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Latest California Wildfires Caused by People Activity

On our way into Crestline last Sunday we saw a few areas that had been burned from the fires four years ago, but we did not go through the areas where the most recent fires raged for days–and which are actually still smoldering. We are so blessed that from any window in our home, we do not see burned areas–either blackened hillsides or remnants of homes. A short drive away, though, the landscape is littered with such grim relics.

On Monday evening we had dinner with Ken and Nancy and Ken told us of a discussion he had recently had with a firefighter. “The fires came close to taking Crestline. We stopped it just as it came over the ridge, but had we not been able to contain it there, it would have been dreadful.” Crestline sets in a bowl, surrounded by alpine forest. “All we could have done would be to chase it, had it advanced any further,” the fireman told Ken.

We’re thankful that our community was spared, and feel dreadful about those hundreds who lost their homes. All the mountain communities have rallied with benefit dinners, donations and all kinds of support.

The Santa Ana’s were in the forecast when we were home for Thanksgiving, and they did blow to some degree, but worsened yesterday. Now there is another big fire in Malibu, which experts say was caused by human activity, although they have not yet determined whether it was accidental or deliberate. There is well-founded anger in communities such as ours where arsonists are known to have started fires, that I fear for their lives if some people came upon them setting fires. It is a dreadful thing–both the fires and the thought that many of them are deliberately set.

It has upset our wildlife, too, as is seen in the AP photo taken yesterday, for of course much of their habitat has been destroyed. Last week, on the street just below us, a neighbor spotted a bobcat. Although it is known we have a few cats, they are almost never sighted.

Malibu wildfires thanksgiving weekend smoke pch

AP photo from Malibu fire

My prayers are with the residents of Malibu today.

EDIT: 1:40 PDT MALIBU, Calif., Nov 25 (Reuters) – Firefighters gained the upper hand on Sunday against a fierce wildfire that destroyed 49 homes in the exclusive beachside community of Malibu, where residents were allowed to return and assess the damage.

The fire, which officials said was the worst to strike Malibu in 15 years, was the second there in just over a month. It had lost much of its power with dying Santa Ana winds and was 40 percent contained by Sunday afternoon. The flames no longer threatened homes in the enclave hugging the Pacific Ocean and some firefighters and air support personnel were sent home, though officials said it was too early to declare victory.

EDIT: Monday morning

Nov 26, 6:20 AM (ET)

By THOMAS WATKINS

(AP) Two automobiles destroyed by a wildfire lie near Corral Canyon Road as the sun glistens off the…
Full Image
 

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) – Favorable weather and an aerial assault helped firefighters make progress against a blaze that destroyed dozens of homes along winding canyon roads, the second major fire here in as many months.

A cool breeze blowing in from the Pacific Ocean kept temperatures low and moisture levels high Sunday, while 30 aircraft repeatedly dropped fire retardant and water that snuffed out most of the flames.

The fire was 70 percent contained after burning more than 4,720 acres. Fire officials said they hope to have the blaze under control by Monday.

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My devotional blog is here.

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Massive Fires Continue to Scorch Southern California

Edit: 1:35 pm On a rimoftheworld Google group, I saw that G Walters at 12:17 pm wrote:

“From Lake Gregory parking lot, the fire has made it halfway down the ridge.”

This is disappointing news for were we looking through our living room glass, we would see those flames. It is not far from our home.

Edit: 3:50 pm  On another rimoftheworld Google Group, at 2:12 DrHethc posted more encouraging news:

“The local fire departments and some from Rancho and Upland are fighting very hard in this area and feel that they will save Crestline! Do not give up hope and do not listen and believe everything you hear in the news. Our firefighters are going to save our town and your homes.”

I believe it!

Overnight the situation has worsened in southern California. Yesterday, I wrote about our area being threatened, and now evacuation is mandatory in our home town of Crestline. The devilish Santa Ana Winds continue to rage. California is scorched from the Mexico border to Santa Barbara, nearly 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Rimoftheworld.net is a site where all the mountain communities blog, communicate, advertise etc. Now the site is down, except to post emergency and fire updates. I’ve posted some information from that source.

The national guard has been called in and President Bush has declared the area a disaster area. There are reports of looting, and possibly arsonists. Observers have described the scene as, “Armageddon, The End of the World, Nuclear Winter.” All residents of the area are encouraged to stay home, off the freeways, and to refrain from using cell phones as much as possible. All schools in the mountains are closed, as are many others.

Qualcomm in San Diego is making a plea for donations to house and feed those who have taken refuge in that stadium. Ten thousand people are reported to be sheltered there.

My family, friends and neighbors are safe, although many of them have been forced to leave their homes.

7:45 Edit Jerry just talked with our son Steve who flew into the San Diego airport at 11:00 last evening. He and Dearrah were up all night and have their truck packed with valuables and documents in case they must be evacuated. Parts of their area, Bonita, has been evacuated. Some of the people in their church have had to leave their homes, and are using the church as a shelter.

