it.

    Smoke is worse today.

  9. Mavis Beacon Says:

    Hey, Pokey. I’m heading to Joshua tree next weekend for some R&R. Any great spots or activities I should know about?

    I don’t blame you, RG.

    Sorry to see that your school is now hosting Ann Coulter in honor of Islamofacism week, and in the Annenberg room no less. How embarrassing.

  10. L.A. Resident Says:

    Joshua Tree should be called Joshua Cactus, I have a “hermit” friend who lives in Joshua Cactus, it’s a great place to hide and avoid lots of people. After you visit Joshua National Park and say “ooh some weeds grow flowers and have color and look at those big rocks” the only things to do are to stay cool during the day and stare at the stars at night.

  11. Michael Crosby Says:

    As a San Diego resident, I cannot let Woody’s report of what he heard on radio about the Qualcomm Stadium evacuee population go unchallenged. As of this morning, there were some 8,000 people still at Qualcomm…the max was around 15,000. People are leaving because they are being allowed to return to their homes. No one to my knowledge has checked IDs of those seeking help, and there are certainly far, far more than 300 still there. Anyone who reported that there are is pretty much a liar. And, if you are concerned about our tax dollars, virtually all the food and supplies have been donated by individuals and businesses.

    Woody, if you heard this on radio, it’s time you applied a little critical thinking to your news sources. This sort of post is irresponsible.

    Sorry to carry this to your blog, Celeste, but there needs to be a standard of integrity or else this sort of interchange of ideas is worse than worthless.

  12. Woody Says:

    Michael Crosby, I repeated what was reported by a news source. I don’t think that they were lying, although you may have different information and think that it is smart to call someone a liar just because you don’t agree with them. (Typical liberal.)

    However, I think that your information that the drop in the number of people at the stadium is simply due to people being allowed to leave for their homes is pretty inaccurate and naive in itself.

    I wasn’t concerned about the tax dollars and I was aware that the food was donated. However, whether the food is from private donations or government is no reason to be careless with its distribution to people for whom it was never intended. Services for evacuees should be given only to evacuees, just like the Katrina credit cards should have been monitored more closely for distribution.

    Speaking of accuracy in reporting and Katrina, wasn’t it your liberal news sources that carried multiple stories on all the rapes and murders being committed at the Louisiana Superdome during Katrina while Bush was doing nothing? What happened to all of those?

    San Diego better get all of those folks out of the stadium before Sunday’s game, and do it fast before there are a lot more rapes and murders committed there.

    Now, go back to all your left-wing sites and help them with some “standard of integrity,” because they sorely lack that.

  13. Woody Says:

    Bush Derangement Syndrome alive and well in San Diego:

    President’s visit snarls traffic for RB returnees

    Rancho Bernardo residents began their journey back home with a surprise today.

    They were stuck in traffic for two to three hours sitting in their cars at a standstill because of President Bush’s visit to their community.

    62 comments:

    Anonymous said…
    Thanks again for all your help, Mr. President! You are truly easing our burdens with your very timely visit! And only stupid liberals would possibly object to you coming!

    banshee said…
    As previously mentioned in the comments of an earlier post – the Pres has no business here. Get out of the way and let us get back to recovering.

    A previous comment mentioned that his presence was “comforting” when visiting Harbison Canyon after the Cedar fire – I don’t believe the residents of RB are feeling very “comforted” now.

    Anonymous said…
    This is exactly the kind of unwanted interference that other previous posts on Bush’s visit were talking about. People dont need this right now. If Bush really wants to help, he needs to cut all the bureaucratic red tape and get the federal help here NOW instead of interfering with local efforts and people who are already on edge, frustrated, tired, and hurting.

    RB Citizen said…
    I agree. I wanted to see the Prez only to have the opportunity to shake his hand and reject him. We live just off I-15/Pomerado and my wife is convinced we’re STILL not allowed back in because of his visit. Go away and ruin some other part of the world. Let us do our thing.

    Of course, the same people would have said that Bush didn’t care if he didn’t show up.

  14. Woody Says:

    Re-kick….

    Bush Derangement Syndrome alive and well in San Diego:

    = = =

    President’s visit snarls traffic for RB returnees

    Rancho Bernardo residents began their journey back home with a surprise today.

