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Fire Containment in Sight

Dan Long, left, and Tom Ramsey, barbecue hot dogs 24 October 2007

Support during this ghastly days has been tremendous. These men barbecued hot dogs for Lake Arrowhead wildfire evacuees at a Red Cross evacuation centre.

Fire Progress in our Mountains

Edit: 7:55

Crestline Evacuation May Lift Today

Update 7:18 AM KTLA news is reporting that residents with proof of residence address will be allowed to return to Crestline after 9:00 AM this morning. Residents will need a photo ID and proof of address (such as a driver’s license, utility or tax bill), and will be issued a re-entry pass. To obtain a re-entry pass, residents should go to the checkpoints set up on 40th Street and Waterman Avenue in San Bernardino, or Highway 138 at Lake Silverwood. It was not stated if this includes Cedarpines Park and Valley of Enchantment residents also.

Firefighters continued to cut a line around both the Slide and Grass Valley Fires overnight as calm winds, cooler temperatures, and slightly higher humidities slowed the progress of the fires. Evacuated residents, tired from the ordeal and the worrying and the hoping and the dashed hopes, were hungry for information about lost homes and when they will be able to return home to their communities. Tired from sleepless nights, rumors of lifted evacuations frustrated residents when they discovered they were unfounded. But, today — a year after the horrible loss of five firefighters during the arson-sparked Esparanza Fire — firefighters are hopeful about significant progress on both fire fronts. Unconfirmed reports indicate that firefighters expect full containment of the Grass Valley Fires by Sunday.

Grass Fire Now 70% Contained; Slide Now 15% Contained

Firefighters have made significant progress with both mountain fires. At 8 PM, the Grass Fire was reported to be 70% contained. “Firefighters continue to make good progress on line construction in the Miller Canyon drainage as well as mop up in the northern and eastern flanks of the fire,” said fire officials. “Damage assessment teams were able to enter the area yesterday, reporting no additional structures burned, details to be released soon. Large scale evacuations and road closures remain in effect surrounding the entire perimeter of the fire area.” Containment has begun on the Slide Fire with 15% of the 11,675 acre fire contained. “Firefighters report moderate fire intensity surface fire, backing, occasional torching, and short-range spotting,” said fire officials. “Additional structures were reported lost yesterday, with structure protection continuing along Highway 18 and Green Valley. Damage assessment teams are starting to work in the area to provide details on structures destroyed, with dangerous access due to continued fire activity. Fire perimeter containment efforts slow due to rough terrain, heavy vegetation and high density residential properties intermixed with bug killed timber.

Last evening this was reported:

A Forest Service truck spotted a red pickup truck at Circle View Drive and Wilderness Drive in Running Springs (correction) with a shovel and container of gas in the bed. They are pursuing the vehicle and law enforcement is en route. This area is under mandatory evacuation. Witnesses also reported another suspicious vehicle in their neighborhood in Valley of Enchantment. Law enforcement has been notified.

And in San Diego:

 

 

Rigoberto and Bernardina Rozco wait in the Temecula Community recreation centre 23 October 2007

Around a million people have been forced to leave their homes as the fires have caused havoc in southern California.

 

 

Tents in the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, 24 October 2007

The San Diego area has been hit hardest, with makeshift shelters set up for 300,000 people, including these tents in the stands at the Qualcomm Stadium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAN DIEGO – One by one, the neighbors returned to the cul-de-sac at the end of Valladares Drive.

The Lyons home: gone. The Chaya home: ashes. The Bostwick home: leveled. The Dela Cruz home: unrecognizable.

“I’m so sorry,” Therese Dela Cruz, 24, told each of her neighbors as they came home on Thursday afternoon to confirm that a wildfire had virtually wiped their end of the street off the map.

More here.

And so the days are better. Containment is in sight. Rebuilding will begin. For all God’s mercies we are grateful. For those who have endured extensive loss, we grieve.

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My devotional is here.

