The All-Purpose Wildfire Thread


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Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Oct 12, 2017 - 10:44am PT
Glad you're still whole, split.


Sonoma County
Oct 12, 2017 - 11:11am PT
Thanks dingus.

Just heard from Harrison. He is ok.

Ice climber
great white north
Oct 13, 2017 - 06:44am PT

We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering.
We’re going to do some of each.
The question is what the mix is going to be.
The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.

John Holdren

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Oct 13, 2017 - 08:25am PT
I'm surprised that relatively flat suburban neighborhoods could be completely destroyed. Presumably it was high winds that drove fire and embers from house to house. I wonder if communities will begin to develop some sort of defensive technology. Industrial / municipal scale sprinkler systems? Slurry pipelines with nozzles along the urban / wildland interface? Clearly traditional firefighting tactics are not going to cut it in these sort of extreme circumstances.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Oct 13, 2017 - 08:52am PT
Tragic.... My heart goes out to all of my fellow Northern California citizens.

How could this happen in neighborhoods?

We just had a huge fire down here, but it was contained in the hills and at no time was it threatening to burn into Burbank or Glendale.

Downed power lines?????


That is a common cause of these sorts of fires.

So the "power company's" get to operate on the cheap regarding line maintenance, strength of the polls, condition of the relay stations etc.... and everyone else covers the cost of lost homes, the cost of fighting fires etc.

Something is out of wack.

I pray for rain and calm conditions.

Trad climber
Sonoma, CA
Oct 13, 2017 - 04:01pm PT
Been running on adrenaline since we got the call to evacuate in the Sonoma/Napa hills Sunday night. Finally slept a full night last night and got time to check in with the internet world today. Glad to hear about some of my RIM Club friends, I'll bet there are others who are suffering big time. Heres my report from this sector of this regional tragedy. So far we're among the lucky ones, only 5 houses gone in the Lovall/Woods Valley area. So sorry for those not so fortunate!

As of 6:00 last night (Thursday) all of my family's houses were still standing, but sheds, trailers, etc, not so much. Still stuff to burn on the NW slopes and the hot spot yesterday was in the canyon under those slopes (behind Bartholemu/Buena Vista Wineries.) However, the winds are light and they've assigned at least one engine/crew and one helicopter to patrol and protect. After the privilege of getting to work with those guys on Tuesday and Wednesday, I have every confidence our houses will be saved. The NE sector of town is evacuated as a precautionary measure given weather reports, resource constraints, and what happened in Santa Rosa.
BTW, for those monitoring our area by internet & media, the Norbom fire joined the Partrick fire on our property Wednesday night. It was a horror show I hope I never have to see again! And how those Schell Vista and Calfire guys stayed there and did their business after they told me to go is beyond my comprehension! We are downtown at my sister's other house now and probably stuck here until Sunday or sometime next week.
I gotta share that on Tuesday I got to hike with the Calfire unit chief the old Padres Trail over to upper Partrick Road in Napa County. Its an old indian trail the mission padres and Bear Flag Revolt guys used that my grandfather turned into a jeep road in the 40's (now overgrown.) They tried to build a fire break on it to keep the Partrick fire from coming over the ridge or any further around the Southern Mayacamas Range, but the dozers got here too late. They started, got about half way up to the county line, and the Partrick fire jumped the new fire break behind them, so they pulled the dozers down to work all night building fire breaks around our houses and closer to town.
If that dry wind comes back out of the North again anywhere near as strong as Sunday night...
This is also a chance to tell climbing partners I have not yet communicated with already, my climbing season is likely over. Gonna have major clean up & erosion control work to do before the rains come. See you on the slopes!
John M

Oct 13, 2017 - 04:19pm PT
I am hoping the best for you and your family Footie.. Hopefully the winds will stay calm.

Social climber
Oct 13, 2017 - 05:43pm PT
hey there say, all... just saw all this update, :(

you are in my hearts, thoughts and prayers... :(

i love calif, the land of my childhood and young adult...
this is so sad...

say, what are the NEWER updates, now, please??
i do not have tv...

also,this is of interest, footie:
as to your quote:
If that dry wind comes back out of the North again anywhere near as strong as Sunday night...

went out sailing on the SUNDAY afternoon...

and-- my mom said walt told her that THEY COULD NOT SAIL-- :O

you see, THERE WAS AN ODD WIND... and he'd never seen it like that before! just could not get out to sail..
(they were off the calif coast-- think they were in santa cruz?) of coast of course...

thus, when he heard of the winds, affecting the fire, he SURE understood...
and was NOT surprise, as, he'd been in the 'PREVIEW' wind... :O

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 13, 2017 - 06:09pm PT

Sonoma County
Oct 14, 2017 - 11:43am PT
Footie. I hope you are safe during this latest round.

We evacuated early this morning. Now back home. First responders were cautious and rightly so to bullhorn evac our neighborhood but Official evac notices did not materialize for our neighborhood.

