Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Montecito Fire Caused By A Bonfire

Over 200 homes were lost due to young people's bonfire. They had a good time and left the area thinking their fire was out. Hours later the Montecito fire became a reality. It sounds like this was just an evening fire, not a campfire.

This is the second Santa Barbara area fire started by young people.

I used to go camping a lot. We had large fires in our LEGAL fire pit in campgrounds. These campsites were next the to same type of hills and brush that burned in Montecito. Lots of campers have fires while camping.

From what I observed, very few campers put out their fires before going to bed. Our policy was to DROWN a fire and be sure it did not smoke or sizzle when water was poured over the coals.

I hope campers and others think about the losses in these Souther California fires when they light a campfire.

Oak Ridge Residents Given Free Access To Homes

The Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park residents were being escorted into the park for a look at their homes. They are expected to be given free access to the area today. I am sure ID will be required for proof of residence.

This will give people a chance to salvage whatever might be left from their burned homes. Even burned to the ground homes will often have somethings that can be salvaged.

Someone found a single picture in a burned home. Sometimes that is worth more than words can say.

I once watched a motorhome burn to just a frame. It was hose down by the fire department nd hauled away. This was at a favorite beach spot of ours, so the next day my wife and I were there again and saw a small pile of rubble where the motorhome had been.

Out of curiosity I walked over to it and found one picture and then more pictures. I salvaged the pictures and some papers just before a county truck came by and scooped up all the burned remains into a dumpster.

In the charred remains I found phone numbers and was able to track the RV owner. The owner was a single man living in the motorhome. He was glad to get his pictures back.

So, even in burned out ruins, there may be pictures and other memories left to find and bring a smile or a tear.

Lost Power Dangerous In A Fire

When a fire ravages an area one result can be loss of power. The obvious thing is that you will not have lights in your home if this happens at night. You need flashlights with fresh batteries in your home. This is a good idea whether there is a fire or just a normal power outage.

This Montecito fire tells a different story on how lost power can be dangerous in a fire. I read about two instances of people being trapped behind looked gates in Montecito. The first gate was pried open from the outside to allow those trapped to escape.

Christopher LLoyd's home was behind locked electric gates and his caretaker was trapped behind them on the property. The caretaker crashed his truck to the gates to escape.

Both of these situations could have ended tragically without quick thinking.

What is in your life that could prevent you from getting help in any kind of emergency? Does an elderly friend or relative need a system to get help if they fall? Remember the TV commercial, "Help, I've fallen and can't get up"?

Maybe locked electric gates need a battery backup at the gate in case of emergency. Maybe they need some sort of manual override that does not compromise day to day security.

Monday, November 17, 2008

GREAT NEWS! Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park

There is great news in the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park today. The L.A. Coroner says that the cadaver dogs have not found a single death in any of the homes in this park.

Of 600 homes 400 residents have checked in and indicated everyone in their home is accounted for.

Cadaver dogs hit on remains twice. One turned out to be nothing and the other is believed to be someones created remains from a funeral urn.

Good News Today On Southern California Fires

The good news is that is is not much news on the Southern California Fires. Yes, the fires are still going. Yes, homes are still in danger and people who have been evacuated are still not being allowed back into their homes because of that danger. However, there is no big breaking stories.

The news is fairly quiet. The winds have died down to a whisper. All the news is comparatively slow paced. GOOD NEWS!

Fire News Good This Morning -- Not Over Yet

The Southern California fire news is good this morning. There are still evacuations in the Brea, Anaheim Hills Diamond Bar fire areas. Most people have been allowed to return home.

There are no morning reports of major home loss overnight. None of the fires are over yet but the news is looking good.

My wife grew up in Sylmar. She lived a block off of Sayre Street (Sayre Fire). She attended Sylmar High School, one of the major evacuation centers.

Last night my wife got a called from an old school friend. One of my wifes friends lived in the Oak Ridge Mobible Home Park. These fires touch of in many ways. Based on maps, we believe this friends house was lost.

This morning some people will be allowed into the Oak Ridge Park to evaluate the damage to their homes and retrieve some of their belongings. This is only for people with their homes still standing. They will only be allowed about 10 minutes each to get anything important to them. 124 mobile homes were not destroyed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Looters Apprehended in Evacuated Areas

There have been at least five looters arrested. Once people have been evacuated, the looters think there is an opportunity to take advantage or a tragedy.