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America California Uncategorized

Suspected Arsonist Shot and Killed in California Fires

In a few minutes, an airport van will be picking me up here at my motor home in Lake Havasu, where I’ll travel to Las Vegas, then fly to Portland. I’ll be there until Saturday for a conference.

Andrew made it home from the north last night, and all seems well with our home in Crestline. There are additional evacuations this morning in the San Diego area.

In our area, a suspected arsonist was shot and killed. Such a sad thing.

Not sure how much posting I will be able to do today.

Again, thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. Let’s keep praying.

Edit: 9:38 am standing in line to board at airport at McCarren airport in Las Vegas. My flight is scheduled to leave at 9:55…barely made it.

Edit: 12:17 pm Smooth, uneventful flight from Las Vegas to Portland. I’m on my way to baggage, saw a place that looked like it would have wi-fi connection, and voila…here I am.

Edit: 2:55 pm I’ve been picked up from the airport, fed lunch at a delightful Mexican restaurant and am now ensconced in what will be my dwelling place until Saturday. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Right now I want to give you a bit of an update concerning the fires and how they are affecting my family.

Update 2:00 PM from the Mountain Fires

According to the Crest Forest Fire District, “the two major threats to the Crestline, Twin Peaks areas have been significantly mitigated. Agencies involved are working on creating a re-entry plan for the safe areas of Crestline.” RIMOFTHEWORLD.net will provide updates on this as they develop. Or, you can contact the Mountain Area Safety Task Force (MAST) at (909) 355-8800 or the USFS Information Line at (909) 881-6949 for updated recorded information.

The Slide fire still has no containment. Officials are waiting for “critical resource needs” to be met before containment steps can begin, according to CAL Fire. The communities of Live Oak, Smiley Park, Running Spring, Arrowbear Lake, Snow Valley, and Deer Lick are all threatened, as well as The Cavalry Chapel Camp, The National Children’s Forest, The Forest Service Visitor’s Center, and The Nordic Rim Ski Areas.

Jerry has talked today to our sons in the San Diego area. They are both still in their homes, and all is well with them at this time.

It is reported that there are 10 fire-related deaths in San Diego County. Three died directly from the fires. Three died during evacuation. Four died after evacuation.

Weary Firemen Finally Get a Break

Picture from AP

These NASA satellite images of the wildfires show the area between Los Angeles and San Diego, California. Fire activity is denoted with red pixels. Vast plumes of thick smoke can be seen blowing out over the Pacific Ocean.

Image credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response

The first image was captured by NASA’s Terra satellite at 2:25 p.m. EST on October 23, 2007.

Image credit: NASA/MODIS Rapid Response

The second image was acquired by NASA’s Aqua satellite at 5:40 p.m. EST, just over three hours later.

3:20 NON-FIRE EDIT 🙂

The trees here in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, are stunningly beautiful. I elected not to bring my camera as I had books and other things to deal with. A mistake, I knew as soon as I saw these streets lined with gold and red and amber leaves. Some of the lawns are covered with the fallen leaves. I wanted my camera so badly, it made me feel sort of sick at my stomach. It is that beautiful.

So, when I talked to Jerry telling him I had arrived safely, and how absolutely beautiful it is today, I said, “I must have my camera.” Michael is coming here tomorrow, and Jerry’s taking my camera to him, and he’ll bring it to me. You’ll see, I’m not exaggerating as soon as I get my hands on my trusty Nikon.

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My devotional blog is here.

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America Courage Culture Goodness of man Grief My Family My Home Photography Social The World Weather/Nature

The Shock and Awe of California Wildfires

 

 

‘We can’t stop it’

Officials all but concede defeat to wildfires as estimated 1 million evacuate

California wildfirePicture and headline from MSNBC Wednesday morning

“It’s like a bomb went off. It’s like shock and awe. It is shock and awe,” says Kim Wurm.

