Fire Natural Disasters

Fire Weather ’09


View on Saturday at 1:40 p.m. from Topanga Canyon Blvd.
looking toward the La Canada Flintridge fire, known as the Station Fire.

Even from a distance, the smoke roiled in explosive billows, like an angry and malign ghost—signaling that the fire was very much out of control.


Here it is seen from the Altadena Weather Cam, 10 hours later.


  • It looks like this is a ways east from you, but what’s happening ?
    Scary stuff…we’ve been lucky with “natural” disasters since ’89 and ’91. But the weather has been so weird that my mother-in-law was predicting earthquakes yesterday. (She’s sort of like Hunter Thompson – the only time she seems to make sense is when things get weird.) Hopefully this LA fire will get under control, but it looks terrible.

  • Keep the fire away from the mall!

    From an LAT article: Literally adding fuel to the fire is 20- to 30-foot-high brush that has not burned in 60 years, said Mike Dietrich, incident commander from the Forest Service.

    Comments from a related LAT article:

    Ever since environmentalists have managed to push thier half baked agenda of preventing controlled fires to burn off underbrush that used to prevent such enormous fires in the past, these “armagedon” sized wild fires have become routine, and yet no legislation dares oppose these so called “environmental” dictates that is costing the state so much and the loss of invaluable property on a yearly basis. When will the Californian government get the spine to stand up for common sense?
    Posted by: Asianfire | August 15, 2009 at 08:50 AM

    Congratulations California. You wanted untouched wilderness and natural forests so you prohibited the culling of dead timber and combustible materials from them. What you failed to realize is that “charred” is a natural color in the forests and wilderness. Now you apply for federal money to fix a problem of your own making and the rest of us must pay for your enviro-stupidity excesses.
    Posted by: Smokey Bear | August 15, 2009 at 09:29 AM

    Where do you find firemen willing to risk their lives for a liberal shocktoilet like california? Esp now that you can’t pay them
    Posted by: erik in manhattan | August 15, 2009 at 06:48 PM

    So many fires of this magnitude are a testament to either very poor or no forest management at all. When is the media going to give attention to the real story instead of the disaster that results from ignoring the cause. Throughout the nation people know what’s going on in CA. It’s absurd to continue as if The Emporer has any clothes.
    Posted by: John Gargano | August 30, 2009 at 07:01 AM

    To that I add, how many firefighters will lose their lives in their duties to satisfy the left-wing environmentalists who oppose proper forest management? Will the lefties feel any guilt or just consider it part of the price for their cause?

    What Is Prescribed Fire?

  • Here’s the problem, Woody. Your blame routine happens to be diametrically opposed to the facts.

    Here is the relevant ‘graph from a 2000 LA Times article on the issue of controlled or prescribed burns, which the Clinton White house was pushing at the time.

    The federal government’s use of controlled burns, also known as prescribed burns, is not without controversy.

    Environmentalists generally applaud the trend. But the timber industry and some residents of forested areas complain that there is too much fuel in the woods to handle with controlled burns and that more logging is needed to reduce the risk of devastating blazes. There are also concerns that the fires contribute to air pollution.

    “You’re building a tinderbox that’s waiting to ignite, and even the most well-intentioned controlled burn is doomed to fail due to the conditions our national forests are now experiencing,” argued Derek Jumper, media director for the American Forest and Paper Assn., which represents the forest products industry.

    Ever since the Yellowstone fire of 1988 burned for four months, the Forest Service, et al, revised their policy about prescribed burning.

    In truth, usually the reason that sometimes individual people—on the right or the left— oppose controlled burning is that they get spooked about whether it will get out of control. And occasionally that has happened, as in New Mexico. But the main environmental groups haven’t opposed controlled burns in 20 years.

    As a matter of fact, some years back, I made a point of attending a huge hearing on the subject in Montana–in one of the more conservative counties in the state—to speak in favor of controlled burning.

    Since I live in Topanga, such things are big topics of conversation. In areas such as these, the most environmentally oriented people are tasked with convincing their jittery (and usually more conservative, anti-government) neighbors that the burns are necessary.

    So you’ll have to place the blame for the deaths of firefighters elsewhere.

    One interesting side note, conservative Orange County, California, is woefully underfunded when it comes to its fire suppression equipment, particularly in the area of air support. It is one conservative political group in the OC, which has specifically blocked the funding.

    In the Santiago fire of 2007 in the OC, the lack of immediate response resources—of the kind that LA County has—is thought to have a made a crucial difference in that fire getting out of control.

    I could go on. (And on.)

    In short: With all respect, Woody, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Thanks Randy. But I’m not anywhere close. Although all during fire season we are jittery.

    Although it smells like there’s a campfire in my back yard, much of LA smells that way.

    There are a lot of people and houses in harms way.

  • Celeste, your source and its support are quite suspect and lacking.

    Every fire is different, but read this regarding the Yellowstone fires: Fire in Paradise: The Yellowstone Fires and the Politics of Environment-alism, by Micah Morrison

    If controlled burns in your area had been conducted rather than opposed, then you wouldn’t have these annual fire disasters. Would you?