Arsonists and looters should be given severe penalties for their crimes. I hope none of those caught are given light sentences.

Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park NOT 500 LOST?

I just heard an interview with the manager of the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park. She said 475 homes were lost. The number the news keeps giving is 500. She also said 60% of the lost homes has been searched and no victims have been found and no one has been reported missing.

It seems that until "the dust settles" there will not be accurate figures on losses. I mentioned these errors in an earlier post.

Regardless of whether it is 475 or 500 homes lost, this is still a devastating loss to all who are homeless today. The numbers don't really matter.

Sayer, Sylmar Fire Dogs Have Not Found Victims

The search dogs have completed searching about 30% of Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park where the Sayre fire destroyed 500 mobile homes. Fortunately the dogs have not found any victims at this time.

Another positive note is that no one has been reported missing at Oak Ridge. Not everyone have been accounted for since people have gone their separate ways after losing their homes.

Montecito, Santa Barbara Arson Suspected

Investigators have determined that the Montecito, Santa Barbara fire was of human origin. Arson is suspected in this fire.

A radio interview just occurred: The Montecito fire is 70% contained. 230 homes have been lost in that fire.

There is very little information on the Montecito fire. The other fires have taken over the news. Luckily with 70% contained, there is not a lot of news in the Santa Barbara fire.

Dogs Search For Victims

The Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park lost 500 mobile homes. The park was closed as a crime scene to investigate possible crime or loss of life.

Dogs are now searching every mobile home lot searching for possible victims of this fire.

Arsonist Caught In The Act

A 39 year old man was caught in the act starting a fire in Malibu Creek State Park. He was seen by a citizen starting a fire on the side of the road. He was seen igniting leaves and newspaper. Malibu Creek State park is about 1/2 hour north of Los Angeles on the coast.

The man who saw this arson taking place stomped out the fire and reported it. The sheriff caught the shortly later. This arsonist is in jail on $75,000 bail.

This crime should get life in prison in my opinion. If you rob someone or kill a person, it only affects a few people. An arsonist devastates the lives of hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of people.

You an read the full article at MSNBC

FIRE! Sylmar, Chino Hills, Anaheim Hills and More

Another day and fires are still destroying homes and tearing up lives. This is a part of Southern California life. FIRES! Usually the home loss is not as severe as in these fires.

News this morning saying 800 homes lost. Last night I calculated 1000 from all of the fires from Santa Barbara to Sylmar to Anaheim Hills. This includes all fires in between.

The winds are down and firefighters are having an easier job of gaining control over these fires. Regardless these fires are no where near over.

As I have told you, I an 45 miles from the Sylmar fire and at least double that from the other inland fires. I am about 30 miles from the Montecito fire. Over half of the horizon here is covered in smoke. The sun is shining through the smoke casing a eerie orange cast on the area.

One way to help in a disaster is by having an inventory so some of your belongings can be replaced. What about your computer data? Can you replace it? Backing up your computer data and photos is an important part of disaster preparedness.

The typical backup method is to burn a CD or DVD of your important information. However, if you store those disks in your home, you may still lose everything.

One answer is to backup data and store it in a bank safety deposit box. Or mail backups to an out of the area friend or relative.

Another option is to backup online. There are services that you can use for a nominal monthly fee to back up your data, pictures and important information. Two I have heard recommended are www.carbonite.com/Carbonite
and mozy.com/Mozy

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Home Loss Hard To Track

The home loss count is hard to keep track of. There are varying reports from low official counts to exaggerated news reports to just plain errors.

The Anaheim Hills apartment complex lost 40 to 55 units from what I read so far.

Reports say 300 homes have been lost in the Yorba Linda fire.

News reports from helicopters are pretty reliable as they show the damage as it is happening and can count lost homes as they see them. The problem is one helicopter can only cover so much area.

One fact is that hundreds of people are homeless tonight. It is a sad fact that wildfires in California claim a lot of homes and disrupt many lives.

Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park -- Are There Deaths?

The Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park has been designated a crime scene. An explanation of this is that they think some residents may not have gotten out.

Too many burned out homes still have cars parked in the driveways. When people evacuate, they pack their belongings in their cars and leave. There are still too many cars parked in front of burned out homes. Officials are investigating the possibility that some people did not leave.

