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November 26, 2007

Perspective; Malibu Fires vs True Tragedy

Governor Schwarzenegger toured the Corral Canyon neighborhood of Malibu getting a first hand look at a few of the 53 homes burned during the Corral Fire Saturday. Arnold brushed off the standard fire tragedy response speech and delivered it to the L.A. news media.

Governor Schwarzenegger has given the same response at least four times this year. He's given the same "impromptu" speech at Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Big Bear and one other time in Malibu already this year.
He's a good guy, doing what is expected from his office. This time however when I heard him say, "We will help these people get their feet back on the ground" as he ordered a state of emergency, I almost choked.

Don't get me wrong, I feel for the victims of Saturday's blaze. News accounts showed us once again how resilient California residents affected by wildfire are. We've seen it all year how time after time burned out homeowners buck up, strap on their boots and pull it together. Not one time have I heard someone say the government needs to help us.

The Governor needs to change his speech for fire victims of upscale neighborhoods.

He needs to change his venue for such speeches as well. He could begin by traveling 20 miles from Malibu into the South Central part of Los Angeles and apply the same quote from above to the victims of real tragedy that takes place there daily.

The L.A. Times Homicide Report Blog, (yes they have one) reports intensely sad stories daily of human tragedy like this one.

" Jose Luis Estrada, 40, a Latino man, was killed at 4202 Downing Ave. in Baldwin Park on Wednesday, Nov. 14, when he ran after the suspects who had just killed his 14-year-old son Pedro.

Police said two Latino men or youths came up to Pedro at about 8:30 p.m. at the family home in the 4100 block and shot him, then ran. Jose Luis Estrada ran outside when he heard the shots. He found Pedro dying on the ground, saw the fleeing suspects and ran after them for about a block. They turned and attacked him as well, shooting the grief-stricken father, and then making their escape. Father and son died within an hour of each other."

Los Angeles first responders race to render assistance at these tragedies 24/7, 365 days a year. They could use a slap on the back by Arnold like the ones he gave to the responders to the Corral Fire just up the road.

It may be impractical to visit each family victimized by murderous thugs prowling the streets of Los Angeles and I really don't know what his words would accomplish. At least it would serve to balance out the absurdity of the text of his fire victim's speech.

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November 25, 2007

Malibu's Corral Fire Satellite Image


Modis Rapidfire

The Los Angeles Times wrote a great article about a Malibu resident who took matters into his own hands as the Corral Fire swept through his neighborhood.

"...When the burning cinders flew over the street and set a steep canyon south of Sequit ablaze and flames shot back up the hill, Haines sprayed down houses on the south side of the street, including one he is building that is sided in tar paper. His 750-gallon 1976 Ford fire engine performed flawlessly, he said, as did its companion truck, a 3,000-gallon tanker.

The white firetruck still has "Fire Dept." painted on its doors, although the name "Merced" has been scraped off.

"I hate to tell you what I paid for them. . . . The fire engine cost $2,500. The tanker $3,500," Haines said.

"And you know something? We saved millions of dollars' worth of property today with those..."

Want to bet there will be a run on surplus brush engines next year?

Why not?


November 24, 2007

Corral Fire, Malibu Neighborhoods In Flames

A Santa Ana Wind driven fire started at 3:30 am Saturday morning has consumed dozens of homes in the Corral Canyon area of Malibu. Winds should abate by this afternoon but until then fire crews are helpless against the 70 MPH winds.
The State had deployed hundreds of firefighters in Southern California in anticipation of the strong winds.
With these winds they are spectators for the most part. There is only so much that can be done against such winds.

View Larger Map

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November 21, 2007

Ojo Peak Fire, New Mexico Burns In November?

The never ending fire season continues. This one is as odd as the New Jersey fire that burned last spring.
Read about the Ojo Peak Fire here.

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November 18, 2007

Drought and Fire, Atlanta In Spotlight

Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch.com pens a sobering piece on the worldwide drought situation and asks questions no one else cares to.

What happens when Atlanta runs out of water? Tom points to towns in North Carolina and Tennessee that already have. The larger point he makes is what happens if the taps run dry and 5 million people have to exit town?

Firefighters, along with police and emergency medical personnel, would stay.
It's hard to say who would have a tougher job of the three. Law enforcement will have their weapons, hospitals will have bandages but what happens when when hydrants run dry?

Tom discusses mega-fires and drought, a subject that interests me. Earlier this year we saw fires in New Jersey, and the huge conflagrations in rural Florida and Georgia. The dry conditions in Southern Europe and North Africa offered up low fuel moisture inviting disaster.