    They were stuck in traffic for two to three hours sitting in their cars at a standstill because of President Bush’s visit to their community.

    62 comments:

    Anonymous said…
    Thanks again for all your help, Mr. President! You are truly easing our burdens with your very timely visit! And only stupid liberals would possibly object to you coming!

    banshee said…
    As previously mentioned in the comments of an earlier post – the Pres has no business here. Get out of the way and let us get back to recovering.

    A previous comment mentioned that his presence was “comforting” when visiting Harbison Canyon after the Cedar fire – I don’t believe the residents of RB are feeling very “comforted” now.

    Anonymous said…
    This is exactly the kind of unwanted interference that other previous posts on Bush’s visit were talking about. People dont need this right now. If Bush really wants to help, he needs to cut all the bureaucratic red tape and get the federal help here NOW instead of interfering with local efforts and people who are already on edge, frustrated, tired, and hurting.

    RB Citizen said…
    I agree. I wanted to see the Prez only to have the opportunity to shake his hand and reject him. We live just off I-15/Pomerado and my wife is convinced we’re STILL not allowed back in because of his visit. Go away and ruin some other part of the world. Let us do our thing.

    = = =

    Of course, the same people would have said that Bush didn’t care if he didn’t show up.

  15. Michael Crosby Says:

    Woody, there is absolutely no basis for the “report” that only 300 people are left at Qualcomm, much less that people were ordered to leave because they were freeloading. I characterized the anonymous news source as “pretty much a liar” because the report is made up. I cannot imagine what facts lead you to conclude that my conclusion is “inaccurate and naive.” Mine is based on watching local TV news, reading updates, mostly from the local TV channels, on the internet.

    I am not aware of any rapes and murders at Qualcomm. I don’t even think the Gov has groped any volunteers yet.

    Finally, who or what is the source of your story that people w/o proper ID were seeking/getting food at Qualcomm?

  16. Kevin Says:

    Joshua Tree is called Joshua Tree because, well, Joshua trees are, er, trees.

    Or something.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_tree

  17. Woody Says:

    Michael, the 300 figure wasn’t out of line if the fires had been stopped and people could leave to go to a permanent place to live–whether back home, to a relative’s, a motel, or an apartment. I didn’t give it any more thought than that.

    Who would want to live under a pup tent inside the concourse of a football stadium one more minute than they had to? That place should have been emptied out that very day when people were allowed to return home.

    My personal view is that you’re nuts if you think that people other than evacuees didn’t go to Qualcomm for the free meals and a chance to wander around the stadium. For some, it would be something to do and for the vagabonds a place for some free food, even though getting change at the street corners for liquor was lucrative.

    Of course, there weren’t rapes and murders at Qualcomm, just like there weren’t any at the Superdome, even though your press reported very heavily that there were. Did you call them liars? I didn’t think so.

    The news source was a local station, probably reading off of a wire report, which may have been typed wrong or misread. That’s not important. However, I’ve learned how much to trust CNN and the like.

    Now, is this the best that you and the folks coming over from Marc Cooper’s have to say and do? You guys miss arguing with me so much that you have to come over here to pick your petty fights and throw your hissy fits?

    Clean up your acts or get lost.

  18. Woody Says:

    Oops. Wouldn’t you know that this has just been reported. Six out of how many and how many were benefiting from the theft? Maybe Woody guessed right.

    LINK: Six illegal immigrants arrested at Qualcomm

    “Six undocumented Mexican immigrants were arrested today by U.S. Border Patrol agents at Qualcomm Stadium, after a report that they were stealing food and water meant for evacuees, according to spokesman Damon Foreman.

    “San Diego police responded to a call about alleged theft from the evacuation center and encountered six people in a van who didn’t speak English and didn’t have California driver’s licenses, Foreman said. The police officers called the Border Patrol, who arrived at the stadium and made the arrests, he said. Foreman said the immigrants admitted they were Mexican citizens and that they were stealing.

    “Border Patrol agents are not looking for illegal immigrants at the center but will continue responding to police calls for assistance.”

