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.


chaunacey said...

Two of the folks injured in the Tea Fire are friends of Mark and I. It's scary how a little fun can turn into having two people at UCIMC for 2nd and 3rd degree burns. :(

Travis Erwin said...

Thanks for the update.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Oh, no, Chaunacey, I'm so sorry to hear about your friends. I sincerely hope they'll be all right. That was a bad fire.


RhondaL said...

Chauncey, I hope your friends heal well. I'm so sorry to hear of their injuries. How terrible.

Kathleen Rowland said...

Linda, the firemen in Anaheim were frustrated that they were out of water. I saw a photo of them looking horribly frustrated. There might be a law suit, homeowners verses water department. -Kathleen Rowland

Linda McLaughlin said...

Kathleen, I'd heard about the water problems. Yorba Linda was affected, too. I hope they figure out what went wrong and fix it before there's another fire.