While the Greek fires burned we could see from the satellite view coastal Algeria was suffering from record wildfires. Macedonia and Albania were on fire as well. We did not hear about those fires.
The Canary Islands suffered record fires just a month before the Greek fires. Oddly at the same time fires were burning around Perth Australia in what was their winter!

I'm no climatologist and am reluctant to sign on the the global warming hype. Frankly if it were anyone but Bono and Al Gore sounding the trumpet I might be more inclined to buy into it.

There is no denying that worldwide we are seeing larger fires, larger storms. I've been chalking it up to better reporting and more efficient satellite imagery.

Engelhardt sees it anther way, not enough reporting. No one is connecting the dots. Connecting dots does nothing for Atlanta Georgia at this point anyway.

Georgia Drought Photos

What happens if the drought in the South goes into the spring and the faucets go dry? Atlanta has some big decisions to make. At what point do they cap off hydrants, denying city water for fire suppression?
Is this even a consideration? Has a major metropolitan area in the modern era ever faced this scenario?

Twenty times the size of the Katrina evacuation, ten times the size of the recent San Diego and L.A. County fires evacuations. Would it look more like the chaos in New Orleans or the civil evacuations witnessed in California?
The Governor of Georgia held an open prayer session last week asking God for some help. It did rain a day or two after the public event but it wasn't enough to make a dent.

I'll be saying a prayer for the public service personnel who will man their posts come what may.

Finally a quote from Engelhardt's post and a return to the bigger picture;

"In the meantime, there may be no trail of tears out of Atlanta; there may even be rain in the city's near future for all any of us know; but it's clear enough that, globally and possibly nationally, tragedy awaits...."


November 16, 2007

Short News Shots, Australia and China


From China we read a Yahoo! News report that fire officials are demanding sexual favors as bribes.
How does that work?

From Australia Bushfire Monitor we read about mega sized wildfires burning in the Outback.


November 14, 2007

Mark Cuban; Redact This!

On Firefighter Blog I occasionally drift into commentary. The tag line under the blog title says so. It doesn't say what kind of commentary. No wildfires are burning so the blog went on hiatus for a couple of weeks but I'm still here and I have a comment.

I'm no fan of Mark Cuban, readers might recall Cuban entered an email pissing contest with me awhile back after I posted an unfavorable comment on BlogMaverick.com, his "all about me" web diary.

My comment had to do with his intention of releasing his now failed documentary detailing how 9-11 was a U.S. Government conspiracy.

That "documentary" failed and now he is backing another anti-US, anti-military flick called Redacted. I caught Bill O'Reilly earlier tonight and he and Dennis Miller were discussing Cuban's new movie. Miller is great, to me he's a true American Hollywood hero for his pro America stance in the face of leftist Hollywood. He's a man of principle.

Miller hit it on the head when he compared Cuban to Jed Clampett. He joked the reception Cuban will receive from the Hollywood crowd will be akin to Mr. Drysdale throwing a party for Uncle Jedd. (He never took Jedd Clampett very seriously)

The main difference between Uncle Jedd and Mark Cuban is the fictional Jedd Clampett had his ego in check. He was homespun honest, a friend to all and centered. Jedd was a peaceful man but if he or his family or country was backed against a wall he was the first to grab his shotgun.
Another difference between Jedd and Mark is Jedd didn't need validation. Cuban craves validation from Hollywood.

It's a syndrome I have witnessed over and again being a native Californian. Hollywood is the goal for many, stardom, parties, worldwide identity, fortune, an elite club membership.
Cuban is no different from any 18 year old girl with glitter in her eyes. Sad really, it isn't enough he invented a web platform and convinced some knuckleheads at Yahoo! to pony up a couple billion more or less.
As many of the young women seeking Hollywood fame end up working the XXX industry in the San Fernando Valley, so goes Mark Cuban peddling his reputation. Same difference, except the porn queen doesn't stick a dagger in the heart of the United States Military.

Redacted is a horrid depiction of our Soldiers and Marines serving in Iraq. This collaboration between Cuban and the vile Brian Depalma serves no one but the Hollywood leftist set and those with "Bush Derangement Syndrome."

Cuban will be hailed as brave among this set, a "forward thinker," free speech hero, bravo they'll say all the while regarding him as a wannabe, as Miller suggests.

Update; Cuban has barred me from commenting on his blog maverick diary. He's getting it from all sides, even from loony Depalma due to editorial disagreements according to the published stories.