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Thread: Fire in San Diego

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    Military Professional sappersgt's Avatar
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    Fire in San Diego

    By
    ALLISON HOFFMAN and GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writers
    15 minutes ago



    SAN DIEGO - More than a quarter-million people were urged to flee their homes across Southern California on Monday as wildfires blown by fierce desert winds raced over the landscape with terrifying speed, even leaping a 10-lane freeway in a matter of minutes.

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    At least one person was killed, and dozens were injured. Scores of homes and other buildings were feared burned, and thousands more were threatened as more than a dozen blazes formed a hellish, spidery pattern of luminous orange covering at least 310 square miles of the drought-stricken region.

    "The sky was just red. Everywhere I looked was red, glowing. Law enforcement came barreling in with police cars with loudspeakers telling everyone to get out now," said Ronnie Leigh, 55, who fled her home at a mobile home park as flames darkened the sky over the nearby ridge line.

    Firefighters — who lost valuable time trying to persuade stubborn homeowners to leave — were almost completely overwhelmed as gale-force winds gusting to 70 mph scattered embers on the dry brush. California officials pleaded for help from fire departments in other states.

    "A lot of people are going to lose their homes today," San Diego Fire Capt. Lisa Blake said.

    More than 265,000 people from Malibu to San Diego were warned to leave their homes. More than 250,000 were told to flee in San Diego County alone, where hundreds of patients were moved by school bus and ambulance from a hospital and nursing homes, some in hospital gowns and wheelchairs. Some carried their medical records in large zip-lock plastic bags.

    A 1,049-inmate jail in Orange County was evacuated because of heavy smoke. The prisoners were taken by bus to other lockups.

    At San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, home to the NFL's Chargers, thousands of people huddled in eerie silence on the bleachers, staring at muted TV news reports of the wildfires. A lone concession stand served coffee and doughnuts.

    Many evacuees gathered in the parking lot with their pets, which were banned from the stadium.

    The sprawling Del Mar Fairgrounds on the coast was also turned into an evacuation center, along with high schools and senior centers.

    At least one of the fires, in Orange County, was believed to have been set. And a blaze threatening the homes of the rich and famous in Malibu might have been caused by downed power lines, authorities said. Another blaze was started by a car fire. Flying embers started new fires at every turn.

    The blaze was burning so fast that authorities did not have an accurate count of how many homes had been destroyed.

    "It was nuclear winter. It was like Armageddon. It looked like the end of the world," Mitch Mendler, a San Diego firefighter, said as he and his crew stopped at a shopping center parking lot to refill their water truck from a hydrant near a restaurant. Asked how many homes had burned, he said, "I lost count."

    Tom Sollie, 49, ignored evacuation orders in Rancho Bernardo to help his neighbors spray roofs on his street with water. His home was untouched, but he watched a neighbor's house reduced to nothing but the remnants of a brick chimney. "The house went up like a Roman candle," Sollie said.

    He added: "If we weren't here, the whole neighborhood would go up. There just aren't enough fire trucks around."

    The blazes in San Diego County and elsewhere erupted one after another over the weekend. Things got worse Monday, when several new fires erupted and other fires merged. Parts of seven Southern California counties were ablaze.

    All San Diego police officers and detectives were ordered to return to work to help move people to safety and handle other fire-related emergencies.

    Firefighters complained that their efforts to stop the flames were delayed when they were confronted by people who refused to leave their homes.

    "They didn't evacuate at all, or delayed until it was too late," said Bill Metcalf, a fire boss. "And those folks who are making those decisions are actually stripping fire resources."

    As flames, thick smoke and choking ash filled the air around San Diego County's Lake Hodges, Stan Smith ignored orders to evacuate and stayed behind to help rescue his neighbor Ken Morris' horses.

    "It's hard to leave all your belongings and take off, and the bad thing is you can't get back in once you leave," Smith said.

    "I heard the cops come by and I just ducked," Morris said.

    Besides, said Smith, "Lots of time the fire doesn't ever come. It's come really close before. I've seen it so bad you couldn't even hear yourself talk over the flames and ash blowing everywhere."

    Black smoke blanketed much of northern San Diego and nearby suburbs as flames hopscotched around homes in Rancho Bernardo, a community with a large number of elderly people, destroying one of every 10 homes on one busy street.

    Highways, canals and other features normally act as firebreaks. But the towering flames and flying embers rendered them useless this time.

    Dozens of motorists gathered on an Interstate 15 overpass in San Diego to watch flames race up a hillside and engulf at least a half-dozen homes. Witnesses said they watched flames jump west over the 10-lane freeway.

    "The flames were like 100 feet high and it moved up the hill in seconds. It was at the bottom, it was in the middle, and then it was at the top," said Steve Jarrett, who helped a friend evacuate his home in nearby Escondido.

    Fire near the San Diego Wild Animal Park led authorities to move condors, a cheetah, snakes and other animals to the fire-resistant veterinary hospital on the grounds of the park. The large animals, such as elephants, rhinos and antelope, were left in irrigated enclosures.

    The world-famous San Diego Zoo was not immediately threatened.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in the seven affected counties, opening the way for government aid.

    "Its a tragic time for California," he said in Malibu, where a church, homes and a mansion resembling a medieval castle were destroyed over the weekend.

    One person died in one of the fires near San Diego. More than a dozen people were hospitalized with burns and smoke inhalation, including four firefighters, three of whom were listed in critical condition, officials said. Some of the injured were hikers, while others may be illegal immigrants.

