Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fire Update

Now that the fire situation is improving, I thought I'd post an update.

Apparently the Tea Fire in Montecito was accidentally started after students lit a bonfire during the night. (Must have been Wed. night.) They left thinking they'd put it out, but when the winds kicked up, they blew up some smoldering embers, and before it was all over, 210 homes had been destroyed. Apparently there was no malicious intent, just carelessness. Lighting a fire, for any reason, in in our dry So. Calif. hills is seldom a good idea. (Note I incorrectly referred to this as the Tea Light Fire in comments to my previous post.)

The Sayre fire in Sylmar is not about 85% contained after it blackened over 11,000 acres and destroyed more than 600 structures, including 480 mobile homes in one park. App. 10,000 had to be evacuated at one time and one civilian was injured. At this time, the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Now for the local fire, which I thought was the Triangle Complex Fire, but is sometimes called the Freeway Complex Fire... (The word complex refers to multiple fires in close proximity and the other two descriptive words come from the fact that most of the fire was contained in a triangle formed by the 91 Freeway on the south, the 57 Freeway on the west, and the 71 freeway on the east. The latter two roads run diagonally and almost meet at the 60, created a rough triangle.)*

The fire is now completely contained after destroying 187 homes and damaging 130 more. Over 30,000 acres in four counties were burned, making this the largest of the three fires by far. Fourteen minor injuries were reported by fire fighters. The cause of the fire is still undetermined, though there's some speculation that it could have been started by a catalytic-converter. Arson is unlikely since the fire started so close to a well-traveled freeway. One of my friends saw the fire in its early stages and I'll post her comments if she gives me permission.

It's a great relief to know the fires are contained, or nearly so, but I'm sure that's little comfort to those who lost their homes.


* Slate Magazine has a great article explaining How Wildfires Get Their Names, written by Daniel Engber.

My friend, Dr. Debra Holland, posted her fire experiences on her website. Look under News.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Town Monday: On Fire

UPDATE AND CORRECTION, 6:15PM: The name of the Orange County fire is the Triangle Complex Fire, not the Freeway Triangle Fire. My mistake. At this time, the winds are somewhat quieter and mandatory evacuation orders have been listed. A lot of damage has already been done, however. On a personal note, my DH and I are not near the fire areas, though a good friend of mine is entirely too close for comfort.

As I'm sure you're all aware, Southern California has been on fire since Thursday night when the first big one occurred in Montecito, south of Santa Barbara. Next came the Sayre fire in Sylmar and Newhall Pass in LA County. Then it was Orange County's turn. The fire, now being called the Freeway Triangle Fire, started in Corona in Riverside County but quickly moved westward along the 91 Freeway into Yorba Linda before jumping the freeway into Anaheim Hills. Another fire broke out in Brea which is now spreading north into Diamond Bar. At this point six-seven communities and four counties are involved. I know this is confusing to people in other areas, but the Orange County Register has a great fire map to show the extent of the disaster.

Everything seemed fine at 9:30AM on Saturday morning when I went to my readers group meeting, but when we got out at 11:00, the winds had kicked up and we could smell smoke was in the air. By early afternoon, air quality had dramatically changed with the smoke casting an orange pall over everything. These two photos were taken about 1:30PM.

Though California is known for earthquakes, our annual fires are more destructive. Fall is when we get the dreaded Santa Ana winds, dry winds that sweep out of the desert, through the canyons and into Southern California. Sometimes they're hot, as they are now, and sometimes cold, but always extremely dry and dangerous. The origin of the word is uncertain but according to the Los Angeles Almanac via Wikipedia the derivation may come from "the Spanish vientos de Satán ("winds of Satan") otherwise known as devil winds. Once the Santa Anas start, humidity plunges into the 5-10% range and it only takes a spark to set our chaparral-covered hills on fire.

Governor Schwarzeneggar came to visit Sunday morning and led a press conference. Over 10,000 acres have burned, a number that is sure to rise. Anaheim Mayor Pringle spoke and said that my city alone had lost over 100 residential units already, including condos and apartments, another number that may rise. The city of Yorba Linda has lost over 70 homes. 1,260 firefighters, 15 helicopters and 10 air tankers have been fighting the fire, with seven minor injuries.

The only good news is that the winds should change in the next couple of days, usually accompanied by a rise in humidity. I hope the firefighters can get a handle on the fire soon and that no one else loses their home. My heart goes out to those who already have.


Click here for Yahoo's slide of fire pictures.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Scorpio

Scorpio was a recent Urban Word of the Day, which reminded me I'm late with my monthly astrology post. Here's the Urban Dictionarydefinition of the word:

Scorpios are sensual, sexy and mesmerizing. they're loyal and sweet to the very end. they're highly intelligent have a quick wit. All the Scorpios I know are adventurous, curious and very loving.

damn that wendy girl is hot! she must be a scorpio!

In astrological circles, Scorpio definitely has a reputation as one of the sexier signs. Scorpio's passion is legendary, and not just in matters of the heart. Your average Scorpio will throw himself into whatever interests him with abandon. (Like her or not, after this year's primary election, I doubt anyone will dispute Scorpio Hillary Clinton's passion for politics.) Scorpio intensity can be either intimidating or mesmerizing and can be used for good or ill. Consider the fact that Billy Graham, Leon Trotsky and Senator Joseph McCarthy were all Scorpios. One used his powers of persuasion to bring people to God, one to foment revolution and the latter conducted a modern-day witch hunt. All were forces to be reckoned with.

Other famous Scorpios
include Sarah Bernhardt, Charles Atlas, Johnny Carson, Kevin Kline, Pablo Picasso, Jaclyn Smith, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Jonas Salk, John Cleese, Bill Gates, Richard Dreyfuss, Winona Ryder, Kate Jackson, Truman Capote, Henry Winkler, Harry Hamlin, Dan Rather, Steven Crane, Larry Flint, Marie Antoinette, Burt Lancaster, Pat Buchanan, sex researcher Shere Hite, Roseanne Arnold, Will Rogers, Loretta Swit, Vivian Leight, Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon, Tatum O'Neal, Sally Field, Maria Shriver, Marie Curie, Albert Camus, Bill Graham, Katherine Hepburn, Bonnie Raitt, Hedy Lamarr, Richard Burton, General George Patton, Kurt Vonegut, Demi Moore, Grace Kelly, Whoopi Goldberg, Prince Charles, Ed Asner, Rock Hudson, Martin Scorsese, Martin Luther, Indira Gandhi, Ted Turner, Jody Foster, Robert F. Kennedy and Presidents James K Polk, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, and Warren G. Harding.

My apologies to my Scorpio friends for being late with this post and to all my blogger friends for not visiting their blogs as often. I hope to get back to regular blogging some day soon. The back is improving, but it's a slow process.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tricks, Not Treats, in Anaheim

I've lived in the same house for 22 years and my husband has lived here nearly 30 years. We seldom give out candy on Halloween night, and we've never had any repercussions - until last night.

About 7:40PM last evening, we heard something hit the house. By the time we got to the door, no one was in sight, but the house had been egged. In the morning we found a printed sign that read "Give out candy next time, Ass-hole". We saw other signs up and down the street, but don't know if anyone else's house was egged or not. This makes me a lot less inclined to give out candy next time. I won't be blackmailed by a bunch of punks!

Hope your Halloween was more fun than ours.