1. #1
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    Default Southern Calif Wildfires?

    I work out here near the massive wildland fires (we sent two engines). What do you guys/gals on the East coast think of the news reports and video of these large fires? Would you want to respond to something like this? If the local resources needed help would you be willing to go? I don't think you experience this type of thing there?

    There are about 1,950 firefighters on the line.
    62 hand crews
    181 engines
    9 tankers (aircraft)
    12 helos
    18 dozers
    20 water tenders

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    22 views and no replies? I think I can then guess what people think!

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    Default calif wlf

    Im from the east coast, Chesapeake Va. to be exact. we currently have six members red card certified and wanting to go put their training to use. I'm the Urban Interface Coord. for the city and willing to get some first hand experience. Mandatory overtime prohibits us from getting on the VA crew for rotation 7/19-7/29, perhaps later this yr. or next.

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    You can keep that stuff on the West Coast. The last report I heard said that the temps were supposed to be in the triple digit range this weekend, plus all that fire burning around you as you HIKE around the mountain. I don't envy ya'll one bit! Nor do I envy the folks down in Florida who get decent sized wildfires with their humidity!! Stay safe out there.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    FTMPTB15: You are so right, it isn't fun! But ya gotta admit it is pretty impressive!

    BTW, I was with the Jacksonville Volunteer Rescue Squad back in 77-78. I worked with a guy here in San Diego who was Chief of Pumpkin Center VFD way back then...

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    I am in Idaho, I have enough problems with my own wildfires without worrying about your urban-interface nightmare

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    Latest is that the two fires merged this afternoon. More resources arrived from out of State:

    New statistics for Sawtooth and Millard fires
    July 14, 8:17 p.m.
    Sawtooth:

    59,000 acres scorched.
    35 percent contained
    2,896 firefighters are involved in the battle.

    Millard:
    10,000 acres scorched.
    5 percent contained.

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    Quote Originally Posted by devildog4
    FTMPTB15: You are so right, it isn't fun! But ya gotta admit it is pretty impressive!

    BTW, I was with the Jacksonville Volunteer Rescue Squad back in 77-78. I worked with a guy here in San Diego who was Chief of Pumpkin Center VFD way back then...
    It certainly is impressive, especially the night shots of the fire.

    Pumpkin Center.. if I'm not mistaken there are two Pumpkin Center VFDs in NC! Imagine that... The in Lincoln County has some "nice" blue trucks!!
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    This one was Onslow County...

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    Then it was this one... http://pumpkincentervfd.tripod.com/

    I really feel bad for the people whose property is in danger. They showed an interview with a couple and they said, "Both of our cars are packed and ready to go, we've already decided what stays and what goes with us.." I would hate to decide what I could take with me... especially since they only had 2 small sedans!

    The only way I'd live out there (in an area prone to those huge fires) is if I had a single-wide or something mobile (an RV). If a fire comes, "Honey, back the rig on up... we're getting outta here.."
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    I must point out that with proper clearing and preparation that any house should be able to stand on its own against fire. Clearing away the flammable vegetation and watering the grass as well as making wise choices with regards to building material should make it so that no fire department intervention is necessary. IOW everyone should be responsible for his own house, not the fire department....

    Birken

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    Even with clearing flammables away from a fire-resistant structure there is always a threat. To think otherwise is naive.

    The fire department IS responsible. That is what we get paid for!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirkenVogt
    everyone should be responsible for his own house, not the fire department....
    I'm guessing that he means that everyone should be responsible for clearing the brush away from around their house and not wait for the fire department to do so while fighting a brush fire in the area. That's just what I'm guessing.. I could be wrong! I could see his point there, but I agree Devildog4.. the fire department is responsible to protect those houses, whether they took the time to clear their land or not.

    Any reports of injuries? I'm sure there have been the regular heat-related problems and dehydration issues, especially in that heat.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by devildog4
    Even with clearing flammables away from a fire-resistant structure there is always a threat. To think otherwise is naive.

    The fire department IS responsible. That is what we get paid for!
    Is the fire dept responsible? Definitely No!!!!

    You are responsible for your own life and property.

    Clear 100ft breaks around your own dwelling before the start of summer.

    Evavuation should occur well before any fire threatens or approaches.

