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