Monday, October 22, 2007

San Diego Fires



The scene today about six miles away from my home.

For those concerned about the San Diego fires, you will be pleased to know that I am safe. The area where I live, off of Freeway 15 in Rancho Penasquitos, is on the edge of a dangerous area that is very vulnerable to fires. However, my home is in no immediate danger.

Since the fire is so unpredictable I have to be prepared for the worst and I have good reason to. It is scary that I am on the very edge of the evacuation area. Only one block north and one block east everyone has been ordered to evacuate. So far around 500,000 people have been evacuated and we are lucky for now. Probably half of my neighbors have already fled. Those of us who stayed are looking out for each other.

The smell of smoke is very strong. There is quite a bit of ash on my balcony and near my windows which I had open yesterday. That was a big mistake! Amazingly the sun is making it through the haze which is a good sign, but when watching videos from areas where reporters were covering raging fires, they experienced the same condition.

I am now almost fully packed and ready to go at a moments notice. I will take my computer if evacuated so I wont lose any data.

The situation is very tense because the fire is raging out of control and cannot be stopped with these high Santa Ana winds. Due to these winds our aircraft have not been able to contribute to the firefighting efforts as much as they could, but unlike the 2003 fire, this time San Diego did not send the bulk of its assets up north only to find that the fire spread down here as well. About 1,000 firetrucks from northern California are on the way down to pitch in.

In 2003 the big object of concern was the flammability of shingle rooftops. This time everyone is pointing out how eucalyptus trees are quick to catch fire. I think that in the future you are going to find a lot less of these trees in Southern California just like shingle rooftops have went the way of the dodo bird... At least in neighborhoods vulnerable to fire.

Thank you for checking in to see if I’m OK.

Update: 10/23 6:54pm PDT

Things have dramatically improved for the city of San Diego. Residents just east of me in Scripps Ranch have been allowed back in their homes. You may recall that this neighborhood was hit really hard in the 2003 fires. The community lost the most homes in that disaster, a total of 343. This time only a small portion of the city limits has been damaged. Unfortunately, the fire still rages in almost all directions; north, east and south.




I am proud to say that the reaction to this fire is dramatically better when compared to the 2003 debacle. None of the confusion that we had last time was in evidence. The Governor immediately came to San Diego and was not combative like the Davis Administration. Governor Davis and his staff took serious offense to our local Congressman, Duncan Hunter, who criticized his slow allocation of federal resources and his bureaucratic attitude. Basically Hunter had secured some C-130 firefighting aircraft from the military and all Davis had to do was ask for them, yet Davis refused.

The Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Dallas Jones, sarcastically remarked that Hunter was “all wet”... Now lets take a deep breath here. This is not a partisan attack on Davis. I voted against the recall election that targeted him. He should have completed the term of office that he was elected for, instead of falling victim to the power-grab of that special election. I will admit that his handling of the energy crisis and California’s budget problems was lackluster, but he is not the only person that deserves blame. Regardless, the reaction of his office to the disaster in 2003 was miserable.

Right off the bat it was incongruous of Jones to say that Hunter was “all wet”. That was the problem to begin with. He wasn’t all wet. The man lost his home and everything except an old station wagon in that fire. I saw Congressman Hunter in a press conference yesterday during the height of the emergency and he is hardly the political sideshow hack that Davis painted him out to be. Although the speaker gave Hunter a friendly introduction and the opportunity to use his time in front of the media to promote himself, Hunter was all business. He said what he needed to and allowed public officials to continue their dissemination of vital disaster information. Hunter didn’t take the opportunity to campaign or even pull at the public’s heartstrings, despite the fact that the speaker introduced him as a victim of last year’s fire. This is why Hunter will not win the presidency. He is a public servant that puts his job before his political ambitions.

Anyways, I’d like to thank the firefighters who are still battling the blaze in 90-degree temperatures against 1,000-degree flames. They have cleared fire control lines, set backburn fires to redirect the flames away from inhabited areas and made heroic stands to defend individual homes. Firefighters have come down from Sacramento and Camp Pendleton, despite the fact that the fire has reached the Marine base.

