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While San Diego Burns I Warily Watch

PHOTO BY NELVIN CEPEDA / SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE


I haven't had much time to blog about the fires in San Diego as I've been busy tracking down and keeping in touch with my family who have now all evacuated their homes. My dad said the Harris fire burring on Mt San Miguel last night looked like a volcano. Everyone in my family is OK, but I don't have any information on my Mom's home. She's staying with friends in La Jolla and my Dad and stepmother were headed to my stepsister's house in Mission Valley.

My lifelong friends who still live in the area are, to the best of my knowledge, still OK. Given the number of people I know in the area, I'm fairly certain that the odds are increasingly long that all have escaped property damage. In times like this though the only thing that matters is health and safety. In that I know that my extended Southern California family is fine and they'll make it through this crisis.

If time permits tomorrow I'll cover this more, but in the meantime the worst may be over. Of course given the fact that most of the fires are at most 10% contained (and several are 0%) the good news is only as solid as tomorrows weather forcast...


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Comments (17)

These fires are not natura... (Below threshold)
Tim Craven:

These fires are not natural events. Al Queda was caught in 2003 trying to set fires. Al Queda has said America will burn.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-07-11-alqaeda-fire_x.htm

Posted 7/11/2003 4:49 PM
FBI: al-Qaeda detainee spoke of fire plot
PHOENIX (AP) -- The FBI alerted law enforcement agencies last month that an al-Qaeda terrorist now in detention had talked of masterminding a plot to set a series of devastating forest fires around the western United States.
Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, told The Associated Press that officials there took note of the warning but didn't see a need to act further on it.

The contents of the June 25 memo from the FBI's Denver office were reported Friday by The Arizona Republic. Davis declined to share a copy of the memo and an FBI spokeswoman in Denver didn't immediately return a telephone call.

The Republic reported that the detainee, who was not identified, said the plan involved three or four people setting wildfires using timed devices in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming that would detonate in forests and grasslands after the operatives had left the country.

The memo noted that investigators couldn't determine whether the detainee was telling the truth.

The newspaper said many forest law enforcement officers it contacted had no idea the warning had been issued.

My sister-in-law had to lea... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

My sister-in-law had to leave their house in Solana Beach. She is living minute by minute now. Simply terrible. ww

My thoughts and prayers are... (Below threshold)

My thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends, as with everyone who is living through this in California. I cannot imagine what they must be going through right now.

I was horrified this morning when I heard Fox announce that someone had been arrested while trying to set another fire.

I don't know if it was crazy people, al-Qaeda, brush uncut by environmentalists or an act of God, but I'm praying for all dealing with this, either directly or from far away.

This is truly horrible-lets... (Below threshold)
Pretzel_Logic:

This is truly horrible-lets hope and pray Mother Nature pitches in real soon!

I had the same level of anx... (Below threshold)

I had the same level of anxiety on 9/11/2001 when my brother and his wife both worked in Manhattan and we lost contact with them for several days. So, I understand your concern and I hope all is well with those you care about and love.

Why is the brush right up a... (Below threshold)
Cstmbuild:

Why is the brush right up against these houses? I know there are a lot of left wingers out there without brains, but good grief, BRUSH/THICKETS within spitting distance?

(INSERT required caveat of how terrible this is, pain caused property destroyed, etc)

Yes, I know about the winds, the dryness (all the more reason to have space). But these fires are bigger and badder because no one or thing (ie fires) have thinned the areas out.

Lets blame it right where i... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

Lets blame it right where it belong right there on liberals and the eco-wackos who have been holding up proper land management with their stupid lawsuits and wacky ideas lets put the eco-wackos on these fires

Hey Kevin,Glad to ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Hey Kevin,

Glad to hear that everyone you know it ok. The good thing is that, despite the massive number of evacuees, the number of injuries and deaths is incredibly low. People are getting out and to shelters, for the most part.

I was at Qualcomm for most of the day yesterday. The lot if just filled with people, kids, dogs, cars, tents, and piles of donations.

The air is terrible. All over the county. The good news is that the Santa Ana winds are supposed to subside by this afternoon. That's really what has been keeping this thing going. And the fact that we had fires all over the county and the firefighters were stretched so thin.

Well, I'm going back out to the stadium again. It's hard to see so many people who are worried about their homes, and who are having to sleep in a parking lot. But the good thing is that so many others have showed up to donate and volunteer. It's pretty amazing.

The news must be even more ... (Below threshold)

The news must be even more intense for you. I don't know anyone personally that is impacted by the fires, but my heart breaks at the loss of life, homes, and property.

Prayers for all

Tim Craven:OK, if ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Tim Craven:

OK, if you think there's Al Qaeda plot here, you officially have your head up your ass. You might want to go to a doctor about removing it.

