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Posts Tagged ‘Californa wildfires’

California Fire Season - A Promise Broken

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 29) — A growing wildfire sending massive billows of smoke into the sky north of Los Angeles nearly tripled in size Saturday, injuring three residents, burning a small number of homes, knocking out power to many more and prompting evacuations in a number of mountain

Mandatory evacuations were extended Saturday into neighborhoods in the canyons on the northwestern edge of Altadena, Glendale, La Crescenta and Big Tujunga Canyon, Forest Service spokesman Bruce Quintelier said. It was unclear how many residents were ordered to leave.

California is heading into the most destructive part of its fire season, when winds can whip flames into 90 mile per hour storms of fire - it’s clear that a promise was not kept.

Anyone who suggests fire protection can be as good this fall as in recent years most likely will turn out to be living a fantasy. That, of course, would include Schwarzenegger, for whom everything almost always is “fantastic” in more ways than one.

(Source-Tom Elias

The new state budget cuts $27 million from Cal Fire, the state agency that sends people and equipment wherever they’re needed most. The reduction includes more than $10 million earmarked for new fire engines, hoses, pumps and other equipment.

There’s also the matter of the DC-10 airborne tanker, another so-called budget cut likely to cost more than it saves.

For years, California has contracted for a standby DC-10 that can dump up to 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant each time valves open beneath its huge tank.

But a stroke of Schwarzenegger’s pen cancelled the $7 million contract that kept that jumbo jet plane on standby for California.

Now, the state will pay more than $66,000 every day it uses the plane, with a five-day minimum. Anything beyond 21 deployments would end up costing more than the budget cut - and if this year turns out like the last few, that’s how it will be….assuming the DC-10 is available.

But these reductions in state firefighting ability may pale beside what local fire departments will suffer because of the new budget’s raids on local funds.

In Los Angeles, for one, firefighting officials must cover a $39 million shortfall caused in large part by the state raid. So there will be “brownouts” at many city fire stations, with a total of 87 fewer firefighters on duty each day, almost one-tenth of the usual work force. One battalion command team, 15 fire companies and nine ambulances will be out of service each day, but no city fire stations will actually close.

In other areas, including parts of San Diego County ravaged by several large fires over the last five years, fire prevention efforts are being cut. High-risk Fallbrook is one such place, while several other local districts are ironically casting about for money to pay their contracts for standby assistance from Cal Fire. If they can’t pay, the state agency will either have to let the locals handle all problems or go to work without the payment it usually gets. Since Cal Fire insists nothing will diminish its performance, the agency will probably work some fires without reimbursement. Some budget solution.

The most significant thing here is that while officials say they will still “attack and respond,” they may not be able to be as effective as usual.

(Source-Tom Elias

So far, there heven’t been any mega-blazes anywhere in California until mid-August. But the driest part of the year is still ahead, the season when past wildfires have ravaged Malibu, Berkeley, Bel Air, Rancho Santa Fe, Laguna Beach, the Oakland hills and many other California areas.

California Coastal Commission burns more Californians out

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

If you’ve been following my blogs, you know I’ve continually addressed wildfires and public safety with the simple question:

“What are we going to do in 2009 that is different from 2008, and 2007?

The answer seems to be nothing, because the California Coastal Commission still prohibits brush management in the coastal zone in  large areas under their control, and as long as they do there… will be huge fires.

That’s the plan- that’s their goal.

My theory is that the California Coastal Commission wants Californians out of the California Coastal Zone - just ask the folks at Laswon’s Landing.

Any school kid knows: Action speak louder than words.

And if the California Coastal Commission can’t regulate California families out,  bankrupt them, or force them out,  as I say in the film… “they rock on their heels and wait” - knowing they’ve created a system of brush mis-management guaranteed to burn them out.

I’ve said so for years. I’ve said it in the documentary film SINS OF COMMISSION, and I’m saying it again now. Scott Franklin, a retired LA COUNTY fire officer is saying it - but no one can hear us, because there seems to be a concerted effort to block our message -  no film festival in the state of California will screen SINS OF COMMISSION.

The only one responsible for fire safety under the constitution of California is the state fire marshal, not these bozos.

-Richard Oshen, Director- SINS OF COMMISSION

How a land regulatory agency usurped that authority is beyond me… that’s a different discussion for other people called legislators - but its high time we take from them what was never supposed to be theirs.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Overnight helicopter water drops and calming wind helped crews Wednesday hold off a wildfire that forced the evacuation of 1,200 homes.

Some 2,000 homes were threatened by the 400-acre fire north of the city that portended an early start to California’s annual wildfire siege.

Less than six months ago, a wind-driven, 2,000-acre blaze destroyed more than 200 homes in Santa Barbara and neighboring Montecito.

(Source: Yahoo)

Why doesn’t California have an early warning monitoring system for thermal build-up like they do for Tsunamis or Earthquakes?

I’ll tell you why.

3 words: all begin with “c”

California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission won’t allow it.

By the way, this kind of system can be used in any fire hazard zone in US,  Australia - or anyplace else.

We have the tools and the technology.


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