My thought is that many mobile homes are owned by elderly people. Often in a fire evacuation we hear that elderly residents are reluctant to leave their homes. They have been through fires before and think they will be safe in this one. Just my thought that I hope is not true.

So far there there have been no reported deaths in this park. There have not been any reports of missing people.

Another Massisve Home Loss

In Anaheim Hills the fire swept through a 250 unit apartment complex. It does not matter whether you home is a $1,000,000 home or an studio apartment, a lost home is a the same.

Maybe those who live in the more expensive home have an easier time financially than those living in an apartment. Typically they would have more cash in the bank, more credit cards and may have the financial ability to stay in a nice hotel until they can get a better place to live.

Regardless, the mental toll of losing your home and your belongings is an emotional catastrophe.

Tragic Day In Southern Californa Fires

Today has been a tragic day in the various fires in Southern California. Although there have been no lives lost yet, there have been hundreds of homes lost.

In the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park, an estimated 500 homes were lost. They still do not have an exact count. They are saying that 124 mobile homes were saved.

One woman said that the Oak Ridge Park was like a small "Mayberry" like community. They had bingo at the club house. There were potluck dinners and many community activities. She said it was more than just a place to live and now it is gone.

Hopefully most homeowners had insurance and will at least get their homes back.

The Corona Fire moved to Yorba Linda and now into Anaheim hills.

Up in Montecito, Santa Barbara there have been 111 homes lost. The Montecto Fire is now 40% contained.

Did you read my post earlier? It is really important that each person take a video inventory of everything they own. If evacuation is imminent for you a very quick picture survey will have to do. If you are not threatened by one of these fires you should take a very complete survey of everything you own.

When filing an insurance claim, a complete inventory will get you back hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars you would not get back without and adequate picture record.

DC-10 Jet Dropping Fire Retardant In Yorba Linda

There is a DC-10 jetliner that has been converted for firefighting. It just dropped load of fire retardant on the Yorba Linda Fire.

There have been three homes lost in Yorba Linda. This same fire burned twelve home in Corona.

Video of the Yorba Linda area shows six home burning. The home loss count at any given time is off. Numbers we here are official loss. News helicopters often show currently burning home well in excess of the number of homes officials tell us about.

Palos Verdes Has A 10 Acre Fire

They just announced that there is a 10 acre fire burning in Palos Verdes.

The problem with these fires is that there are only so many fire fighting resources. They get spread very thin when more than one fire is burning.

When the Tea Fire in Montecito began, fire departments 100 miles away were sending fire fighters and fire trucks in to fight this fire. Outlying areas send equipment to each of these fires.

If more than one fire is burning, firefighters have to be pulled from one fire to fight another fire that is more dangerous.

More Fires More Home Losses

Cornona and Yorba Linda have fires.

Homes are being lost in these fires also.

When the Santa Anna winds pick up in Southern California, fires break out. Some are started by wind blown power lines coming down. Others are started by arsonists.

This is a scary time of year. Every time the winds blow, there is the potential for fires.

BREAKING NEWS: The Oak Ridge Mobile home park has just now been declared a crime scene. Newscasters are being requested to leave the area. There are no details on what the crime is. It could be related to arson, looting or any other criminal activity.

Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park 90% Destroyed

They are saying that 90% of the homes in the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park has been destroyed. This was a 600 to 800 space mobile home park. A newscaster is in the park surveying the damage.

This morning around 6:00 there were about 35 or so mobile homes burning. The fire department has been ordered out of the area. The winds made it too dangerous for firefighters to stay and save any of the homes.

Luckily, so far there have only been minor injuries and no loss of life in this fire.

165+ Home Lost In Sayre Sylmar Fire

The Sayre Fire is devastating. It has been burning for 11 1/2 hours and more than 165 homes have been lost. Most of those are in the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park.

Even 165 is not a firm number. On the news they are saying, "Hundreds of home lost in Oak Ridge" This mobile home park has 600 spaces. This morning firefighters were in the park fighting the fire. They were ordered to drop their hoses and get out of the area. I have not heard that they have returned, but I do not know.

I just heard the first news on the Tea Fire in Montecito. No real news, just that they are still not out of danger. All the news is on the Sylmar fire.