  19. Woody Says:

    Lastly, I wouldn’t be issuing building permits helter skelter without consideration that the homes to be reconstructed are in proximity to fire zones and without consideration of fire protection and fire resistent materials installed. Otherwise, this could become an annual event.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/breakingnews/2007/10/san-diego-wants.html

    “With the embers still hot, San Diegans are beginning to talk about rebuilding burned-out neighborhoods.

    “The county Board of Supervisors moved today to lift building fees for anyone rebuilding a home destroyed or damaged by the Witch Creek, Harris, Rice, or Poomacha fires, or any of the lesser blazes. Permit processes will be expedited.”

  20. Kevin Says:

    Joshua Tree is called Joshua Tree because Joshua trees are trees.

    Or something.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_tree

  21. Michael Crosby Says:

    As for San Diego County’s firefighting capacity, it may be significant that the former fire chief, Jeff Bowman (was chief in Anaheim for 15 years), who has been quoted widely saying “I told you so” regarding lack of preparedness, himself refused to leave his home near Escondido even though he was subject to a mandatory evacuation order.

    The local media find themselves in a bind. The officials whose every word seems to be carved in tablets of stone are adamant that the mandatory evacuation orders MUST be followed. The media report those warnings, adding some of their own authority in commenting favorably on the official order. But their reporters are out in the field, and keep coming across people who have defied the evacuation orders. These folks have saved livestock and pets’ lives, doused flames to protect their own homes as well as those of their neighbors, and generally behaved as [ahem] heroes. So we have the reporters extolling the actions that the anchors are condemning in the strongest terms.

    This brings up a point about the various San Diego populations who are suffering losses from these fires. Your friend John Leone has reported one unrecognized group–abandoned domestics. We have seen the very expensive homes of their employers, in Rancho Santa Fe and elsewhere. And there are the upper-middle homeowners in places like Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Penasquitos, Poway, and the like. But an awful lot are hard-bitten westerners, who don’t trust the media, the gummint, the preacher, you nor me. Nothing short of teargas and mortar shells will chase these folks out of their homes, and many have had close encounters with raging wildfires in recent years.

  22. listener_on_the_sidelines Says:

    Props to you, Michael Crosby. I’m still of the opinion it’s a waste of time, but appreciate your willingness to take it on. What he-who-will-not-be-named understands about westerners couldn’t fill the first sentence, of the forward to the book. East coasters rarely do, and thems from da South-waiting-to-rise-again, understand even less.

  23. Woody Says:

    I just saw on the national news about how hard it is for the evacuees to get back to their houses, even those not burned, and that the police must escort each one in and out and only give you ten minutes there. After hurricanes in the South, the police forbid people to go back to their homes, and serious looting occured. By the next hurricane, those people learned their lessons from the first and refused to leave, which, of course, put them more at risk…but, what are you going to do if the government acts stupid?

  24. Michael Crosby Says:

    There are 2 separate classes of evacuees trying to get back to their homes: those who are returning because the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, and those where it hasn’t. It is the latter group that are escorted in and out. Oddly, people have been required to tell the police that they need to return for medicine or pets (I think), nothing else. The police, though, have been looking the other way when those folks lug out clothes, housewares, etc. So far, at least, those who are “locked out” of their own neighborhoods have accepted this regimen with good humor, though that may erode as the week nears an end.

    In the big picture, it seems that the firefighting in San Diego and some other regions has been limited (1) by the winds, for sure, and (2) limited equipment and manpower, probably. What has worked well, at least in San Diego, is the evacuation of people and the provision of shelter, food and comforts to those discomfitted by the fires, largely due to voluntary community efforts, along with the efforts of a committed and organized governmental structure.

    I am wondering whether the broad community effort is due to the fact that so many of us–legal and illegal immigrants to California–are here because we decided to be here. We have chosen to “plant our flags” here, rather than live out our lives where we were born and raised. That implies that people in the “heartland” would be less cooperative and committed, and I don’t like to suggest that without greater evidence. But it may be a factor.

  25. Woody Says:

    It looks as if the Chargers can play at home Sunday!

    “Qualcomm Stadium has fewer than 400 evacuees remaining, and the stadium is going to be closed as a shelter Friday.”

    WAIT! What was that? Only four hundred evacuees remain? Liars!