As a former Californian (thank God), from NoCal to SoCal, the state burns every fall. But it has squawdoosh to do with AQ. So can it.


ryan a:
Hope you and your family are OK!

Semi-lighthearted thought:
I wonder if the media thinks they're doing a "good job" during this disaster.

Kevin, I've got fa... (Below threshold)

Kevin,

I've got family in Santee----(right in the middle of this inferno) and so far the've been missed by still packed and ready to make a run for it. I've got a post up HERE that show's we still have some of our idiot "leadership" (Reid and Boxer) that have no clue.

Linked and excerpted

Peter F's rejoinder to Time... (Below threshold)
marc:

Peter F's rejoinder to Time Craven:

OK, if you think there's Al Qaeda plot here, you officially have your head up your ass. You might want to go to a doctor about removing it.
Give the guy a break, he's only following the script written by the nutcakes over at C BS who are blaming global warming and quotes Barbra Boxer whimpering about how the Iraq war has hampered the fire fighting effort.

marc:If you hadn't... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

marc:

If you hadn't linked that, I would've thought you were pulling my leg.

Good God, how does Boxer stay in offi.....oh wait, nevermind. She's from S.F.

Peter F:"If yo... (Below threshold)
marc:

Peter F:

"If you hadn't linked that, I would've thought you were pulling my leg."

Is it shaved?

spurwing wrote:... (Below threshold)

spurwing wrote:

Lets blame it right where it belong right there on liberals and the eco-wackos who have been holding up proper land management with their stupid lawsuits and wacky ideas lets put the eco-wackos on these fires

There really is no need to politicize this whole thing at all...try leaving the polemics at the door if you can. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by this, and personally I don't give a damn whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Independents, Libertarians, or whatever. They're all just people, and many of them just need some help.

Your statement illustrates the fact that you don't know the first thing about San Diego County, which is in fact very Republican. But the last thing on people's minds around here is this kind of nonsense...people are just doing what they can to help each other out, regardless of political affiliation. It's really encouraging actually to see how well people are working together.

Peter F:Hope yo... (Below threshold)

Peter F:

Hope you and your family are OK!

Thanks Peter. Since I live on the coast in North San Diego, all is well for me and my family. But since I grew up in the area, I know a lot of people who have been displaced...there are some friends who I have not heard from, so I hope everything is ok out where they are. Sometimes it just takes time to get in touch with everyone. Cell towers are still a little overloaded right now...

I haven't even been back up to North County in a few days, since I've been staying down in the city of San Diego at a friend's house. Better to stay off the freeways and all that right now, although I hear they are much better today.

The air quality is still atrocious, and it's still hot. I just got home from the stadium, where there are still tons of people. But the place is amazing. I was working in the kids area, where there were SO MANY people there helping out, playing with kids, drawing, etc. It's a cool little village they have set up there now, and I think the whole effort at Qualcomm has been amazing. Lots of kids were really happy to have something fun to do all day. Much better than sitting out in the blazing hot parking lot. Plus, the National Guard, police, city officials, and civilian volunteers are really doing a good job there. There is just a great deal of cooperation.

Tomorrow I'm heading back up north for work, so I'll see what things are looking like up that way I guess.

I have to laugh at the blam... (Below threshold)

I have to laugh at the blame pointers and those that are going to try to pin the fires on Bush. Its not like anyone who lives in So Cal is really surprised that we had a huge fire this year. We get the same fire warnings every year and once ever 4-6 years a fire will start during the time that the Santa Ana winds blow and we get a firestorm.

Its part of the ecology around here. There is a plant that grows in the canyons that actually thrives because of the flames clearing the ground so it can spread. It even produces an oil that is extremely flammable in order to increase the intensity and frequency of fires. The roots of this plant will survive the fires, and new growth quickly sprouts. Invader plants get torched and don't return. Just nature finding a way.

As for the houses lost to fire. Hate to say this, but anyone who lives next to the undeveloped canyons that provided a highway for the flames has been warned after every major fire that they had to clear an area at least 50 feet from their homes in order to protect their house. Many didn't do that, and lost their houses. Areas where people properly cleared brush (in violation of the edits of the environmentalists who have been known to sue to prevent it) survive the firestorm with minor or no damage.

That's how it is. We hope any loved ones are out of harms way, and that no one was stupid enough to stay in a home after the evacuation order came, (sadly 2 bodies were found this morning in the remains of a house that was destroyed by the fire.) and we go on. If you aren't prepared for the possibility. you either live in an apartment, or move into the center of an urban center as the flames rarely get more than 2-3 streets into a community before the tile roofs and fire resistant stucco and siding cause the flames to run out of fuel. The fires spread in the overgrown and dry canyons, not through neighborhoods.

And yes, I do live in East San Diego County, and so I've had to live and work in a smoke filled wonderland for the last few days, but my apartment is several miles back from the nearest wild area so it was never in danger.




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