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April 28, 2008

Santa Anita Fire Map

 
Many are hitting search engines looking for information on the Santa Anita Fire referring to it as the "Sierra Madre Fire".

There is an understandable thirst for maps, both area and perimeter. Inciweb is hosting the incident command maps. The most recent fire perimeter map for the Santa Anita Fire is posted here;

Fire progression, evening 4/28



Fire progression early morning 4/28



The Sit.209 report updated this evening still projects the fire to peak at 650 acres. They hit it dead on upon their initial analysis.




More from the Incident Command




Significant events today (closures, evacuations, significant progress made, etc.):
South East portion of Sierra Madre was repopulated. Monestory area of Sierra Madre evacuated.



Today's observed fire behavior: Active upslope runs, lateral and backing spread.



Remarks:Unified Command with USFS (Fiorella), Sierra Madre Fire (Heydorf), Sierra Madre Police (Diaz) and LA County Sheriff (Rodriguez). Acreage breakdown: USFS=234 acres and Sierra Madre=304 acres.



Containment date box was left empty.





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April 27, 2008

Santa Anita Fire Map, Incident Update

 
I'm getting tons of hits for "Sierra Madre Fire Map" and "Santa Anita Fire Map". Not much help from the web for maps yet. I expect the incident command team to update the fire perimeter by this evening. The image below is from GeoMAC Fire Mapping and offers a vague overview of the fire perimeter.

The incident 209 report filed at 0600 hours today projects the final size of the fire at 650 acres. Expected containment is April 29.



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SoCal Wildfire: Sierra Madre Homes Evacuated

 
Hundreds of homeowners in the community of Sierra Madre have been ordered out as a 300+ acre wildfire made an early morning break for their community. Information from AP (via Google News) reports;

"More than 200 firefighters were aided by a dozen engines, three water tankers and three helicopters as they took on the blaze, Weaver said. She said more air support was expected later Sunday morning.

"They plan on hitting this thing at full force as soon as dawn hits," Weaver said.

Flames outlined steep ridges about a mile above Sierra Madre, a community of about 11,000 at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains that is popular with artists."

Opinion: While the weather is expected to approach the century mark later today winds will be light. Absent a significant wind event the combined resources available to the command team should prevent widespread property loss.

Follow the Santa Anita Fire near Chantry Flats at;

Local Area Blog Best Images.

Mt Wilson Webcam View

Wildlandfire.com

Calfire News Blog

ABC7 News LA video reports.

Yelp Local Opinion.

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April 24, 2008

Food Hoarding Intensifies Worldwide

 
The other day I pointed to the subject of food hoarding. Since then I'm reading and hearing much more about the issue. Think about it, if food becomes scarce or even a perception of scarcity catches hold the resultant panic could cause rioting that would place first responders between rioter and burning buildings.

It's at a tipping point in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Philippine farmers caught hoarding could face life in prison, while Malaysian stores have been stripped of palm oil.

The subject in Asia is the availability of rice and according to Reuters Thailand, producer of 1/3 of the world supply of rice says they have enough rice to meet export demand, for now. Indonesia has curbed exporting rice to meet demands of the own and to stave off "social unrest".
Today Brazil halted rice exports.

According to Reuters;

"The surging price of fuel and food, which some analysts attribute to panic buying by both consumers and governments rather than a dire shortage of supply, has so far sparked riots in Africa and Haiti, (
where 24 have died due to the unrest so far), but not Asia"


In the U.S. Costco, Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart's Sam's Club are limiting purchases of flour rice and cooking oil. This New York Sun article spells it out well;

"At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. “You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

“You can’t eat this every day. It’s too heavy,” a health care executive from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the Basmati into a shopping cart. “We only need one bag but I’m getting two in case a neighbor or a friend needs it,” the elder man said.

The Patels seemed headed for disappointment, as most Costco members were being allowed to buy only one bag. Moments earlier, a clerk dropped two sacks back on the stack after taking them from another customer who tried to exceed the one-bag cap.

“Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history,” a sign above the dwindling supply ....."

Considering most U.S. cities only have a three day supply of food, due to supply/inventory efficiencies, (don't you love those MBA's) any interruption of the distribution chain could trigger an outright panic.

With diesel fuel hovering at a $4.20 per gallon average it's only a matter of time until we hear from the truckers.

It's a bad combination of tight supply and high prices. It could pay to be a step ahead.

The Wall Street Journal says "Load Up The Pantry"



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April 23, 2008

Hundreds of Fires in Russia & Argentina

 
FNN, via Daily News Bulletin:

"More than 500 wildfires have erupted in three Russian regions over the last 24 hours, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. 578 wildfires have erupted in three Russian regions (Far East, Siberia and Volga Urals) over the last 24 hours. A total of 819 wildfires have been registered, 579 of them were extinguished, 240 wildfires continue covering a total area of 18,142.2 hectares, (45,000 acres) the Russian Emergencies Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday."