    Why my knowledgeable friend from that area is quoted as saying, “Woody, there is absolutely no basis for the “report” that only 300 people are left at Qualcomm, much less that people were ordered to leave because they were freeloading. I characterized the anonymous news source as ‘pretty much a liar’ because the report is made up.”

    I hope this sets the S.D. Union-Tribune straight. LIARS.

  26. maggie Says:

    Woody, so you may actually have heard almost right the first time, though tv was still saying there were thousands left, and I’m glad people can return to their homes. For most, despite the good food, sleeping on cots in the open or in tents outside is nervewracking and I know I could never sleep. There are several hundred people camped on the Pamona Fairgrounds right now, from the Inland Empire, and they and their accommodations look anything but glamorous.

    The only people who would be thrilled are the gangs or the thieves as you mentioned. — Glad Michael Crosby can afford to be so PC about “legal and illegal immigrants” making a choice to live in SoCal and hence all being so full of comraderie. Here in L A County, Supervisor Antonovich’s office released a report recently that illegals absord many billions more in services than they contribute. There are also recent busts of two Latino gangs, Florence 13 and 18th st., which have a violent and anti-black illegal element.

    Hospitals alone have a deficit of $8.2 billion annually from the uninsured, many illegal, and there’s a campaign on to get more of them to at least visit community clinics whenever possible rather than the expensive ER’s. This non- policy is also incredibly unfair to other would-be immigrants from around the world who have to jump through hoops, pay expensive fees, and wait, to just maybe… If you want to talk fairness, that’s where it should start, with real equality of opportunity.

    Anyone who thinks we not only can, but must, absorb millions of illegals who “choose” to come here and give them the same rights as legal immigrants, is certainly seeing the world through a very PC-blinded lens. That’s why I think your comments, Woody, much as they get over-the-top a lot and make me cringe, at least deflate the helium the ultra-libs who write here are inhaling. That’s where the debate starts, rather than a bunch of lefties who think in marchstep, preaching to themselves in splendid isolation.
    (Celeste must feel something like that, too.)

  27. Celeste Fremon Says:

    NOTE: I’M CROSS-POSTING THIS IN TWO THREADS TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE SEES IT.

    Dear everyone:

    I’ve been out at a journalism conference last night and all day today. So I have just now read the last few threads.

    I’ve received several emails about the fact that the “Day of the Devils” thread is filled with personal attacks, and indeed it is. Sparring is fine. I value the fact that we have both liberals and conservatives coming to argue. I assume each of you do too, or you wouldn’t show up.

    But the “Jane-you-ignorant-slut” variety ad hominem slams have gotten over the top and have high-jacked a couple of threads, the “Day of the Devils” thread most prominent among them.

    Enough. Attack issues and/or opinions, not individual people.

    You all know the difference.

    Being an enforcer is not something that suits my personality. So please don’t put me in the position where I must become one.

    Thank you in advance.

  28. richard locicero Says:

    Oh so much blather from the mouth of the South! Anyone who has lived here for any period of time (and I’m a native) knows that the real disaster scenarios for the region involve fire, not earthquakes. As long as I’ve been aware the hills have burned and taken the homes of the rich with them (Bel-Aire 1961 being one of the nastier ones). In fact Joan Dideon in her excellent collection of essays, “Slouching toward Bethleham” wrote that the image of the city aflame was lodged in our consciousness. Earthquakes of any magnitude are rare (Sylmar 1971, Northridge 1994) but every four or five years we get wildfires and every decade a real firestorm like now. Thjen, if the weather changes, we get mudslides and floods as predictable as anything in nature.

    Woody can make jokes but I’ll tell you this: People here will want Government aid and a lot of it. Those hills were alive with the sound of real estate greed and you don’t have to be Mike Davis to know that the current RE Burst Bubble will mean that a lot of those properties will need assistance since insurance will be woefully inadequate.

    Was OC and SD County unprepared for this? Is the Pope a Papist? Anyone familiar with the machinations behind the Orange curtain knows that developers rule here. And that means build anywhere. As for San Diego, it may be “America’s most livable big city” but it is also the most corrupt so I’m not too surprised to read complaints that, maybe, they weren’t ready.

