Tuesday, September 1, 2009


There are some yearly perks when you live in the foothills of Southern California; July 4th fireworks, the Academy Awards, the Rose Bowl.......all great stuff (did I forget the occasional mudslides and earthquakes?). I live in northern So Cal, basically in a bowl made from mountain ranges, and once a year, we get forest fires. This time, at least so far, I am out of the woods, if you will permit a very poor choice of words.

Twice in the last five years I have had them close enough...well, almost close enough to feel the heat. Been in a voluntary evacuation, and had my community closed to traffic (I found a way to get in). I have witnessed water dropping helicopters refilling from a lake at a local golf course, and last year I witnessed a DC-10 make a water drop, which was incredible to see such a huge (and I do mean HUGE) plane flying so close to ground.
If you have never experienced a forest fire up close, you have never witnessed one of the most out of control, living breathing monsters of nature known to man. A forest fire goes wherever it wants, as fast as it can find something to burn, and given a gust of wind, reverse course at the drop of a dime. But let me tell you, the fires we have going this time are as awesome and out of control as I have ever witnessed. Not only tremendous in scope, but it is burning in a path that is virtually impenetrable to man, other than by aircraft.
It is the first week and it has destroyed 53 structures and over 100,000 acres. The forest service guesstimates they have it 5% contained, and full containment may take over two more weeks. Surely this inferno will wreak its devistation on a wide swath of land, and unfortunately take more than its share of structures. This folks, is the real thing.
Watch the video to see what I mean. It is time lapsed, takes 6 minutes, and incorporates an early 24 hours of its living, breathing destruction.

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