    San Diego County spokeswoman Lesley Kirk said fire crews were stretched thin and were anxiously awaiting reinforcements from other parts of the state.

    "The winds are up, it's very, very dangerous conditions," Kirk said. "Fires are popping up all over the place."

    Flames forced the evacuation of the San Diego community of Ramona, which has a population of about 36,000.

    Christine Baird, 42, was ordered to evacuate her apartment in the Rancho Bernardo area at 5:30 a.m. She moved to California from Canada earlier this year.

    "Instead of snow we had ash all over the car," she said. "This is all new for me. We've got no family in the area, so there's really nowhere else to go."

    In late October and early November of 2003, 15 fires in many of the same areas killed 22 people and destroyed 3,640 homes. Ten years earlier, in October and November of 1993, 26 fires in those
    Three North County hospitals, Sharpe, Pomorado and Palomar are evacuating. As of this moment the winds are getting worse, much worse...:(
    Last edited by sappersgt; 23 Oct 07, at 00:00.
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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Here's a great picture of the fire seen from space.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi....aqua.250m.jpg

    I have friends in San Diego area who have been on the run for 2 days.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    i was in san diego when the big fire of 2003 went up; apparently this is even worse.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i was in san diego when the big fire of 2003 went up; apparently this is even worse.
    I don't quite remember that one. I remember the big fire around 1992/1993. One was really close to UCI.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    gunnut,

    it wasn't pretty. the sun was covered, and the sky was dark orange, like the world was about to come to an end in the next five minutes. EVERYTHING in the area was covered with a fine layer of ash, including the fruits and vegetables at ralph's (that was disgusting). people were using umbrellas because of the amount of ash that was flying around.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Here's a great picture of the fire seen from space.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi....aqua.250m.jpg

    I have friends in San Diego area who have been on the run for 2 days.
    Dramatic and quite frightening for the residents. Do we have any WABbers living in the area?

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave lukins View Post
    Dramatic and quite frightening for the residents. Do we have any WABbers living in the area?
    I'm near the coast. Rusty is in Long Beach, also near the coast. We're at well developed areas so the danger of a brush fire is very low. Astralis used to be in San Diego. Now he's in DC to better study the corruption.

    Remember, development prevents brush fires and strip mining prevents forest fires.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    And pumping out all the oil, and burning all the coal prevents pollution. (nothing left to pollute with :/)

    About the fire; holy sh*t. Is it by any chance moving north?

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    And pumping out all the oil, and burning all the coal prevents pollution. (nothing left to pollute with :/)

    About the fire; holy sh*t. Is it by any chance moving north?
    Relax, you're far away. You only have to worry about massive earthquakes in the bay area. )
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    So how long do you think we'll start hearing some nut in the UN blame this one on global warming?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    So how long do you think we'll start hearing some nut in the UN blame this one on global warming?
    They beat you to it.

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    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    Any guesses as to which nut it is we're talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    So how long do you think we'll start hearing some nut in the UN blame this one on global warming?

    Of course it's global warming :D just ignore the photos of the guy with the kerosene keg lighting it.

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    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    From Hugh Hewitt's site:

    Harry Reid Blames California Wildfires On Global Warming...Before He Denies He Said It.
    Posted by: Duane R. Patterson at 5:28 PM

    After a closed door policy meeting with other Senate Democrats, Majority Leader and utter buffoon Hary Reid of Nevada took to the microphones just outside the floor of the United States Senate, and fielded questions.

    In response to a question on the energy bill, Reid said the following:


    As you know, one reason that we have the fires burning in Southern California is global warming. One reason the Colorado Basin is going dry is because of global warming.

    Six questions later, a reporter followed up on Reid's amazing statement.


    Question: Senator, on the California fires, you said that the reason the fires are burning in California is global warming?
    Reid: No. Here's what I - I didn't say the reason the fires were burning in Southern California was global warming...

    First, Reid is an idiot because tried to use global warming as a prop in a current news story in order to advance his energy bill agenda. When called on it, he denied he said it. It's on tape. You can listen to it here.

    Second, he has no idea what he's talking about. Southern California is a desert. The Santa Ana winds are as normal this time of year as any other local weather phenomenon. In fact, some of the weathermen in the area had speculated on television newscasts in recent weeks that we usually get Santa Anas before now. And in the scope of the severity of the winds, this batch isn't even as bad as we've had. This is a very average wind pattern for us.

    Reid may have wanted to blame the fires on global warming before he got called on it and ran away, but I'd be hard pressed to be persuaded that global warming caused arsonists to start several of these fires, or that global warming knocked down a power line in Malibu starting that fire, or that global warming caused a couple of construction workers to work with an arc welder in high winds, showering the local brush with sparks.

    So now that Reid has publicly raised the global warming specter...that is, before he lowered it again in classic John Kerry fashion, it makes you wonder what's worse for Harry Reid's environment? Letting the fires burn, or polluting the ozone with all the hydrocarbons that come out of the exhaust of the DC-10's and helicopters that are frantically dropping water and fire retardant on the hot spots? Should Reid be calling for the removal of the firefighting from the air in order to minimize the footprint the fires are already putting in the air and remain consistent with his radical environmentalism?

    Reid is a witless opportunist. Half a million people are evacuated, at least 1,200 homes have been lost so far, federal, state, county and local resources are performing acts of heroism all over California to save lives and property, and Harry Reid wants to blame it on global warming to score political points for his energy bill? What a creep.

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    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    Another GREAT day to be a proud Democrat, ain't it?

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