Light/Breezes

Light/Breezes
SUNRISE AT DEATH VALLEY-Photo by Tom Cochrun

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Heroic

photo by SLOSTRINGER
extraordinary
    17 Helicopters continue to fly into harms way as they battle the Chimney fire that has now grown to 37 thousand acres. They are part of a small army at war with an unpredictable fire.
photo by EPN564
     The shot above is part of the staging area in Paso Robles for the Cal Fire army. 
     3,983 firefighters are on duty. They are equipped with 326 engines, 107 total crews, 7 air tanker planes, 62 water tenders and 46 dozers. Coordination and communication itself is an extraordinary task. Firefighters from around California answer the call. 
     The logistics of attacking wildfire are vexing-whom to put where and in what role. There is a meteorologist on duty, for example, as the fire creates its own weather. The air temperature along the borders of the fire will range from 70 to 90 degrees and the humidity wildly fluctuates as well. The heat of the burning scrub, trees and grasslands mix with different microclimates and the fire behaves erratically. 
     Signs, social media posts, conversations and letters to editors by central coast residents praise the firefighters and offer prayers and other encouragement. These men and women do long and extended hours of dangerous hard work and many of them have been moved from other fires. Some go weeks without being home or seeing family.
     The statistic sighted are according the AM Cal Fire incident report. As of this morning 1,830 structures are threatened in the Lake Nacimiento to Lake San Antonio area.
     
      As the fire has tracked north in the last several hours the threat to Hearst Castle has lessened. But crews remain deployed on the Castle grounds and all tourist activity has been stopped.
      As seen below a Kern County Unit assess the situation at the Castle. 
    As long as winds permit the 7 air tankers continue to route over the central coast and drop retardant. Coordinating their flights and those of the 17 helicopters is also a challenge.

 photo by Joe Johnston San Luis Obispo Tribune
 photo Captain Lucas Spelman Cal Fire
photo Captain Lucas Superman Cal Fire
    There is a frightening edge to a large fire that grows so rapidly. The graphic below prepared by Joe Tarica of the San Luis Obispo Tribune shows how it has grown day by day.

        As noted previously, we watch and wait. We also admire those thousands on the front line.
      We also appreciate the work of journalists and free lancer SLOSTRINGER for their efforts to keep us informed.

      See you down the trail.

12 comments:

  1. For your sake it's good that the fire is burning away from Cambria. The picture of the staging area made me think "Let's see now, where did I park my car?"

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  2. Not sure how they handle dinner hour. Hope they've brought in enough portapotties-or as they are called here-Honey Huts.

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  3. My firefighter client's "emergency kit" contained not only his gear but a sleeping bag, back backing pad, emergency rations and two boxes of batteries for his flashlights and two way radios. And he ad two huge jugs for drinking water and a camel pack. They are dedicated and hardworking guys and gals.

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  4. It sounds like the firefighters are finally getting a handle on this one with much work left to do. Take care.

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    1. Thanks. We'll try to keep everyone posted.

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  5. How much; how many time and seasons can California or any state, WA and MT, go through this, each season? Is this the norm, do we now have to budget for 500% more in the USFS and state forest service fire fighting budget? Few of the fires up here get national press; they don't burn as many homes (we don't have as many), and some are left too just burn out, no intervention.
    i
    But if this is the new norm, how do we deal with it? Building zones, codes, insurance, etc. It seems we are hoist on our own petard, that of population and technology that has outstripped nature's ability to adjust.

    Where does one go from there, eh? It seems we are into Jonathan Swift's territory, huh? Modest Proposal and all that.

    cheers,
    Mike

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    1. I've been wondering that as well. Seems like a national service Fire Corp might make sense. Better forest management also is a must. And as a USGS scientist told me once, we build and desire to live in areas that we should not--volcano flow areas, fault lines, river basins, along shores prone to storms and etc.

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  6. 3,983 firefighters. 37,000 acres. That's about 9 heroes per acre. I have Cal-Fire people among my relatives and wish we could increase that concentration. I join hope for their success and safe return.

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    1. Thanks Geo. Your relatives who are doing service with Cal-Fire are among the heroes.

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  7. BEST WISHES TO YOU FOLKS UP IN CAMBRIA AREA. WE HAVE A BAD ONE, TOO, DOWN HERE IN SANTA BARBARA AREA.

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  8. Hope you fared well. Thanks for the best wishes.
    We played a 30 game tourney on Saturday, dedicated it to Bud Goff. You would have enjoyed it. And then you too spend the next couple of days tired like the rest of us.

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