    No, the real lessonj here is the unforgiving nature of those canyons and hillsides. They’re great places to live – if the winds don’t blow and the fires don’t come or the water turn the hillsides into mudlakes. And, unlike New Orleans – which is after all at the mouth of a great river system draining 2/3 of the continent and the path for all the produce and manufactures from that vast region hence the requirement for a port there – there is no reason for people to live in places like Malibu or Rancho Bernardo except aesthetics.

    Well this is the price and you’ll soon be paying for it. Just like we pay for the fools who think living on the barrier islands off SC or GA is a neat idea! Hey, its your tax dollars at work!

  29. richard locicero Says:

    Course maybe all nthbose fires were set by illegal immigrants sent here by Al Queda!

  30. Woody Says:

    The barrier islands in Georgia are almost completely private or government held and are allowed to stay in their natural states.

  31. maggie Says:

    Large areas of public land, county and state-owned, were never cleared to the standards private homes are required to, and there are articles pointing to hundreds of millions, even billions, in state and fed funds allocated for this but never released. (The Bush admin. is accused of hanging on to some monies due Calif.) The recent Beverly Hills fire was due to land owned by the DWP catching fire due to uncleared brush — despite nearly residents’ pleas to them. Afterwards, our local councilman and other officials pushed to finally get DWP and other city agencies to do follow the brush clearance laws like everyone else, and I saw crews working right afterwards.

    But this is is just the city of L A and Beverly Hills, the rest of the County and state haven’t kept pace. They own vast areas of the land with dead tinder that fueled the fires, from freeway medians and bufferlands to parklands, lands owned by the Santa Monica Conservancy, etc. People in all counties need to get their officials at all levels on this task.

    Ric, earthquakes scare me more because there is less you can do to prepare and no time to escape. If you try, roads and highways can collapse under you. At least with fires, you can make a timely exit. The one in 94 scared me beyond anything I’ve experienced. Cracked some walls, destroyed valuable china (I since use what museums do), but those with houses not reinforced to foundations suffered much worse. IF you have small kids it’s even worse.

    If we live only in areas of So Cal not subject to either (or the floods of ocean areas) that will leave little area left, just some inland flatlands, which are congested and boring enough already. One reason many of us live in the hills and by the oceans.

    (Could have done w/out comment 26 — telling ev/one concerned w/ illegal immigration, the vast majority of Americans, they’re all wackos, isn’t useful. And now that you mention it, Al Qaeda is sending operatives north thru Mexico, who knows what they’re planning to do next. Seems odd that the cops had to shoot one of two “suspected arsonists” — will we ever know what motivated them now?)

  32. L.A. Resident Says:

    Richard L. writes ….Course maybe all those fires were set by illegal immigrants sent here by Al Qaeda !!

    You almost had the story right, see the video from Fox News to get the “real story” about Al Qaeda and the fires in So. Cal.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxyhdQKriTE

  33. richard locicero Says:

    Maggie you live here? How many big quakes have you felt? How many times have your eyes burned from the fires in the hills and canyons? There is simply no comparison and the same places always go up in smoke. Sure they’re beautiful spots but they are also deadly. And costly. And why is it OK for ( mostly white) people to build there but not OK for (mostly black) people to build in the Ninth ward in New Orleans?

  34. Randy Paul Says:

    Having grown up in Miami and suffered throug hurricanes, lived in North Alabama (aka Tornado Alley) and dealt with earthquakes in San Francisco when I lived there, they scare me in the following descending order:

    1.) Tornadoes
    2.) Hurricanes
    3.) Earthquakes

    Tornadoes are unpredictable and pop up quickly. Hurricanes are predictable, but can still cause a great deal of damage. Earthquakes are usually brief and proper construction in earhtquake-prone zones can usually solve the problem and minimize damag.

  35. Celeste Fremon Says:

    I’m with Maggie on the fear factor. I’ve been through three fires, if you count this one—two in Topanga, one in Montana. They’re scary in a very primal way. But with earthquakes, your bedroom attacks you. I really didn’t…um… care for that.

    Haven’t been through a tornado or a hurricane, although one morning coming back from MT this summer, I drove through tornado conditions in Idaho. It was extremely creepy and perilous-feeling for a few minutes; and then the whole emergency warning came on the car radio, letting me know that I wasn’t hallucinating after all. But the funnel never touched down.