50 Mobile Homes Lost In Sayre Sylmar Fire

The fire losses keep increasing. Just now there was a report that at least 50 mobiles homes had been lost in Sylmar. All of these are in the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park.

A Channel 2 news helicopter spotted another fire starting miles from this one. They do not know where it is at this moment. Only guessing the newscaster says possibly the new fire in in the Corona or Brea area. No details yet. The helicopter is 50 to 60 miles away and spotted it burning

Get Ready For An Evacuation

Fires or any disaster means you should be ready to evacuate as soon as you know danger could be coming near you. The Sayre fire has 10,000 people evacuated from their homes.

Keep important papers and family pictures in a place that is quick and easy to get to. Often you only have minutes to gather a few things and run.

If danger is coming, be sure you know where your pets are. Get them indoors and have leases, collars and pet crates ready. Be sure you pack their food and food and water dishes.

One thing you can do well in advance, even when no danger is present, it to take pictures of what you own. If you have pictures, insurance claims will go quickly. Without pictures you will have a lot more trouble getting paid for your lost belongings. Go through every room of your house with a camera taking pictures. If you have a video camera, give a narration of everything in each room.

If you may be in danger soon, even using a cell phone to take pictures can save you time and grief later.

You have an amazing amount of belongings you may not even think about. A families underwear cost adds up. Knick knacks and collectibles need to be documented. Take you video/picture record of your belongings when there is no danger.

Sayre Fire, Sylmar, California

7:45 A.M. Nov 15, 2008
This dangerous wildfire has been named the Sayre Fire and started at Sayre Street in Sylmar.

Since 5:15 this morning the news has been only the Sayre Fire. There has been no news of the Tea Fire in Montecito, Santa Barbara. Hopefully that fire has been contained.

Officials were saying 10 homes have been lost. The news is showing a mobile home park where I counted at least 34 mobile homes burning. That is at least 44 homes lost. The news now says they have lost "dozens of structures", but there is still no exact number.

The Sayre Fire is being pushed by winds up to 50 mile per hour. The humidity is extremely low, currently 5% which increase fire danger. The temperature is predicted to reach into the 90s today. There is a red flag (danger) condition posted until 4 this afternoon.

Fast moving wildfires are driven by Santa Anna winds which are common this time of year.

I am on the coast 45 miles from the fire. We are in a coastal plain here. The sky is full of smoke from horizon to horizon. The winds are rapidly driving the smoke from the fire a very long distance. It gives you an idea of how bad these winds are.

Traffic in California is being severely affected. Interstate 5 is Closed. It is the main route from Northern California into Southern California. The two alternatives coming south are about 40 miles to the west on Highway 101 or 65 miles to the east on Interstate 15.

There are smaller mountain roads but heavy trucks cannot travel most of there roads. A tractor trailer big rig tried to use Highway 23 to go around this traffic mess and is stuck in a tight turn on this mountain road. The road is posted NO TRUCKS, but the driver disregarded or didn't see the signs.

Living on the coast, we are safe from any fire, but we relate to each area. The Sayer fire started about a mile from where my wife and I once had a business. It started 1/2 mile from where my wife grew up.

If you live near mountains in Southern California, you will be impacted by a fire at some time. The Tea Fire burned brush that has not burned for 30 years. The Sayre fire is burning in the area of the Marek and Sesnon Fires. It is almost the same area.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tea Fire Afternoon Update Montecito, Santa Barbara

There is a lot of help in the Tea Fire Area. Many agencies, companies and individuals are offering help and services to those who have lost their homes and those who have been evacuated.

The acreage has been down sized for over 2000 acres down to 1500 acres.

Electric power will be going on and off in the area due to fire conditions.

There are no accurate figures on lost homes, but estates are 100 to 200.

The getting close to sunset and when the sun goes down the "Sundowner Winds" pick up. Air masses move when temperatures change causing winds to increase.

Evacuations Using REVERSE 911

Many residents are being prepared to evacuate using the REVERSE 911 system. With this system, residents are called warning them of an impending problem. Instead of residents calling the city, the city calls the residents.

This fire is called the Tea Fire It stared in what was a Tea garden may years ago. It is a private fenced in area. It was a garden but is overgrown now. It was not a residence.

