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Posted: 6/18/2003 4:06:56 AM EDT
Heads up my fellow SoCal'ers. It's going to be a rough summer. [url]http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030617/APN/306171010[/url] 'Extreme' fire danger forecast in Southern California Fire safety officials have prepared and are beginning to publicize evacuation plans for residents of mountain communities east of Los Angeles for fear of major conflagrations amid beetle- and drought-killed trees there this summer. They projected "extreme" fire danger Tuesday for mountain areas from north of Los Angeles to the Mexican border. Lower elevations in much of the rest of the state will see "above average" fire danger this year, particularly because heavy, late spring rains brought a bumper crop of grass that already is turning to tinder. But a normal fire season is projected at higher elevations in most areas. Fire officials are particularly concerned, however, about more than 400,000 acres of dead, standing trees in a beetle-affected area in and near the San Bernardino National Forest in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. "The situation ... has the potential to be an immense human and ecological tragedy. That is not an exaggeration," said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Matt Mathes. "That's an entire forest that is dying." Mountain communities and heavy urban use there means more chance for human-caused fires, and more danger for people if one ignites. "That's a true perfect storm waiting there," warned Jim Wright, chief deputy director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "A fire starting in an environment like this will get out of hand very quickly. We see this as a very critical situation." Local planning groups called MASTs - Mountain Area Safety Task forces - in Lake Arrowhead and Idyllwild have drawn up evacuation plans for residents and are beginning to inform them where they should go and how they should get there in the event of a major fire. "We're going to be battling panic, chaos," Wright said, as residents flee along twisting, congested mountain roads even as firefighters move in heavy equipment to fight the blazes. A major concern is the more than 300 organizational camps that dot the mountains surrounding Southern California cities. In a normal year, buses drop off children and then leave. That leaves "a hell of an evacuation plan to deal with," Wright said. This year, fire planners are asking camp organizers to keep buses available for an immediate exit, Wright said, and are advising parents, "You may choose not to send your kids to camp this year." The U.S. Forest Service has given the state about $3 million to remove and replace trees killed by the drought-aggravated beetle infestation. Other national forests are shifting money and manpower to the San Bernardino to help in the effort. And the Forest Service has taken the rare step of shifting a contingent of smoke jumpers from their usual Redding base to Southern California to help stamp out wildfires as soon as they spark. Fire planners are asking utilities to trim trees along power lines, residents to clear brush and trees from around their homes, and recreational users of wildland areas to pay particular attention to fire prevention. More than 90 percent of fires are caused by humans, Wright said. California will be short three C-130 airtankers this year because of a nationwide ban on using the planes after two airtanker crashes last year. That means the state will have nine fire-retardant dropping planes instead of the planned 12. Mathes and Wright said the state will make up the shortage with helicopters and by being more flexible in shifting state and federal aircraft where they are most needed. Nationwide, 23 of the planned 33 private airtankers are certified for use, and officials should know by month's end how many of the remainder are available, said Rose Davis, spokeswoman for the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise, Idaho. Military backup aircraft all have been certified, she said. Conditions remain primed in the West for a repeat of last year's record fire season, she said, but to date there haven't been the early, devastating fires that were sparked in April and May in Arizona and New Mexico. The center's latest forecast, published Monday, predicts an above-normal fire season for the interior West, Northwest, the northern Rockies, the eastern Sierra and southern California. Fire season officially began Monday across California, after being phased in over the last month in advance of the official start of summer Saturday.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 5:46:22 AM EDT
Bummer. Wouldn't it be something if the big one hit and L.A. broke off the mainland, drifted out to sea, burned to a crisp, and sank? We can only hope. Of course, if it did happen, I would certainly hope Rodney King was safe and sound in Kansas City. [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 8:00:28 AM EDT
I thought they were going to talk about [i]inside[/i] of the city, not outside of it.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 8:05:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 9:45:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 7:34:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/18/2003 7:35:01 PM EDT by SeaDweller]
Originally Posted By marvl: Bummer. Wouldn't it be something if the big one hit and L.A. broke off the mainland, drifted out to sea, burned to a crisp, and sank? We can only hope. Of course, if it did happen, I would certainly hope Rodney King was safe and sound in Kansas City. [rolleyes]
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I like the LA/SoCal area so I would only like to see their two baseball stadiums break away.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 7:38:06 PM EDT
::loading mags::
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 10:08:43 PM EDT
For the So. Calif. folks, I would double-check your emergency supplies and procedures. If there is a huge fire, it could burn thru power lines supplying electrical power, and you could get blackout or results in blackout in your area.
Link Posted: 6/18/2003 10:21:22 PM EDT
the lines through Cajon Pass should be OK. That burned last year. Anybody in So. Cal. that doesn't have a few days food & water in the car/workplace and a week at least at home is asking for trouble anytime. Don't forget that your telephone and cell phone won't work either, those systems crap out or default to minimal emergency service if more than about 10% of the instruments are "off-hook".
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