  36. Woody Says:

    I was in a building hit by a tornado, have had to evacuate the coast for hurricanes, was in a house when it caught on fire (and saved by the fire dept), and was tossed out of my bed by an earthquake. Yeah, it was that good. The fire scared me the most.

  37. Michael Crosby Says:

    My problem with the wildfires is the dread of watching (via TV) as they eat their way my direction. I’ve not yet been evacuated and never have had to worry seriously about my house being gone. My interaction with a tornado was after an afternoon of beer drinking on a lake. We were laughing hysterically as we clambered out of the lake, wrestled the boat onto the trailer and took off, trying to outrace or outmaneuver the funnel cloud. I forget who won. My problem with earthquakes is similar to fires…waiting to see how bad it will be. But the waiting in an earthquake is a matter of seconds, albeit the longest seconds of one’s life.

  38. Jay Byrd Says:

    Poisonous ad hominems that will ruin your blog:

    “Typical liberal.”

    “go back to all your left-wing sites”

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome”

    “the same people would have said that Bush didn’t care if he didn’t show up”

    “My personal view is that you’re nuts if you think …”

    “your press reported very heavily that there were. Did you call them liars?”

    ” is this the best that you and the folks coming over from Marc Cooper’s have to say and do? You guys miss arguing with me so much that you have to come over here to pick your petty fights and throw your hissy fits?

    Clean up your acts or get lost.”

  39. Jay Byrd Says:

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sami_Solanki

    But the same research has been quoted as being evidence for global warming in a News release from the Max Planck Society[11] where he is quoted as saying:
    “ since about 1980, while the total solar radiation, its ultraviolet component, and the cosmic ray intensity all exhibit the 11-year solar periodicity, there has otherwise been no significant increase in their values. In contrast, the Earth has warmed up considerably within this time period. This means that the Sun is not the cause of the present global warming. ”

  40. Jay Byrd Says:

    Oops, I posted that to the wrong thread; sorry.

  41. Woody Says:

    Hey, Jay Byrd, you’re starting it up again. You guys always start it, and I am obligated to defend myself, but Celeste can end it.

  42. Randy Paul Says:

    Just for the record, I didn’t start anything in the prior thread.

  43. maggie Says:

    The Boston Globe ran a story a couple of days ago (10/25) about how much hatred Elisabeth Hasselhoff has generated on the morning show The View, and how the mere fact “that an America’s sweetheart type would generate such vitriol says a lot about debate in a polarized country,” writes Joanna Weiss.

    Indeed, and as article points out, she’s no Ann Coulter or a self-promoter, just a simple, unpolished girl whose previous jobs are on a style show, and who got her start on the Survivor series, as just that. She needs that spunk every day as she gets reactions from gentle condescension (Barbra Walters) to more open scorn from her cohosts. Some guests like Barry Manilow and Alicia Silverstone wouldn’t even touch her or appear on shows with her. Yet, she states her views politely and “from the heart,” reflecting what they’re calling “security moms from the red states,” women concerned with sanctity of hearth and home.

    She’s vocally anti-abortion, even anti day-after pill, pro- Bush and pro-war, etc. Now, there is a regular other person on that show, a woman whose name I can’t recall, an African- American woman apparently to balance Whoopi Goldberg’s liberalism, a devoutly religious woman who got so rattled one day, she couldn’t say if the world was flat or round.

    Anyway, although I don’t agree with these views of hers, I’ve experienced the all-out hatred from those who like to consider themselves open-minded liberals even on issues you’d think weren’t so red-blue, like illegal immigration, single-payer insurance, maintaining Prop 13 and rights to inheritance — issues that one would consider the purview of the extreme liberal left. These people want to deprive other people of their hard-earned money and what many feel is the financial stability of families and municipalities, just as much as right wingers want to deprive others of their rights to terminate an accidental pregnancy or a war embarked on with a mistaken premise and too high a toll.

    Just as Elizabeth doesn’t change her opponents’ minds or v.v., so it goes on this blog and across the country. Guess that “such vitriol” does just “say a lot about debate in a polarized country,” where those in between are few indeed.

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