One Person Arrested

One person was arrested for being in the area of the fires. He was not an arson suspect, but ran from police when approached. There are no details on what he was doing in the area, but police were suspicious of him being there and had cause to arrest him.

AMAZING Pictures Of Lost Tea Fire Homes

I was on Twitter and someone posted this link to some amazing pictures of homes on fire in the Tea Fire.
Tea Fire Pictures

Radio news:
The Tea fire has no containment estimate. No control estimate.
840 firefighters were on the fire lines this morning.
Well over 100 homes have been lost.
2 serious burn injuries. NO FATALITIES REPORTED.

Fire Spared Newlywed's Home

There was a radio interview of a man who was just married in his Montecito house yesterday. His house was spared. He had been do landscaping and grading and believes the cleared area may have save his home.

His neighbors homes have been leveled by the fire. He said it would feel strange being the only one living nearby. Often our wildfires decimate a neighborhood but leave one or two homes standing unscathed. What a lonely existence for those who are spared.

He had only been in the house 10 weeks and mentioned the injustice of him being their for such a short time and how many 30 year residents lost their homes.

Firefighters may have a water shortage problem. Local reservoirs are low on water. They are also saying that water pressure in the area is low.

Fast Moving Fire Barely Time To Evacuate

Most Southern California wildfires start during our windy season in the fall. Winds last night gusted to 70 miles an hour.

This fire was moving so fast people barely had time to get out of their homes before their homes were consumed by fire.

High winds and a fire only 100 yard (a football field length) from you home mean you have to hustle just to save you life.

One man interviewed on the radio said that he only had time to grab a few things but he could not find his cat before he had to leave.

Helicopters Fly At Night For Tea Fire

This is the first time I have ever heard that firefighters flew at night to fight Southern California fires. Normally aircraft do not fight fires at night due to the canyons, power lines and winds created by the fires.

News says 10 people have been taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and 3 for burns.

Tea Fire Montecito, Santa Barbara 100+ Homes Destroyed

Last night around 6:00 P.M. a fire started in Montecito that has destroyed over 100 homes and injured four people.

Montecito has multimillion dollar homes of the stars. Oprah Winfrey has a home there as does John Travolta and many other well known celebrities. Do a search and you find Rob Lowe, Carol Burnett, Steve Martin, Johnathan Winters and many more live there.

Luckily only four people have been injured so far. Two firefighters and two civilians.

Montecito is nestled against the Santa Ynez mountains. Homes are on narrow mountain roads in areas of heavy vegetation. This area has not burned in over 30 years.

One of the main draws of the coastal mountain areas is homes with a view of the ocean. However, winding roads and long standing native plants make fighting this fire even more difficult.

California mountains are covered in "chaparral" or native brush that is very dry at this time of year and burns quickly and intensely. Wind and dry brush are ingredients for fires in this area.

Homes in the entire Santa Barbara area are expensive to begin with. Working class people have a hard time affording the cost of housing in the area. In the past Santa Barbara talked about subsidizing school teachers so they could afford to live in the area.

This give you an idea of the cost of housing in the area. If you Google "Santa Barbara Real Estate" you will find the median home price in the area is $842,500. There is a lot of very expensive real estate going up in smoke today.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fires Are Being Controlled

The Los Angeles fires have been quickly contained

Those evacuated are home again. The Porter Ranch, Sesnon fire, is 90% contained. The Marek fire is in mop up now.

Luckily these fires have been quickly controlled. Some of our fires are not so quickly tamed and threaten more property, homes and people.

The Porter Ranch fire was caused by a downed power line. This morning the radio is saying the line had not been inspected lately. NEGLIGENCE?

State Regulations did not apply to the downed power line. A private line on private property caused the fire. They are not required to go by the strict regulations of regulated utilities. The line that caused this was not required to inspect the line or clear brush below or around the lines.

One such private property, private line caused a California wildfire that burned down over 1000 homes according to the news this morning. This was in the past, not a current fire, but they did not say which one.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NO Fire Fighting C-130s at Point Mugu

I told you that Point Mugu C-130 Hercules airplanes were used to fight fires. I was WRONG. Any C-130s used to fight local fires come from out of this area.

President Bush had promised that by mid-year 2008 ours would be outfitted to drop fire retardant chemicals on wildfires. Then a Septemeber date was give. This has not happened.