From her home, she spoke of the fires in the mountain areas of Running Springs and Lake Arrowhead where more than 200 homes have burned. Picture from LATimes

I’m taking this moment to honor the brave heroes of the hour: our firefighters. Because of them my home and the homes of my sons and my daughter are still standing. Because of them my irreplaceable pictures are intact, my important documents preserved, my old books and treasured items from our 51 years of marriage are safe. I salute their raw courage, their valor, their strength and commitment. I pray for renewed energy for them today as they continue the fight against these horrendous fires.

Edit Wednesday 8:15 am: It is reported that exhausted firemen are throwing down sleeping bags on the lawns of homes to get rest. God bless them and renew their strength.

Edit Wednesday 10:20 am: sw@line6.com says: The signal at my
folk’s house was strong, which they said is a very good sign that the house is still standing. If you are interested in checking your lines
call Verizon repair at 800 483 1000.

Edit 5:00 pm Wednesday Mountain Area Update

Note: Crestline is in the Grass Fire Area, still not contained at all, although the winds have shifted, and our home at this point is safe.

Update 4:30 PM

As of 4 PM, fire officials report that the Grass Fire is 30% contained and the Slide Fire is still at 0%. The Grass Fire has burned about 1,000 acres and was primarily burning within its perimeter today with little expansion. The Slide Fire continues to grow and has burned just over 10,000 acres. A volunteer firefighter who fought the blaze in Green Valley Lake and Running Springs said that for every one house there were unable to save, firefighters managed to save five. The fire has burned down Highway 330 to near the middle passing lane and 1N09.

A number of residents have been reportedly hiking up to reach the mountain communities or trying to use unauthorized roads. Please remember that this is a dangerous fire and can change rapidly. In 2003, a resident died while trying to hike up from Silverwood Lake after falling into a ravine. Please give law enforcement and fire officials the time and space to ensure safety and protect property.

Report from the Crestline, Lake Arrowhead area

Fire Operations Enters Second Night

Update 2:45 AMFire operations have entered a second night after a devastating two days for the mountain communities. Best estimates indicate that at least 300 homes have been destroyed between Green Valley Lake and Twin Peaks, with the greatest loss of property in the Running Springs area today. Mixed reports of homes and businesses lost have frustrated and confused residents and business-owners. Meanwhile, the fire continues to threaten and destroy homes and businesses.

While firefighters are risking their lives trying to save homes, there have been dozens of reports of looters across the mountains. Deputies have not been able to confirm many of the reports, but there have been some arrests. Even worse, authorities made an arrest of a motorcyclist who was allegedly witnessed trying to start an arson fire near Camp Seely on Tuesday evening.On Tuesday evening the Slide Fire advanced through much of the Rowco neighborhood of Running Springs, as well as Fredalba and Smiley Park. The fire reached as far east as Mount R and westward to between Heaps Peak and Nob Hill. Reports of structures lost poured into dispatchers as strained resources were rendered helpless.

Edit: 7:30 am Fox News just reported that 400 homes in this area have now been lost. A suspected arsonist has just been arrested.

Edit: 10:45 am

According to John Miller of the US Forest Service, the westward advance of the Slide Fire stalled overnight. Flames got as far west as Heaps Peak between the waste transfer station and the radio towers. The front to the south of Green Valley Lake has moved toward Highway 18 and Snow Valley. It was less than 1/4 mile from the highway.

In the Running Springs area, catastrophic fire activity burned through Fredalba and Smiley Park with widespread losses. The fire burned along the southern edge of Running Springs, eastward, to the Rimwood Ranch area.

With an evergrowing air force of fixed wing, rotary wing, and jet tankers, fire officials are gearing up for a massive assault. Miller stated that super scooper aircraft and other resources are being moved into California from other states and Canada.

Picture of firemen in our area Courtesy of LATimes

This DC 10 is used to drop water onto the fires in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The skies over Crestline and the other mountain areas are a constant roar as these helicopters fly over, drop water, then return to Lake Gregory to suck up more water.

Pictures of planes from Ray’s public gallery.

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My devotional blog is here.

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America California Friends Goodness of man Home Life My Family My Home Photography Social The World

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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