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#286698 - 10/10/17 03:36 AM California Burning
Doug_Ritter Offline


Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1961
Doug Ritter
Equipped To Survive®
Chairman & Executive Director
Equipped To Survive Foundation

#286699 - 10/10/17 04:26 AM Re: California Burning [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Phaedrus Offline

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2169
Loc: Great Plains
A bad situation! I hope all of our Californian members are safe.
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

#286706 - 10/10/17 09:38 PM Re: California Burning [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
yes - a very bad situation. Very strong winds in CA yesterday. I am OK, I am down on So. Cal. But I almost rented a house in those suburbs in N. California (with the fires) just a few months ago. Fortunately, I chose a different location.

Hope there are no folks here who are directly affected. It's a very tough thing to see your home burn down like that.

This incident did give me an important heads-up ... to get all the dry wood and dead grass cleared around my property. We have lots of dry grass in our rural area ... it's exactly the same fire hazard that they had in Napa and Santa Rosa. I will be working during the next week to get all the grass cut, weeds cut down, and tree branches sawed up (and stored as firewood).

Edited by Pete (10/10/17 10:33 PM)

#286709 - 10/11/17 07:25 PM Re: California Burning [Re: Doug_Ritter]
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2351
And to have your radio on, your bug out bag packed and truck fueled.

#286716 - 10/11/17 10:53 PM Re: California Burning [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
yes, I do keep the radio on.

latest update .. 21 people dead, 3500 houses destroyed, 560 people unaccounted for. The majority of the missing are probably with friends or in hotels. But the death toll will rise.

The weather will be a serious problem through most of this week - strong dry winds. These fires are not contained yet.

#286747 - 10/14/17 06:32 AM Re: California Burning [Re: Phaedrus]
katarin Offline

Registered: 06/29/06
Posts: 126
Loc: Ca, usa
I am safe in Sacramento.

#286753 - 10/14/17 09:26 PM Re: California Burning [Re: katarin]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6645
Loc: southern Cal
Today, with the prediction of Santa Ana winds and high temps, I thought it worthwhile to clean up the old homestead and get rid of all the dry weeds and leaves,just in case a fire comes calling over the hill to the north, as it has in the past.

As I easily filled a large trash can, I thought of what good fire starter this very finely fragmented material would be, later on in the winter and in colder climes and situations. Ah, the paradox of fire!

"Hot item! Honest Hikermor's California Certified Fire Starter"
A Flaming Success!"

It would be a fire sale, naturally.....
Geezer in Chief

#286755 - 10/15/17 03:15 AM Re: California Burning [Re: Doug_Ritter]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2727
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I've been watching the news and these are nasty fires. We've had a couple of years of hell up here and know the toll this destruction takes -- and the long, hard road of rebuilding. Be safe, folks. May fortune tip in your favour.

Edited by dougwalkabout (10/15/17 03:17 AM)

#286756 - 10/15/17 02:18 PM Re: California Burning [Re: dougwalkabout]
adam2 Offline

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 428
Loc: Somerset UK
Looking at UK media reports, it seems that some of the most destructive fires may have started as forest fires, but have developed into urban fires in which the main fuel is houses and vehicles.
Pictures show houses destroyed by fire whilst trees and bushes are still standing.
It seems that once a house burns, that the radiated heat ignites other structures and vehicles, in a chain reaction until a whole area is engulfed and destroyed.

Such fires have more in common with historic URBAN fires such as the great fires of London and Chicago. The fact that they started from a forest fire rather than a bakers oven or a cow kicking an oil lamp is not that relevant.

Major urban fires have historically resulted in improved fire safety, both prevention before the event, and a more effective response when fire breaks out.

Despite the cost, it seems to me that both fire prevention and fire fighting could be improved in high risk areas.

Fire prevention.
Require all new construction to be of brick, stone, or concrete. No more wooden buildings and no more plastic cladding.
All roofs to be fire resistant.
Require all property owners to remove all dry or dead vegetation that is within their property and within 100 feet of any structure.
Encourage the provision of swimming pools or decorative lakes, by tax breaks, in order that most properties will have a reserve water supply of many thousands of gallons.
Encourage all property owners to keep firefighting equipment to hand, an engine driven portable pump, suction and delivery hose etc. Such equipment is not that expensive, every home in a high risk area should be thus equipped.

Fire fighting by TPTB,
Provide more fire trucks and more firefighters.
Modern fire trucks are hugely costly and specialised vehicles that require highly trained firefighters to make good use of them.
I would propose an additional reserve fleet of much more basic equipment, that is cheaper to provide and simpler to use.
Something based on a army truck, with a pump driven by the road engine, and additional portable pump, suction hose and delivery hose, and a short ladder.
Such equipment could be staffed by anyone physically fit who has received a single weeks training.

When fire breaks out, the first attendance should be by a modern fully equipped fire truck staffed by highly trained fire fighters, just like at present.
They will be equipped and trained to handle all sorts of challenging situations including rescues from tall buildings, extrication from vehicle accidents, hazmat incidents and so on.

If however on arrival it is clear that the fire is large but relatively simple, such as a dozen houses on fire and many others threatened, than a radio message could be sent "send six reserve units"
The arrival of say six trucks each with a pump, short ladder, hose and a crew of say six men would help greatly. These reserve units would be affordable to provide in relatively large numbers.

#286757 - 10/15/17 03:43 PM Re: California Burning [Re: adam2]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6645
Loc: southern Cal
I am sure your proposals make sense from a UK perspective. I am dubious that they will all work as well where these fires are actually occurring.

The standing trees,for the most part are dead, their leaes et al. burned away, as is typical in crown fires.

This is earthquake country and wood frame structures are easily the most quake resistant. One solution is a system that applies fire resistant foam to a structure (usually applied as the owner scurries out the door). Other measures can include metal roofs, anti-ember screens in roof vents, removal of deal leaves and litter (a job I was working on just yesterday and which I will continue shortly).

100 foot clearance is already mandated throughout the state, I believe. In my country, 300 foot clearance is required in susceptible places, with demonstrably good results.

On my one visit to the UK (in August, by chance) I was struck by the exceptional green lushness everywhere. This is a startling contrast to California, where everything is brown - just waiting for that initial spark. Normal conditions here are radically different from Merrie England.

Years ago, when first trained in wild fire suppression, I was told that California chaparral was the most dangerous fire environment. The exceptional conditions we are experiencing now demonstrate the truth of that statement. Remenber that one of these fires jumped a six lane freeway. That is a bit wider than any fire line I ever built.

I am sure there will be tactical analyses and changes to procedures as a result of these fires. I doubt they will include additional half equipped personnel. I would bet on faster air response....
Geezer in Chief

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