Images from Earth Observatory/NASA

Gristmill tells us the smoke choking Buenos Aires Argentina are deliberately set blazes by farmers clearing land for soybean planting. The sets blew up.

Here is a broader satellite view of the Argentina wildfires from Modis/NASA.

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April 22, 2008

Firefighter Blog Around The Web

 
The most fun from blogging is checking the visitor logs and seeing where readers come from. Quite a few visitors have surfed in from a Google search for "World's Tallest Tree". Firefighter Blog is the #1 web result behind Google's own Youtube and image results.

I saved the screen and posted it here as proof because I expect big "G" to adjust the results and kick me down to remote pages where the post belongs.



My post yesterday about food hoarding was picked up by New York Sun as a blogger perspective for the search term "India". They have a food hoarding problem in India and their algorithm ripped through my text and thought it had something to add.
It didn't.
Part of the fun of blogging is being a part of the emerging web. We are in the primitive stages of web development, search and information delivery. My kids may look back someday at this archive (maybe on a bet) and it will be like looking back in those old timer stereo vision viewers that were hot in the late 1800's.

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April 21, 2008

$99. Brush Abatement Inspection Fee Imposed

 
The City of Ventura has imposed a mandatory inspection fee of $99.00 on 1,252 homeowners who live in fire prone neighborhoods according to the Ventura County Star.

"The fee is necessary to pay for hundreds of hours of annual inspections that the department no longer can afford, Fire Marshal Brian Clark said.

"We need to recover our costs," he said. "We need a sustainable funding source for this program. That's the bottom line....

...Not a single home has been lost to a wildfire in recent years, something he credited to residents and successful fire deployment efforts.

Ventura Mayor Christy Weir said the fee is part of a city effort to recoup money for direct services when feasible. The city faces a $4 million deficit in the budget that begins July 1.

As for the homeowners who don't see anyone doing the inspections, "they don't see the whole bulk of the work that goes behind the scenes," Clark said, adding that the fee will help pay for administrative costs, including property records collection and mailings.""

Citizens are squawking in the comment section under the article but their complaints are not finding an audience here. Off the top of my head I'll guess the average hillside dweller in Ventura is living in a million dollar home. A hundred bucks won't break anyone's bank.

It's not like the the city and county are immune to the realities of fire.

It's not stretch to thinks this,

Could become this!

Image credits AboutVentura.com and FreqOfNature.com.



Food Hoarding Coming To a Neighborhood Near You?

 
I heard the reference to "Food Hoarding" three times while surfing through the cable news channels this morning. The topic is a major concern in India where distribution of foodstores to rural provinces is not always on a predictable time table.

Here we have no problem with distribution, yet. I confess our pantry is pretty well stocked and I intend to add to the canned goods supply. Why?

My concern is truckers are about fed up with the price of diesel and there is about to be a revolt. Our local grocery stores are nothing without daily deliveries and it's trucks that deliver the goods.

Have you ever seen your local supermarket sporting an empty bread section. I have once on a Sunday night and frankly it stopped me cold. Not because I missed my bread but it showed me how fragile the distribution chain is.

When I was a teenager I recall the oil embargo and waiting over an hour to fill my Mustang. It left an impression that at any time those holding us hostage to commodities hold the key to our comfort.

So what happens when the truckers say enough? You be the judge how your neighborhood will react if the store shelves start looking like those in a typical middle class Russian city.

Should first responders fill the pantry? It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to load up on canned and bulk goods at the station.

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April 20, 2008

"What Can Burn Will Burn" Fire Season Prep

 
The other day I wrote about an early season vegetation fire in Big Sur and how that keyed to me what this season will offer.

I'm not the only one sensing this will be an active summer.

Check out this article (sent to FFBlog by reader Poncho!) found on SanLuisObispo.com via Los Angeles Daily News.

"Last year, fueled by the driest year on record in Los Angeles that left the region tinder-dry, massive wildfires throughout Southern California destroyed hundreds of homes and scorched more than 500,000 acres.

“It’s the worst fire season ever, this one coming up,” said Los Angeles Fire Department Assistant Chief Greg West.

Then again, he added, “They are all bad.”

Last year’s wildfires, which struck hard in Malibu, Canyon Country, San Diego and Santa Barbara, came after only 3.2 inches of rain fell in downtown L.A. from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007. A normal year sees about 15 inches.

This year’s fire season is arriving after a wetter winter; downtown has already seen roughly 13 inches of rain since July 1.

But some experts say that has simply led to a growth in vegetation — literally more fuel for the fires. And they note that it hasn’t rained recently — and it’s going to be a hot summer.