Our authorities have done a fantastic job protecting our lives and property. The backwards 911 system has worked almost flawlessly. When a neighborhood needs to be evacuated our emergency services call each home to give them the warning. This has doubtlessly saved many lives and only two are confirmed dead so far. Such procedures are especially important because this fire is much larger than the 2003 disaster, which killed 15 people in San Diego County. (Note: the NY Times has erroneously stated that the 2003 fire was bigger. They included the total acreage burned by all 15 fires during the 2003 Firestorm. These were separate fires throughout California.)

San Diego has pulled together. Volunteers and donations have been pouring into our biggest shelter, Qualcomm Stadium. So many donations were received that authorities declared that no further donations are needed unless requested. Although I have been thoroughly dissatisfied with Governor Schwarzenegger and wont be voting for him in the next election, I have to admit that he is much more effective than the hapless Governor Davis. Military C-130s have already arrived to fight the fires.

My thoughts go out to those who are still in danger as I write. Thanks to everyone who has pitched in!

52 comments:

nanc said...

fern - you stay safe - i don't know what i'd do if anything bad happened to you!

my old roommate is a fireman with one of the northern cali fire departments - if he's there, you will be in good hands.

please keep us in tune.

*:]

Freedomnow said...

Nanc,

You didnt have to send a rescue team. My girlfriend lives a couple of miles east of here (Poway) and she got evacuated. If anyone is gonna be the hero, its me!!!!!!!

As of now I am almost surrounded by evacuated communities. The north and east are all evacuated. Just one block away in both directions.

I will keep the blog updated. At the very least I will change the time that I last checked in.

nanc said...

don't go being a hero!

WomanHonorThyself said...

hey buddy..stay safe please please!..the Tango world needs ya in one piece!:)

Freedomnow said...

I'll take that as an order ladies. I guess my dreams of saving the damsel in distress will have to wait.

The Merry Widow said...

FERN! You be sensible about this, if you get the inner nudge to go, trust it and make like a tree and leaf!
Don't make Nanc and I come out there looking for you! It won't be pretty, we will run people over...
How vulnerable in the spring will you be? I'm thinking mudslides...
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

tmw

nanc said...

update please.

*:[

just in case you're looking for someone who may have been evacuated - a handy link!

Freedomnow said...

Sorry Nanc. I didnt go to sleep until 5am last night (or rather morning) so I slept till 2:30pm today. Before going to sleep I packed up my computer to get ready in case I was awoken by evacuation orders. It took me awhile after checking the latest reports, status of friends and unpacking before I could get my computer going again.

Everything looks good for my area and the city, but San Diego County is still burning.

Thanks

The Merry Widow said...

Thank the Good Lord you are okay! I was praying for you, and everyone else out there! Mr. B.'s brother and family are in San Diego(Navy), hopefully they are fine also!
I heard that Qualcomm Stadium is a bastion of civility, that will reduce some of the stress.
The firefighters are true heros, and not enough good can be said of them and the others(police, volunteers, etc.)!
Take care!

tmw

nanc said...

to check on someone you may not be able to get ahold of:

1-800-588-9822

Freedomnow said...

Hey TMW,

With you praying for me I dont have a thing to worry about! If Mr. B's family is in the city limits they should be fine. Everywhere except Rancho Bernardo has been OK.

Thanks for all the tips Nanc.

peedoffamerican said...

Freedom Now,

Are you still safe? From the reports in the drive by media, they try to make it seem as if the whole state is on fire. I have also been praying for you also.

Freedomnow said...

Awwww geez....

The fire got within six miles of here and that was about it. Its been beat back to the east. I have no idea where it is now.

Everything is back to normal. Traffic is back and the air quality doesnt have any noticeable traces of smoke (but I'm sure its there).

There's always gonna be a bunch of opportunists that want to take advantage of disasters in order to make a name for themselves.

Out of all San Diegans the vast majority are satisfied with our response. I've heard wackos say that our air assets should have been in the fight right away, but the very same winds that were spreading the fire were also grounding our aircraft. If we did commit our aircraft and one of them crashed those wackos would be complaining that it was too dangerous.

The media and politicians thrive on negativity. They are bloodsuckers.