8:00 Edit Melina’s mom is scheduled for cancer surgery this morning in San Bernardino. Originally Mike was going to fly him and Mel over, but could not because of the winds, so they had planned to drive this morning. Mel’s parents called and encouraged them not to try to go over, for the roads are absolutely jammed and dangerous. Mel’s mom has not even been able to make it to the hospital herself. It’s still all up in the air. Mike and Mel are still here in Lake Havasu waiting for word from her parents.

Emergency Center

Mandatory evacuations are now in effect for Crestline, Twin Peaks, North Lake Arrowhead, Crest Park, Skyforest, Rimforest, Running Springs, Arrowbear Lake, and Green Valley Lake. Voluntary evacuations are in effect for Cedar Glen, South Lake Arrowhead, Valley of Enchantment and Cedarpines Park.

Fire Has Reportedly Jumped Highway 330 In Running Springs

Update 6:50 AMLake Arrowhead – As water pressure dropped and the fire approachd Grass Valley late Monday, firefighters struggled to keep up with the flames as the water system failed multiple times. One resident remained along Sonoma Drive and managed to save his home and a few neighboring homes by extinguishing spot fires with a shovel. However, many homes along Sonoma Drive burned, especially along the northern end near Del Norte, according to an email. Firefighters are making their way back into the community and assessing the damage and their options, according to secondhand reports.

The fire has jumped to the south and west of Highway 330 just below Live Oak Drive in Running Springs, according to the CHP. Meanwhile spot fires and flare ups may have endangered more homes in the Grass Valley area as crews struggle to rescue horses. Law enforcement officials are still receiving reports of a suspicious white pickup truck with 10 to 15 Hispanic males in the truck bed. There have been several reports of open doors in the area.

What are Santa Ana Winds?

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America California Church Culture Life My Family My Home Photography Social Weather/Nature

Fire Threatens My Home

Those of you who follow my blog know Jerry and I are temporarily living in Lake Havasu, Az, and that we maintain our home in Crestline which is in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. You may be aware that at this moment much of California is burning, including parts of San Diego where two of our sons and many friends and other relatives live. A few minutes ago we learned that in the last few hours fires have sprung up in our mountains, and that all roads to our home are now closed. The residents of the near-by community of Lake Arrowhead have been ordered to evacuate. Jerry just spoke with our neighbor Nancy who says the area is smoke filled and they are preparing themselves in case they too must evacuate. Late Sunday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in seven Southern California counties.

Anonymous submission to uReport@FOXNews.com

San Diego County Officials Order Mass Evacuations Ahead of Raging Wildfires

Hundreds of hospital, nursing home patients evacuated in San Diego as blaze approaches.

 

Four years ago when we were gone from our home, deadly fires raged through our area, and at that time Crestline was evacuated for eight days. (Edit: “It’s worse than the fire four years ago,” said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire Rescue Department.”) Andrew had just gone from our home when the fires turned toward our place and the evacuation was ordered. He tried to get back to our home for pictures and documents, but was turned away. I have written at other times about challenges from fires in southern California and the involvement of arsonists in these tragedies. Here I wrote about firefighters who gave their lives to fight the Esperanza fire.

  This is just over the mountain from our home.

I recall dealing at that time with the thought of losing our home, as I do now. The only irreplaceable things of course are pictures and other mementos. Houses can be rebuilt and new furniture ordered, but the losing of our pictures would cause me deep grief. But I really don’t think that is going to happen. Although the whole area is threatened, chances are excellent that the fires will not reach our home or the homes of my family.

Let us remember those who today have lost their homes, though, and for the others who will. “Many people will lose their homes today,” a fireman just spoke over the radio. A couple of hours ago I listened as pastor, Greg Hughes, told of seeing his church burned to the ground. My prayers are with that pastor and his congregation.

Edit 12:20 Monday The source of the problem are Santa Ana Winds which are unusually strong this year.

Southern California wildfires blamed on unusual Santa Ana winds

By ALICIA CHANG AP Science Writer

 

 

LOS ANGELES—Wildfires breaking out across Southern California are being fueled by stronger than usual Santa Ana winds roaring out of the region’s canyons, scientists said Monday.The fires have killed at least one person, burned thousands of acres and forced hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes.

The powerful, dry winds typically blow between October and February and peak in December.

A stubborn high-pressure system over the Great Basin, the vast expanse of desert that covers much of Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho, fanned at least seven major wildfires this weekend and was expected to last through Tuesday. Typically, Santa Ana conditions last about a day.

“For it to be this strong for so many days is unusual,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

California has been bone-dry this year and many communities have imposed water use restrictions.

Edit 4:30 pm Monday: Our neighbors, Ken and Nancy, have evacuated, although it is not mandated yet in Crestline.

Our son Andrew, his wife and children are stranded in Modesto because the highways to their home in San Diego are blocked because of the fires.

Edit 9:00 pm Monday: All roads into the mountains are now closed, even to residents, although evacuation in Crestline is still voluntary. Jerry just talked to Lex, one of our neighbors, who says the fire is now 3 and 1/2 miles from our house, but the wind at the moment is not blowing in our direction. Lex’s wife was working down the mountain and tried to get home, but was turned back.

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My devotional blog is here.


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