Lost in the Woods? Start a signal fire!

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apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 28, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
Yet another lost hiker setting a 'signal fire' to save their sorry arse:

By Jason Wells
October 28, 2013, 10:13 a.m.
An injured hiker who had been missing for five days was rescued near Lake Arrowhead on Sunday after he started what turned into a small brush fire.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-missing-hiker-found-starts-fire-20131028,0,2753642.story


I've got some compassion for persons who become lost under some circumstances, but this pattern of setting 'signal fires' is really starting to piss me off.

The Cedar Fire in San Diego county, burned over 1200 homes, cost billion$, became Cali's largest fire in history, and affected untold numbers of lives....and was caused by a 'signal fire' started by a lost hunter...

Grrrrrrrrr.........
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 28, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
I seem to remember being told by a ranger while in Boy Scouts about 50 years ago not to start "signal fires." Apparently the word was slow in spreading -- unlike signal fires.

John
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 28, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
The same thing caused a real nasty fire in Arizona a number of years back. If I recall, that one burned several hundred thousand acres.
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Oct 28, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
I know a frequent poster on this site who did the same thing at the base of Washington Collumn. He set a series of fires to mark his path to & from the wall.

Yup, sometimes people do dumb things.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Oct 28, 2013 - 05:09pm PT
^^^^

That sounds like more trouble than just remembering the way.
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Oct 28, 2013 - 05:28pm PT
I seem to recall that a inebriated state of mind played a big factor in his decision to start the fires. Sleep deprivation plays funny tricks on one's judgement.
susan peplow

climber
Joshua Tree, CA
Oct 28, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
Good memory Robert. This is probably the signal fire you were thinking of, just outside of Payson, AZ back in 2002.

snip/paste from article (in which she was not to face criminal charges....

"Valinda Jo Elliott after being lost in the woods for two days, set a signal fire that spread out of control and merged with the Rodeo fire, which was also human-caused. Together, Rodeo-Chediski cost more than $43 million to fight, forced the evacuation of about 30,000 people, consumed 470,000 acres and destroyed 423 homes, about half of which were in the Heber-Overgaard area."
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 28, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
Yup! That was the one.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 28, 2013 - 05:39pm PT
Someone should start a public education campaign...something along the lines of:

'Attempting to build a signal fire using fuels that contain .001% moisture, such as is found in 99% of the western US these days, will not create visible smoke. The 300,000 acre wildfire you are likely to create will, however.'
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Oct 28, 2013 - 06:04pm PT
became Cali's largest fire in history

Just a point of clarification, as the Cedar Fire was probably not the largest fire in CA history. I think most folks that study So Cal fire/chaparral ecology and regimes/history etc. agree that the largest wildfire in California history was the 1889 Santiago Canyon Fire.

But that's besides the point. Carry on.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Oct 28, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
start a public education campaign

This is the crux of most human/wilderness interface problems. Sadly, our land managers can find 43 millon to fight a fire but can't get it together on prevention.


I advocate for a licensing system for public land users.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 28, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
I think by know it is well proven that education is not working on any front. Besides, if you're
retarded enough to get lost then it is highly unlikely you avail yerself of many educational opportunities.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 28, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
"....if you're retarded enough to get lost...."

Ain't that the feckin' truth. How in the hell can anybody be lost near Lake Arrowhead for five goddam days?

It breaks my heart when the process of natural selection is interrupted.

Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 28, 2013 - 11:07pm PT
Ain't that the feckin' truth. How in the hell can anybody be lost near Lake Arrowhead for five goddam days?

Most likely by being horribly out of shape and incapable of covering much ground.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Oct 28, 2013 - 11:15pm PT
Here's what the Local Tattler has to say about the event:

http://www.sbsun.com/general-news/20131027/hiker-missing-for-nearly-a-week-found-after-starting-fire-to-stay-warm

He's probably lucky they didn't just drop a plane-load of Phos Chek on him, then fly away and leave him there.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 28, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
Hoh man looks like this dudes been through some serious sh!t . LOL
Maybe he ate a bag of frigging mushrooms or something. Hahaha
Why am I laughing.lol
I'm glad he made it. Hahaha. Oh man.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Oct 28, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
I got lost once, still am lost, but the only fire I would start is in the wood burner stove.

But what does one expect of a planet of over seven billion people. There are going to be some dumb ones.

Darwin's Law. In some ways it is amusing (albeit yet morbid) and also sad at the same time what some people do.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 29, 2013 - 12:08am PT
Ummmm...that guy looks like he's been doin' some cookin' in the woods. Nawmean?

Signal fire? More like a 'one pot method' gone bad.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Oct 29, 2013 - 07:43am PT
Sad, but I agree with Spider.

Need to license climbers too.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 29, 2013 - 08:13am PT
Maybe that dude coulda walked out if'n he had a belt, no?
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