There’s a 40 percent chance of above-normal temperatures from May through September, said Rich Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service."

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April 17, 2008

Big Sur Burns Early, Portends Big Fire Season Ahead

 
I caught this news blurb on a 10 acre blaze two miles south of the Esalen Institute on the California coast in Big Sur.

Big Sur normally doesn't see any fire activity until mid summer.

The season didn't start well with the loss of three firefighters in Colorado this week. I know the crew chiefs and fire captains are sensing a busy season and will keep a close eye on the youngsters in the crew cabs.

Stay safe everyone.

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April 16, 2008

Tanker Pilot Dies In Colorado Wildfire

 
MyFoxColorado "A single-engine air tanker crashed, killing the pilot, who was battling a blaze at Fort Carson that had scorched 9,000 acres -- about 14 square miles -- and forced the evacuation of people living near the base. Firefighters were unable to get any part of that blaze contained by late last night, base spokesman Capt. Gregory Dorman said. Two shelters were set up at the post and another at a nearby community college to house the evacuees. The name of the pilot has not been released."

WildlandFire.com forums offers initial discussion on the sad news of the LODD (line of duty death) of a SEAT (Single Engine Air Tanker) pilot.

More coverage of the Colorado wildfires from Google News
and Live Search News.

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April 14, 2008

Firefighters As Politicians in Sprint TV Commercial

 
How many of you have seen this TV commercial depicting firefighters as politicians?

The ad for Sprint-Nextel cleverly depicts improved government functionality if firefighters ran the show.
When I first saw this TV commercial I was floored by the insight of the creative team. They nailed it.

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April 13, 2008

H5N1 (Bird Flu) Simmering In Asia

 
This time an outbreak in South Korea. Reuters reports today;

"South Korea on Sunday confirmed its latest case of bird flu as from the deadly H5N1 strain, adding to a string of outbreaks in recent weeks which led to the culling of more than half a million poultry....

There had been 238 human deaths globally from the H5N1 strain and 376 confirmed cases of infection since 2003 according to World Health Organisation data. An Egyptian woman has been reported dead since those figures were available.

A major concern is the possibility of mutation into a disease that easily passes from one person to another, triggering a global pandemic."

Why is this a concern of Firefighter Blog? I follow this story as it pertains to first responders. If the strain hits here and a global pandemic ensues first responders will be tested as never before.

IAFF Bird Flu Facts pages for Responders.

For other links to the IAFF Bird Flu Facts Pages and other FF Blog posts on H5N1 here!

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April 12, 2008

Masters.org, Web Class Defined

 
Golf fans are tuned to The Masters this weekend. CBS carries the tournament with Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo artfully anchoring the play by play and analysis.

How many of you are tuning into MASTERS.org to take advantage of live streaming coverage of Amen Corner, holes 15 & 16 and interviews.

If you have not explored the site I encourage you to take a tour to appreciate golf covered to perfection on the web.

Check out the live scoring leaderboard. Click on your favorite player and drill down to his scorecard, bio and statistics.



It's been fun watching the Masters.org website evolve over the years. A golf tournament that has always defined class now has a website equal to it's reputation in the sport.

Other sites with Masters coverage:
CBS Masters Golf
PGA Masters Coverage

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April 05, 2008

Firefighter Websites and Video

 
Video on the web has come to firefighter websites in a big way. Two notables are Firehouse.com and FireRescue1.com.

Both sites run their video platform from third party video platform providers like KIT Digital Inc. or Brightcove. This requires an expensive investment and since both sites are corporate backed they are able to make this timely move.

Options for bloggers and other hobby websites are limited for the most part to embedding hosted videos from Youtube or news sites like Reuters.

This summer I plan to lean heavily on video and links to associated news stories. I'll embed video here or link out in order to help paint a better story of the larger fire events as they happen.

If the subject of video on the web seems quaint or faddish check out the growth projections by eMarketer.

"By next year, more than 80% of all Internet users will be video viewers."

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April 03, 2008

Firefighters Fined For RushingTo Fires

 
Australian firefighters in New South Wales have been issued speeding citations for rushing to fires and other emergencies according to AAP via Yahoo! Australia.


"NSW firefighters have been issued with speeding tickets after rushing to life-threatening emergencies.

The state government's State Debt Recovery Office is sending infringement notices to the homes of individual fire truck drivers and then leaving it up to the drivers to sign statutory declarations or take the matter to court to avoid paying the fines..

"The Fire Brigades Employee Union said it had issued a directive to its members not to pay the fines.

"It's the government fining itself, then spending a massive amount of money to sort out that it doesn't need to pay its own fines," secretary Martin Flynn said."

It's true here as well that firefighters and paramedics must obey all laws of the road but I've not heard of anyone being cited responding to an emergency.......at least in my experience.

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