    Bad enough driving a tanker with several hundred galls of water around a fire scene let alone a petrol powered car. How often do we find people evacuating at the last minute only to be cooked a little way down the road after they run into a tree while driving through thick smoke.
    Disclaimer
    These views are my own and not of either my brigade or any other organisation.

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    I meant the FD was responsible for fire protection EVEN IF the owner chose not to clear vegetation...

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    So I just heard on the news that another wildfire started today in CA, possibly the result of lightening. Any idea how close it is to the other large fire? They said this new fire had accessibility issues and was being fought from the air (only).
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    This is the site for the National Interagency Coordination Center

    http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/

    If you use the link at the top left it will give you the daily situation report in a pdf, this is all the large fires currently burning. It tends to run 24-48 hours behind since it relys on reports coming in from the field.
    Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 07-17-2006 at 12:49 AM.

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    I thought that in Australia you guys (blokes) often had the able-bodied occupants remain to protect their own property?

    Anyway my point of the fire department not responsible was this. If a structure is not defensible we will not defend it. If it is cleared properly then it needs no protection. Some places fall in between. Those we have to stand and protect. Which is a real problem because if those people had gone all the way and we didn't have to protect them, then we could be working at controlling the fire.

    In general, the government should not have to be responsible for protecting private property from a natural, predictable event.

    Birken

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    Quote Originally Posted by devildog4
    I meant the FD was responsible for fire protection EVEN IF the owner chose not to clear vegetation...
    My life for a house that the homeowner doesn't care enough about to make it safe for me to defend? HELL NO. Red rock it, next house.

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    THis topic brings up an interesting point .... the general attitude of the public that "I'm not responsible for firesafety".

    This goes beyond the wildfire issue where the homeowner has the choice not to choose combustable landscaping or the homeowner has the choice not to put combustable roofing and siding materials on thier house. If the homeowner chooses not to maintain a defensible space around thier house, i agree that they should be allowed to burn and the FD should concentrate thier efforts on the properties that HAVE attempted to mimimize issue and give us a chance to protect the property.

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    Additionally, the homeowner has the choice and responsibility not to locate their house at the top of a chute, chimney, south slope or other indefensible aspect in the first place. It is entirely possible to build and landscape in such a manner that a house needs no defense whatsoever. It may sound like pie in the sky but that should be the end goal and no, not through government regulation but by individual responsibility (which means individual loss). I will continue to protect the property of those who need it, but always with my own safety and the above in mind.

    Birken

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    I have not been involved in an interface fire situation requiring "residence triage", but every time I go through the training I think... What if you drove around your district BEFORE a big wildfire happened and triaged the homes? Would a homeowner take note of the dreaded 'X' in front of their home and make the required changes, once it was explained to them that the X means your home is considered undefendable and will be passed over by fire crews? Or would they still decide that the asthetics of their shingles, overhanging trees, wood piles, and curved driveway are worth it?
    -------;- "Aaaaa!!"
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    CDF does inspections for this sort of thing though they don't place an X there, but they do have the power to cite and fine I think. I don't agree with that practice but nevertheless I don't believe it is too effective anyway. Most people are either just plain lazy or are so busy working their second and third job to pay for that ski boat around here, to bother with their houses since they figure that's "our job."

    From time to time we find ourselves in a situation where we are able to tell a homeowner, if there was a fire, your house would burn. We tell them what to do to get their house into some sort of shape but for the most part, I don't think they much care for one reason or another.

    Birken

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    I wish I could provide a citation. Maybe some of you know about this.

    When I was back at the NFA, someone mentioned there had been lawsuits involving lost houses due to wildland fires.

    Fire department went through the neighborhood, identified the houses they could defend and the ones they couldn't. Did the X thing on the undefensible houses. The homeowners with X's, who lost their homes, got together and sued. Their position was the fire department was responsible for the loss because they made no effor to save their home and pre-determined that it will burn down. They must have had a good lawyer and a sympathetic jury because they won.

    A couple guys in my class said as a result that their departments no longer mark the homes in anyway to identify which ones they will try to save and which ones they can't. That way there is no evidence for the lawyers to photograph.

    Can anyone point me towards a more definitive source, or a case where the fire department successfully beat this kind of suit?

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    Sounds like a simple solution to the problem. Just make sure everybody knows not to create any incriminating evidence. No matter what lawsuits, nobody is going to try to defend a house that is indefensible. That is just suicide and a waste of resources.

    Birken

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