    The enviromentalists may claim to support (some) controlled burns, but they find reasons to oppose almost all of them, either collectively or individually. They always oppose the use of private companies to do the job, as the can’t stand the concept of “profits” that may benefit them. They oppose logging, as if wood for homes and schools are an attack on “Mother Earth.” They say that they want nature rather than man in charge of the burns.

    If you do adequate research, you will find that actual history doesn’t support your contention of an environmental movement friendly to controlled burns.

    Once again from my comment above: Literally adding fuel to the fire is 20- to 30-foot-high brush that has not burned in 60 years, said Mike Dietrich, incident commander from the Forest Service.

    Is the Forest Service to blame or the restrictions placed on them by cowardly politicians pandering to the environmental radical left? Which is it?

    I could go on. (And on.)

    In short: With all respect I DO know what I’m talking about.

  • Since the comments are off on the post above this one (Fire Weather: Two LA County Firefighters Killed), let me add a comment about it here.

    Woody above: …how many firefighters will lose their lives in their duties to satisfy the left-wing environmentalists who oppose proper forest management?

    Let the president of the Sierra Club go explain the deaths of the firemen to their families. (Again, the actions, law suits, campaign contributions, and member votes of “enviromental groups” over the decades don’t match their current disclaimers of innocence.)

  • Woody, clearly you didn’t read the article you linked to as it refutes your premise rather than supporting it.

    I started to write out a long post about the history of fire policy in America, but have since deleted it. Look it up yourself.

    Suffice it to say that, from the 1930’s onward, forest ecologists and hard core environmentalists have been pushing to allow forests and wildlands to burn whenever possible, as this is the best thing for the health of the forests.

    It is commercial interests, plus often just plain old popular opinion, that has been against it.

    Ditto controlled burns. The most hard core end of the environmental movement has been the most out front in fighting for burning.

    Do some marginal research before you use deaths of our fire fighters—for whom we are only beginning to grieve— to advance a partisan agenda.

    Really Woody—partisanship and your present fact-free agenda aside—this is really beneath you. Or at least, it should be.

    I’m not going to say any more on this.

  • Celeste, you see what you want in the article.

    The whole issue about controlled burning was sidetracked by liberals feigning environemental concerns. They create enormous legal and procedural obstacles to the job of managing forests.

    Until “environmentalists” started with their protests and law suits, the problem wasn’t as great. I’ve followed this for years. The (ahem) “enviromentalists” may allow infrequent burns started by nature but not the prescribed burns started by man, thus, allowing for uncontrolled growth of underbrush or fuel.

    Whom do you think has been holding up forest managment…accountants wearing three piece suits? This guy doesn’t think so. Environmentalist Governmental Mismanagement of Forest Fires


    The Need for Expanded Wildland Fuel Management in California
    A Position of the Northern California Society of American Foresters

    Issue Statement

    California faces a critical need for wildland fire hazard reduction at a time when the state’s collective will and wherewithal to implement the needed fuel treatments are highly limited. Perhaps the greatest impediments to increased support for fuel management are the pervasive public misperceptions that wildfire is necessarily bad (Thanks to groups like the Sierra Club) and that healthy, productive forests can be sustained without being managed. Some environmental organizations oppose all forms of forest management and suspect that any management involving tree removal constitutes resource exploitation. Many nonindustrial landowners and residents of forest intermix areas fail to implement needed fuel treatments because they view such management as conflicting with their preservationist values or are simply reluctant to invest in land improvements. Land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service have undergone repeated reductions in their land management budgets and related output targets. The wildfire suppression divisions of these agencies sometimes regard fuel management programs as being in competition with their own programs for funding. Air quality management agencies sometimes oppose the use of prescribed fire for fuel management because of its short-term environmental impacts.


    Born to Be Wild?
    The “wilderness” is burning, and environmentalists are to blame.

    Fact-free agenda? I don’t think so.

    Get rid of the environmental obstacles and the fire disasters drop.

    And, yes, if the build up of fuel was created by delays for so-called environmental concerns, then those folks have blood on their hands. It’s better to be up front about it rather than pretend that it doesn’t matter.

  • Note: The resident Sack-‘o-Shit inserted the words “(Thanks to groups like the Sierra Club” into the Issue Statement “quoted” above.

    Dishonest, puerile little bastad.

    Go To Hell !!!!

  • Celeste, you should know by now that there’s no point in debating the lying sack of shit that goes by “Woody”.

  • You’re a dishonest little prick, Woody. 99% of the people who read this blog have nothing but contempt for your constant carping, hijacking and lying.

  • Randy: One would think any idiot would know that.

    Which you proved.

    reg, your contributions to this and MC’s sites amount to personal attacks rather than anything of substance. One-hundred percent of the people who read this blog see through you.

    BTW, you never start a sentence with a number unless it is written out. Even Randy knows that.

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