The Merry Widow said...

Fern-I believe that your assessment of the lamestreammedia is spot on!
We are delighted that you are okay! How about your girl friend? Has she been able to get back? Does she still have a place?
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

tmw

nanc said...

did you see arnie rip the abc correspondent, claire shipman, a new hiney over her conspeories?

Debbie said...

Arnold was great. Such a difference in how things are being handled in California and New Orleans. People taking "personal responsibility" and not waiting for someone to come rescue them. I do realize it is a different situation.

Having said that, unless you have lost everything you own in a fire, you cannot truly understand how these people feel.

When I was 12 years old our house burned to the ground. Things to take for granted are all gone, you must replace everything except the clothes on your back.

To this day I fear fire. I won't start the furnace for the first time when cold weather arrives, unless my husband is here to make sure it doesn't catch fire. I double check things when I leave the house, to make sure they are turned off.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

Freedomnow said...

Time was despondent that Arnold was doing a great job. They blamed the weather for it...

“Someone dials down the wind and cranks up the humidity just in time to hand Arnold another triumph.”

They went on to claim that we were unprepared because we didnt buy more heavy equipment and then had to admit otherwise...

“But if it’s true that the Governor was lucky, it’s also true that luck favors the well-prepared. Schwarzenegger was able to move those National Guard troops quickly because he had a plan in place to redeploy them in an emergency. The obvious competence of the emergency response — in stark contrast to the debacle of Hurricane Katrina — was the product of years of training, planning and drills.”

Just the fact of a leader being Republican, regardless if he or she is a liberal Republican like Arnold, is a guarantee that a large segment of the media will be prejudiced against that person. If you remember Arnold wasn’t originally sure which party he was going to join. He could have joined the Democratic Party and fit right in, but instead he did the unforgivable.

I almost feel sorry for Time.

Freedomnow said...

Debbie you are right about those who have lost their homes. They are not happy. I hope everyone was insured and that they can count their blessings that their lives were spared. My sympathies especially go out to those that lost a loved one.

TMW, my girlfriend and her kids went to her brother’s house in a safe area. She snuck back to Poway after driving around some roadblocks to check on her home. Everything was fine. Only northern Poway got hit and she lives in the “downtown” section. (I am being generous when I say downtown!!!!!!)

Nanc, I saw the transcript of that conversation between Arnold and Claire (the senior ABC national correspondent!).

She quoted one of the people that I was talking about in my last post when I decried those who said that we werent using enough air assets even though many of our aircraft were grounded because of the dangerous wind conditions (that started the fire in the first place).

You can just hear the biased anti-Republican propaganda seeping through her interview. She uses the same tactics that the media uses against President Bush. She insinuates that Arnold is detached from reality, arrogant, repetitive, incompetent, vulnerable, lying and predictable.

Sound familiar? The exact opposite is true. There is very little objectivity in the news these days. As the truth about Iraq slowly and begrudgingly becomes known, I hope that there is a shakeup in how many members of the media consider their bias.

In the past I have given them the benefit of the doubt to say that the media is just trying to sensationalize their stories in order to further their careers, but it is becoming undeniable that there is a real bias out there. The “General Betray Us” debacle has made that obvious.

nanc said...

the msm is becoming all but extinct - read an article today at another blog that BLOGGERS are the future of news - WHO KNEW?!?

i loved it when ahnold grabbed her hand in a loving gesture and so condescendingly replied to her - i bet maria was proud of him.

girlfriend with kidz - THAT'S GREAT FERN! you have my blessings - i hope they like you alot! ...you know if you need any references...i'm here for you...

Freedomnow said...

Nanc,

You are such a do-gooder!

I think the old media is far from extinct, but bloggers are a hell of a check on them.

Also keep in mind that rich liberals like Soros pay hardcore leftwingers to be bloggers. We are fighting the Establishment in the new media as well!!!!!!!!!

Farmer John said...

...he also pays them to write books. When idiots like Naomi Wolf start trashing the "coming closed society", you know the "Open Society Institute" is behind it.

The Merry Widow said...