With military pilots needing so many hours a month in the air, it is a shame that a lot of those hours are not spent fighting fires. Thousands of acres are burned yearly across the nation. Hundreds and even thousands of homes are lost. Many lives are lost.

If these military pilots have to have air time, why not fighting fires.

Point Mugu -- Arson -- 37 Acres

The Point Mugu fire I talked about yesterday was started at a trailhead and they think it was arson.

It started in a popular hiking area that leads into the coastal mountains.

Luckily it only burned 37 acres and was quickly contained.

The Porter Ranch or Sesnon Fire is 50% contained. There is still a ways to go before that one is out.

Since we get very little rain here in Southern California, the Los Angeles fires have a lot of dry brush to consume. Compounding that, many area have not been burned over for years which makes for denser brush and more fuel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Porter Ranch Fire Cause: Electric Wires

Luckily the Sesnon or Porter Ranch fire was not caused by arson. They investigated and determined that the cause was electric power lines.

In our high winds, power lines are often the cause of brush fires and wildfires that get completely out of control.

All evacuations have been lifed for both Los Angeles fires, Sesnon and Marek. That means that no homes are in danger at this time. Let's hope it stays that way.

Pt Mugu Fire Pretty Much Out

The Point Mugu fire is pretty much out. A helicopter pilot said he could not see any smoke or flames.

Luckily this is mop up now to be sure no embers get fanned up and it starts all over again.

Today the wind was blowing toward the ocean. A fire that starts near the water has less chance of spreading than one farther inlance. Plus winds blowing it toward the water help get it under control.

Ventura Horse Evacuation Center

Today I went to the Ventura County Fairgrounds to get a free flu shot and attend a senior health fair.

The fair grounds has an equestrian center with stables/stall for horses. This center is being used as a horse and large animal evacuation center for the Los Angeles Fires.

I saw a couple trailers pull in while we were there. As we drove by the show arena, there were two horses in the arena with their owners.

The online fire site says that the Pt Mugu fire is 70% contained. I just go back and have not heard anything about it on the local radio station.

NEW FIRE! Closer To Home. YIKES!

The Porter Ranch, Sesnon fire and Sylmar, Marek fire are 30 ot 50 miles away from us.

We now have a fire about 8 to 10 miles from here. It is along the coast at Point Mugu.
I just heard a radio traffic report that PCH was closed in the area.

Pt Mugu is where the Point Mugu Naval Air Station is located. When they finally get around to using military aircraft in fighting wildfires, Air National Guard C-130 Hercules stationed at "Mugu" get into the action and drop fire retardant.

MY MISTAKE: The Point Mugu C-130s are NOT equipped to fight fires. Other older C-130s come in from other areas when we get miliary support.

Pt Mugu Naval Air Station is the airport President Reagan flew into on his last flight. We watched the plane come in and watched the hearse leave the base taking the President to his final resting place.

Heavy Lift Helicopter Fighting The LA Fires

Yesterday I drove by the Camarillo Airport which is in the next county from Los Angeles. There were at least three heavy lift, water dropping helicopter coming in and taking off. One left with a big red water bucket trailing below it.

I am guessing these aircraft were refueling, not getting water. The were probably fighting the fire at Porter Ranch, the Sesnon fire.

I was surprised they were coming over to Camarillo instead of going to the Van Nuys Airport, which I would think is closer.

The Sesnon fire is 20% contained this morning. It has burned over 13,000 acres. The Marek fire is 80% contained and has burned about 5000 acres.

California wildfires can burn for months. Some of them get into the back country mountains and burn until rain or snow falls to put them out. These fire are not in the news, but they burn on regardless. They are so remote that fighting them aggressively is not practical.

I'll see if I can find pictures of these helicopters

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Los Angeles Fires Still Raging

The fires in the San Fernando Valley are still raging. We are 30 to 60 miles away from these fires and 1/2 of the horizon was filled with smoke this morning.

The Marek (Sylmar) and Sesnon (Porter Ranch)fires are ruining peoples
lives. Of these two fires, one was suspected arson and the other
is still under investigation.

So far we do not have ash falling on us from these fires, but if the
winds shift enough we will.

Our Fire Story
We lived up a rural and
beautiful Los Angeles canyon. It was far from neighbors. The
night skies opened to a million stars. It was an idyllic
life. Then our landlord almost double our rent, LUCKILY.

