Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Southern California Is On Fire - Some Links

Sunday Morning, October 21, in Malibu, California

Okay, the region where I grew up is alight due to Santa Ana winds gone wild, dry conditions and overgrown brush.

Flames flare up regularly around this time of year and there have been some in the past that have been pretty bad. This, however, is a disaster and has been for the last couple of days. I've been watching in the hopes that it would eventually die down. Instead, it's getting bigger, more acres are burning and more people are being evacuated.

What's funny is some are trying to politicize it, and Jon Swift has weighed in on that with his usual wit. The area where I grew up is flame icon free and will stay that way because there are no surrounding hills or brush areas. It's the areas adjacent to the hills, the green areas on the map, are the ones at risk.

The reports are good at this point. People are banding together and are helping each other out. That's great to hear.

One concern are animals caught in this. It's not like they can hop in the car and flee, so I hope people are responsible regarding the animals in their care. The current reports say the weather is cooperating, so hopefully, the worst of it all has peaked.

So with that said, here are some articles and resources to get more information on what's going on. Folks listening to scanners who work as a group to keep updated info on emergencies. They're covering this pretty well. Emergency wildfire contact information

LA Times: Blog - Southern California Wildfires

LA Times: Road closures and evacuations

San Diego Tribune: Main webpage - some good news links

Wildfires 2007 - "Breaking news of the San Diego County wildfires from SignOnSanDiego and The San Diego Union-Tribune". It gives you short updates on what's going on and who is doing what to help.

Craig's List LA - FireForum: Honestly, I don't know how helpful this is 'cause it's CraigsList and some of those folks are downright nutty. But there seem to be some threads that aren't a complete waste of time.

Okay, bedtime for me. I didn't sleep well last night, so, if necessary, I'll update this with more links later on.

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  1. Not to make light of the disaster or the suffering of those people who've been burned out of their homes, but isn't it rather odd that people build communities by choice in scrub land that apparently burns every year? I mean if you are a landless third world peasant who has no options but to live in such a place I can see it, but Americans building in a tinder box by design? Irrational.

  2. It's income and class issues, white flight, urban sprawl, etc. But it's also people who like (and can afford) the views and people who like living out in nature. Metro L.A. is not engulfed in flames. It's the brush areas surrounding the metro areas that are burning.

    It was one of the things my parents would point out when the fires would break out or the mudslides would take out millionaire homes in the hills. They were a little amused at the fire trucks and efforts being put into saving homes built where people knew fires regularly raged. When they moved into the house I grew up in the ethnic makeup of the neighbhorhood was significantly different from what it was when I grew up. It's still different. But those people didn't move to Malibu. They couldn't afford that. Most likely they fled to Van Nuys or other working class areas which, like my old neighborhood, is flame free.

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Malibu home had fire protective foam sprayed on it to protect it (not sure if that worked, but even movie producers should be spared, if possible, and he's got the money for the foam.)

    However, not everyone is uber-rich. As the fires have spread it's covered more land.

    Like you, I don't have much sympathy for a multimillion dollar house built on stilts that falls when the mudslides happen. For me, that's part of the high life, the comprehensive insurance coverage and the steep real estate appreciation that goes with that income level. I'm not feeling much pain over those who had to flee Malibu. That's is the main reason I didn't blog it right away. I know what when those news reports are on that no one in my demographic is in harm's way. I don't care that people had to flee an overpriced rehab center in Malibu because, unlike the folks trapped by Hurricane Katrina, they all had nice cars to carry them to safety. I do have sympathy for those having to camp out in a stadium, for people who maybe have a business in a shopping center in or near the area but live across town or for those with less resources than a movie producer.

    People are allowed to build in these areas. Rightly so because it's quite beautiful. The building plans get approved by the city. The owners get the insurance coverage, so they'll rebuild like they've always done.

    What's next are mudslides if the rain picks up but there has only been 2 inches of rain this year (the air pollution must be over the top...I don't think I'll be moving back to L.A.)

    It will take some time for the brush to regrow and the fires will breakout again when it does.

    Irrational, maybe. But people have a range of opinions on things that people do.

  3. Exactly! I feel only it for those who have to camp out in the stadium.

    With the housing woes and the fires, this is bad year for housing here in Calif...

    Question: is there *anything* that's not politicized lately? Sad, isn't it?

  4. Nope, I think with the post-talk show type of media out there (shock jocks, the gossip blogs, and all sorts of other shit) nothing is beyond getting politicized.


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