Fern-WONDERFUL NEWS! I'm glad you and your girlfriend and her children are okay!
The lsm is a white elephant, and the situation is of their own making! I do not feel sorry for them at all!
I think that southern Californians have done themselves proud, your govenor has risen to the challenge and the leftistas are embarrassed!

tmw

nanc said...

...and we're doing it for free...

Farmer John said...

Sauron's Orcs.

We must be Hobbits.

Freedomnow said...

Ha haa haaaaaa!!!!!!!!

Thanks gang!

Brad Marston said...

I have been asked by the McCain campaign to work on a project for the McCain blog and could use your help/support. As we are still developing it, I would rather not post specifics anywhere yet. If you are interested in finding out more, please drop me a note at bmars90 (at) Comcast (dot) net. The help I need is easy and oh yeah, it might drive traffic to your blog.

Frasypoo said...

Glad you are okay,its a scary scenario.

Yehudi01 said...

Glad to hear you're alright. My wife and I have been praying for everyone down there. I pray you're able to get life back to "normal" soon, whatever that means for you and your family.
L'Shalom, Yehudi

nanc said...

i'll tell you what it means, yehudi!

wait...no, i won't...

i cannot find autonomist, fern - what'd you do with it?

nanc said...

did r.m. come back?

Freedomnow said...

Haaaa! The Autonomist is back up. Who knows what happened?

Thanks for your warm wishes Frasypoo and Yehudi

The danger past rather quickly for me, but it was very close for a couple of days. A lot of my neighbors evacuated and I thought I would have to as well. My complex is surrounded by brush and we complain all the time about it. Luckily the winds didnt blow the fire our way.

All the best to everyone!

nanc said...

fern?

are things hot in poway still?

do i need to send the f.d. out there to check on you?

SEND UP A FLARE!

Freedomnow said...

Oh youre funny!

The only thing thats still hot in Poway is my gurl.

Cheers

Elmer's Brother said...

I remember the fires in 2003...we lived near Bonita at the time and even there we got lots of smoke and ash.

Glad you're ok.

Farmer John said...

Have a great holiday, FN! Happy Thanksgiving!

nanc said...

have a great thanksgiving, fern!

i'm so happy your gurl'z'still hot! that means she'z just a tad bit cooler than you...

Freedomnow said...

Well the only reason that I am sooooo hot is because I'm always in trouble.

Cheers to you all and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!

John J. Kaiser said...

It's good to hear that things are getting better.

nanc said...

tick-tock.

okay, now, if i figger it right the honeymoon may wear off in about...

well, i don't rightly know after 18 years, but i'll let you know when it does so you can come up for air.

'kay?

*:]

Freedomnow said...

You're married? Oh geezzzzz....

Why didnt you tell me?

Oh my God!!!!!!!!!

(hhheee heeeee heeeeeeee!!!!!!!!)

Whats up Nancster?

nanc said...

nada.

i'm assuming things are still hot in my hometown?

odervise, you'd be coming up for air, no?

soooooooo, when are you going to give me grandchildren?

*;]

Freedomnow said...

Things are always hot in my world. I make lots of heat, but not many grandchildren.

Besides I am my own grandpa!

nanc said...

wellllllll, can you guess what day this is?

IT'S OUR FIRST YEAR BLOGOVERSARY AT CURTAINS!

and you didn't even send me a card...heavy sigh...*:[

Freedomnow said...

Ahhhh... my little gurl is one year old now.

How enchanting!

Happy Blogoversary!!!!!!!!

nanc said...

fern - some very disturbing news at autonomist. please check at your first opportunity.

Freedomnow said...

This is horrible news.

Orangeducks will be missed.

RIP

Farmer John said...

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo,

how 'bout a new post?!

Freedomnow said...

You know FJ you come up with some good ideas.

I kinda skipped November, but its a hell of a holiday season so I will have to figure something out.

Thanks

Farmer John said...

A Happy Holiday's post? An FN Christmas letter? Okay, a classic FN expose...

nanc said...

>^00^< ffffffffffffft!

Farmer John said...

Something the cat dragged in?

<+3)~

Freedomnow said...

Nanc the Magic Dragon!

>^00^< ffffffffffffft!