Trad climber
Oct 14, 2017 - 11:54am PT
You ask how such distraction could happen? Pretty easy with high winds. Remember several years ago the San Bernadino fire that burned down into neighborhoods? We dodged a bullet recently with the LaTuna Fire. Had that same fire occurred during a Santa Anna wind event we would have lost hundreds of homes. It is impossible to stop a wind driven fire. We always joked about big fires in the Santa Monica mountains claiming we will stop it at the great Pacific Fire Break. Those fires that started on the 101 fwy during a Santa Anna marched straight to the ocean unless the wind died down. Interestingly most deaths and injuries to firefighters occur when the wind dies down and it becomes a topography fire. It's easy to predict a wind driven fire, and you stay out of it's path. Once the wind stops and you start dealing with diurnal winds and preheated slopes and things start going into alignment you really need to stay on yer toes. Pray for rain.
norm larson

wilson, wyoming
Oct 14, 2017 - 01:38pm PT
Footie, hope things continue to work out your way. Good luck. Norm

Ice climber
Oct 14, 2017 - 02:08pm PT
Remember the fire Captain from Glendale (Orr) who set all those arson fires, I do.

The stat. I recall is that 95% of fires are human caused either accidental or arson. I don't recall a breakdown by category.

The solution is obvious, no? Get rid of people.
No stats on non-domestic terrorist arsons

The fire mentioned above that swept down the coast nearly into Pacific Palisades was I believe an arson fire.

I'm beginning to question that 95% number

Santa Monica mountainss (1982-2012) reporting says 110 out of 274 in the other/unknown origin category

The great majority of fires that are identified as started by "other or unknown causes" occur along roads

Trad climber
Oct 14, 2017 - 03:13pm PT
Most are human caused but not all of those are arson. During high wind events downs and arcing powerlines cause quite a few.
The Glendale guy was John Orr, he was a arson investigator and ultimately was caught by Los Angeles City Fire Dept. Aron investigators. There would always be suspicious fires in areas he was attending conferences and he always seemed to be able to find the cause. His MO was a smoldering cigarette ruberbanded to a pack of matches, once the cigarette burnt down it would light the matchbook.

Ice climber
Oct 14, 2017 - 03:48pm PT

Kanan, Topanga and Old Topanga all arson


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 14, 2017 - 05:24pm PT
Arsonists should be burnt at the stake.

Social climber
Oct 14, 2017 - 10:50pm PT
hey there say, ... if you need live update...


Trad climber
Cascade Mountains and Monterey Bay
Oct 14, 2017 - 11:28pm PT
we got called out early this morning to fight a barn fire in freezing weather

about six engines showed up from four local volunteer fire depts

not much fun to be soaking wet in freezing weather with toxic smoke

we stopped the fire before it destroyed the building, but the interior walls and contents were mostly trashed


Trad climber
Sonoma, CA
Oct 15, 2017 - 09:09am PT
Alright, here is my update on the NE Sonoma sector (Lovall & Woods Valleys.) We're OK, our houses are still standing, and the red flag weather warnings are over. You can stop reading here or read my further indulgence. Up to you. I share this as copied from emails to my friends/family, my personal experience in case its interesting or helpful. I will be working up a list or outline of how to be better prepared for this kind of thing if you live in the urban-wildland interface. I will share it here when I'm done. I thought we were prepared (been clearing brush, etc for 30 years) but I found we missed a lot of critical details. The following picks up from my earlier post last Thursday.

There was fire burning here and there all around our houses on Thursday but the winds were down, humidity up and we had more resources coming in from all over the State. As predicted, winds came up (and I woke up) around midnight, sirens and trucks running up and down Napa Street in front of my sister's downtown house. At two-thirty the sky over the canyon behind Bartholomew & BV was red, so Barb and I mobilized and evacuated that house in our van to be ahead of the crowd in case the evacuation expanded. I just wanted a quieter place to sleep.

We found a quiet spot, a view of the fire, and my Brother in Law only a block away behind the Community Center. He's a retired Calfire guy who couldn't sleep and by coincidence the only other guy there. Barb stayed up with him listening to more apparent chaos on his scanner while I went back to fitful sleep.

In the morning they told me another house was lost on Castle Road and several more on Lovall Valley Road, one on the flats and several up the hill, but not ours. Later we drove out to a spot where we could see. Fires were burning and helicopters were dropping water all over the area from Lower Lovall Valley/Thornsberry Road into the Canyon at Bartholomew, our place above, Wood Valley, Norbom Road, Mission Highlands,...At about 2:00 pm the winds shifted from a northerly to a southerly then calmed down. Visuals from the Valley suggested our houses were still there. Then my Brother in Law, who's on the SV Fire Board, was asked to make a delivery to crews near our property. He got to drive through and confirmed, its a mess, but the houses are still there.

BTW, my climbing, skiing and camping gear was in the second evacuation load last Monday. Lucky we got back up there after that first evacuation Sunday night because all we had then was the clothes we were wearing. As you know, there are thousands of people in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendo Counties who only got that first evacuation and many won't have a home to go home to!

Sonoma County
Oct 15, 2017 - 09:45am PT
Thx for the update footie. I was worried about you and your family yesterday.
Let me know when you start doing land rehab and erosion control work. I'd love to help out.

Much better day today. Cal fire will be aggressively attacking these active areas in Sonoma and oakmont today.
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