Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California Fires

I've gotten a e-mail from my uncle who lives in San Diego.
We are quite safe at 20 to 30 miles from any of the fire fronts and most of that is urbanized area with lots of fire hydrants along the streets. I don’t feel any potential threat at all. Our worst problem is that some of the power lines that feed the city are down and they say we are to cut back on use to prevent overloading the remaining lines.
I’m sure that the media is in the usual hyper mode of broadcasting, looking for any small bit of sensationalism to expand into headlines. But no, not all of San Diego is in flames. This is not to minimize the size of the fire and the horror for those who are living trough it. The fire of ’03 was said to be the biggest to ever hit the state and 200 homes were lost. So far, on Tuesday morning, they say that this fire has claimed 1000 homes. The 100,000 acres of fire is big, but it is less than 4% of the area of the county, and much of it is hillside brush land. Consider that some of the homes lost were on “Twisted Ranch Road”. Some people chose to live out in the ‘boonies’ hidden back in the hills. The evacuation of 300,000 people is a huge effort, although I’m not certain that all who were directed to go, have really done so. The evacuation areas comprise about 4 times the size of the actual fire areas. The concerted effort of evacuation is somewhat an over reaction to the failures during the ’03 fire where they ignored the danger in its early stages. But some of the people who stayed behind in ’03 to try and save their homes were the ones who died. 16 died in the ’03 fire, 1 has died this year.
We are safe and secure with our worst issue is the smoke in the air that they say is unhealthy for too much exercise so we rest for a few days.

I've lived in L.A. for 8 years and there were always a fire danger. One year one of the fires was close to where I lived. I watched the fire from my balcony. I've hiked those hills and canyons many times. They are very steep and covered with trees, bushes, and grass. It was almost always really dry. Even the hills I hiked by the coast were dry. When you get those Santa Ana winds whipping through those canyons it's darn near impossible to stop any fires.
Definitely need to pray for the protection for those fighting the fires and those supporting them and that those darn Santa Ana winds would subside.

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