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Old Nov 16, 2008, 11:01 AM   #11
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Frightening!

Glad to hear that you are safe... I'm just happy that I never had to experience such a thing near my house.
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 11:57 AM   #12
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Dear Californians

You inhabit one of the worlds most beautifull places, but Nature giveth, Nature takes.

From cozy, safe and drizzeled Denmark, I'm sending You loving thoughts and prayers, hoping that all will be safe, and whishing You All the strength to cope.

Love

Ole
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 8:45 PM   #13
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Pen,
That brings back a lot of memories! I worked with CDF for about 10 years mostly up near Yosemite Park. Stay safe my friend.

GW:bye:
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 10:07 PM   #14
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Very scary but good shots, terrible what is happening with those fires.
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Old Nov 16, 2008, 10:41 PM   #15
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The winds have finally moderated and few homes are still threatened, although the fires continue to burn unabated in uninhabited areas. Tens of thousands of acres have been burned across 5 counties, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, but no lives were lost, and only 5 looters caught. The last community to be threatened was Diamond Bar, but the fire was stopped today short of the homes by a massive air assault which was made possible by the decrease in wind.

For aircraft buffs, watching the aerial assaults on fires out here (on TV - the news helicopters do a great job following the planes with their powerful aerial cameras) is like watching a vintage airshow. The California Department of Forestry operates a fleet of aerial tankers converted from surplus propeller driven military aircraft - navy S2 Trackers, P2V Neptunes, P3V Orions, plus DC-6 cargo carriers and Army OV-10 Broncos (as spotters); the Air National Guard contributes C130 Hercules; there are leased Canadair ""SuperScoopers" and even a couple of leased converted DC-10 jetliners which carry thousands of gallons of Phoscheck fire retardant; plus a plethora of helicopters from Skycranes to Firehawks, all contributed from a variety of city, county, state and Federal agencies. Recently there was a Privateer (a Navy derivative of the B-24 Liberator), but I haven't seen it this year. They used to use WWII surplus B-17s as borate bombers until a wing came off one (from metal fatigue) which crashed, killing all aboard, after which they were all retired.

As an example of how fast things change under these conditions, the following picture was taken 37 minutes after the first one posted above - the heaviest smoke had been blown West by higher altitude winds and blocked out the sun.
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Old Nov 17, 2008, 3:53 AM   #16
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we are getting this on our news too
it is real bad, so much destruction
hopefully all you will get to see is the smoke

these are very telling photos
thanks for sharing

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Old Nov 17, 2008, 8:05 AM   #17
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The winds do seem to have died down quite a bit - good news for the fire-fighters. It was interesting coming into work this morning, before dawn. There's quite a hot area still burning south of the Santa Clarita Valley, the northern part of the Sylmar fire. From a long distance it looked more like city lights, as though some developer had instantly put a series of commercial buildings or a parking lot on the steep hillside. Very strange. If the weather cooperates this week (it's supposed to), all this will finished in a couple of days.

I managed to get some decent pictures of a helecopter a couple of years ago, when there was a fire near where I live. Fascinating to watch them work.
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Old Nov 18, 2008, 12:37 PM   #18
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Thanks to those from far-away places for all their comments and good wishes - I am sure they are appreciated by all who read them.

Commenters have mentioned photo-ops and mudslides. Many excellent pictures have been submitted to local TV stations by viewers and shown on the air. Fires do provide great photo-ops, but they are the kind we can do without. No arsonists have been implicated in the current firestorms (this time all are believe to have been human caused, but accidental), and one hopes photography never becomes the motivation for such pathological behavior.

And of course we need rain to end this prolonged drought, but it too can be a double-edged sword, if not moderate in intensity. Heavy rains will loosen the burnt soil on denuded hillsides and carry it rapidly downhill iin the form of mudslides, as there is nothing left to slow the runoff. Also the heavier rains will fuel more rampant new growth of vegetation that will again provide ample fuel for fires when dried out, and the cycle will repeat. Native vegetation in much of the American West is adapted to fires which naturally occurred in cycles varying from about 12 to 25 years, rapidly burning off accumulated leaves and combustibles wood. Years of fire suppression have resulted in excessive build-up of fuels that burn hotter and longer than should be the case, and are more destructive than they would have been under natural conditions, which would have resulted only in healthy renewal of the natural plant and animal communities.

Much blame has been heaped on those who move into fire-prone areas, and yet people need an affordable place to live, and understandably will buy available homes in outlying areas because those closer in have become so unaffordable over the years as the population grew and demand increased. Even though homes have lost half their value in the current economic meltdown, I still could not afford to buy my own home today as it is now worth "only" 25X its original price 43 years ago. If any blame exists, it lies with the City and County Planners who allow developers to build homes in fire and flood prone areas (and literally on top of earthquake faults) to increase their tax base, and with little or no regard to the ultimate safety of those who move there. Foreclosed homes in these areas (which were never cheap in the first place) can now be had at bargain (dare I say Fire-sale) prices, and there is a rush to buy, so here we go again . . . .
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 4:58 PM   #19
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Excellent shots Penolta, but I think I will stick with hurricanes and the occasional small wildfire over earthquakes, mudslides, and the wildfires CA suffers through. Ya'll CA Pentaxians be safe!

Tim
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 9:30 PM   #20
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There's so many different factors/causes of the California fire problems (and other woes), and it's not limited to just California. There aren't any easy answers, just like there isn't one cause.

In our area we tend to get all sorts of problems - we're right on the San Andreas Fault, in the middle of a national forest known for brush fires, which can lead to flooding, and every couple of years we get huge dumps of snow, leaving us stranded and cut off from the rest of the world for a day or two. At least it keeps life interesting.
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