If we were going to pay over $1600 a month for rent we would
move to where we WANTED to be instead of where we HAD to be due to
finances. We moved from a remote inland canyon to within 1
mile of the beach in Ventura California. Our move was in mid 1999.

That landlord did us a huge favor. If he kept the low $875 a month
rent , we would
have been there in 2002 when a Los Angeles County wildfire roared
through the canyon. Below are pictures of before and after.

The "Old Restaurant" was our business storage building. The
small house with the U-Haul truck in front of it was our small home.
The bigger house was our neighbors who we shared the 32 acre
property with.

Everything was destroyed in the fire except the tiny "garage".
The neighbors had used it for a goat and chicken barn. The
neighbors also had moved before the fire swept through destroying
almost everything in its path.

This is why I highly recommend check out the inventory system
I talked about yesterday. If we had been in the canyon you can
see what would have happened to everything we owned. A greedy
landlord and luck are all that kept this from being us.
Home Inventory System

Copper Fire
San Francisquito Canyon
Saugus, California
June 2002

For those who know this area, this is next door to the fire camp.
It is between the two DWP housing areas. Going up
the canyon it is beyond the Saint Francis Dam

Click on any picture to see it full size
Click your back button to return to this gallery
Scroll down for pictures -- Blogger is fighting me with formatting


Satellite View


Driveway in


The Old Restaurant




Inside Restaurant 1


Inside Restaurant 2


Pump House


Main House 1


Main House 2


Main House 3


Main House 4


Main House 5


Main House 6


Main House 7


Main House 8


Main House 9


Small House 17


Main Propane Tank




Main House Before

Pool 1

Pool 2

Pool 3

Pool 4


Small House Before


Restaurant Downstairs


Restaurant Upstairs


Christmas Main House

Monday, October 13, 2008

Porter Ranch and Los Angeles Fires

The Porter Ranch and Los Angeles area fires are a sign of the season.
Each fall in Southern California we look forward to another
fire season. We do not get a lot of rainfall here, so our
hills are dry and the brush is a tinderbox waiting for the right

About this time of year we get high winds called, "Santa Ana Winds"
This is our windy season and also the time of year we can
expect wildfires. The wind usually does not start
the fire but they can push a fire for miles.

The fires are started by various causes. Car crashes and
resulting fire cause some. The Santa Anna Winds down power
lines and sparks cause fires. Other causes are careless
camper's campfires, negligent workers on construction sites, welders
too close to brush, and of course ARSON.

The Marek fire, above Sylmar, is believed to be
caused by arson. As with many of our fires it has already
taken a life, actually two lives. A homeless man an his dog lost their
lives to this fire.

Over the years I have watched a number of Souther California Fires,
both on TV and live, looking at the hills close to where I have lived.
It is scary, even when you are not in the path of the fire.

Later I will post pictures of one of the remote canyon home
we once lived in. A wild fire raged through the canyon
destroying everything in its path. The cause? Careless

When you hear the word "EVACUATE!" there often is not time to grab much
more than the clothes on your back. Sometimes you have a hour
or longer to prepare and think about what to save. Too often,
in the haste of the moment, you miss some really important papers and
keepsakes that you may never see again.

If you live in the Los Angeles fire area or any area where a natural
disaster may cause you to evacuate your home, be prepared.
Some simple ideas are to keep all of your personal photos in
a large basket or suitcase. Keep all you your birth
certificates, deeds and other papers that are not in a safety deposit
box in another box or suitcase. If you have to leave on a
moments notice, you can grab two suitcases and take the most important
things with you without having to think about where things are.

Have you ever been through a fire, flood or other disaster and had to
make an insurance claim? It is hard to remember all of the
things you own and their value. We take our possessions for
granted until they are gone and need to be replaced.

Having lived with fires in our hills and mountains since 1965, I know
how important just a small amount of organization can be. This
Pre-Fire Preparation Idea
inspired me to write this blog and provide a link to one answer to
keeping an inventory of your possessions, so if you ever have a loss
you have an exact inventory of what was in your home, storage unit or
outbuildings. A personal property inventory can mean
thousands of dollars more if you ever need to made a claim with your
insurance company. Take a look Home Inventory