ClinicallyClueless aka cc reporting from wildfire country of Southern California actually in between and mostly south. Regarding the current fires, information is very fluid, so in trying to write this post it was tricky. The following video was from Monday morning, August 31, 2009:
Out of date YouTube
It is now Monday evening on August 31, 2009. And, have things changed. As the deleted video mentioned, last night it doubled to 85,000. This afternoon I took a nap and ate dinner about 7:00pm and decided to finish this post. Well, the Station fire has now consumed at least 105,000 acres. There are several different fires, but the Station fire is the largest and only has 5% containment and is impacting many cities. The fire line now extends about 134 square miles.
The fire is impacting four Southern California counties and smoke covers almost all of Los Angeles County. I’m at the southeastern end of Los Angeles County and when I go outside, I start coughing and my eyes sting. Even, if you don’t smell the smoke, the air quality is impacting all of the surrounding areas and the wind spreads it.
Today, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued emergency declarations for four counties due to raging wildfires. This allows the State of California and it’s residents to request Federal assistance if needed. 6,000 homes are now in mandatory evacuation areas and the numbers are expected to rise.
Mt. Wilson, the key of Los Angeles’s communication towers and hub, is within a half-mile of the blaze. Damage to the towers can disrupt television and radio broadcasts, cellular telephone service, and communication between law enforcement and other agencies.
The loss of the towers on Mt. Wilson would cripple fire, police and other public works agencies across Southern California. The towers and antennas are used to communicate in the field and relay signals to the dispatch centers.
“These are extremely-crucial to the infrastructure and public safety protection, and the daily lives in the L.A. basin,” said Mike Dietrich of the U.S. Forest Service.
DC-10 dropping red fire retardant to slow the flames
No one seems to be stating a cause, so I believe that it was of natural causes as our forests if left alone do natually burn as a normal part of the ecosystem. The area of the flames has been in a drought for more than 3 years and it has about 60 years of dry unburned brush.
The people toll is something that is just a figure and doesn’t begin to account for the emotional toll on everyone even those not directly involved. However, two firefighters were killed and one injured while trying to assist a couple who did not leave during mandatory evacuations. (They are called “mandatory”, but they can’t force you to leave. Basically, it is a term for “your home is in emminent danger, so leave!”) The blaze has burned 53 home with 1000s more in danger and with containment at 5%.
Two residents were rescued and were badly burned as they tried to ride out the fire, but were unsuccessful. Today, another 5 residents also did not heed the warnings either and it became too dangerous for ground or air crews to rescue them. After attempts were made, they were basically told to ride it out. (At this point, it is unknown to this writer what has happened to them.)
I pray for all those involved, that the usual Santa Ana winds don’t begin to feed the flames and for comfort for anyone that needs it. Especially, the firefighters and their families and most importantly those that were lost…I keep becoming tearful…they put themselves at risk everyday. Please, if you ever are in a situation like this and you are told that you need to leave please do so immediately. Otherwise you put the rescue workers at risk, take them away from helping with the fire or someone else who may be in danger.
I know that I’ve asked this question before and we have had similar things like this, but what ten items not including family would you take?