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    Angry What Is It With People?

    Brush Fire Scorches LA Park

    Helicopters Rushed To Landmark Park Near Hollywood

    POSTED: 2:34 am EDT May 9, 2007
    UPDATED: 9:31 am EDT May 9, 2007

    LOS ANGELES -- A fierce wildfire roared through hundreds of acres of brush in the city's sprawling Griffith Park late Tuesday, forcing residents to evacuate neighborhoods along its southern boundary.

    Orange flames roiling from the rugged wilderness in the midst of the nation's second-largest city eerily lit up the night sky as winds suddenly stoked the blaze at dusk, hours after it erupted in the hills above Hollywood.

    Helicopters flew dangerous water-dropping missions after dark and no homes had been lost to the 600-acre blaze by late night, but there were reports that one may have been damaged.

    "A very significant stop was made on the fire on the south end where the homes were located, interim Fire Chief Douglas L. Barry told reporters, citing the combined work of aircraft and ground crews.

    The fire "laid down" and it was hoped an aggressive attack in the morning would bring it under control sometime Wednesday, Barry said.

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said about 300 people were evacuated but about 25 refused, "which means our police officers have to be there to protect them." He urged them to heed orders to go.

    Police officers drove through the parkside Los Feliz district ordering people out. "You need to evacuate, you need to evacuate your houses immediately," one said. "The fire is coming toward the neighborhood."

    Residents helped direct traffic through tight neighborhood streets.

    "I was just able to get a few things," said Ed Stephan, 83, who helped his wife into their car as ashes fell from the sky. "We're not too worried but want to get out of here and observe the law."

    An evacuation center was set up at a high school, where students were helping, the mayor said.

    The fire destroyed Dante's View, a trailside terraced garden on Mount Hollywood, said City Councilman Tom LaBonge. "This is a very sad night for Los Angeles," he said.

    The blaze was one of several burning in Southern California as record heat and single-digit humidity levels made region already parched by an extremely dry winter ripe for conflagration. Less serious blazes burned to the east in San Bernardino County and to the south in Orange and San Diego counties.

    Griffith Park, Los Angeles' landmark park is an urban wilderness containing cultural venues, horse and hiking trails and recreational sites on more than 4,000 acres straddling hills between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Blanketed in oaks, sage and manzanita, its peaks range up to 1,625 feet above sea level.

    In 1933 it was the site of one of nation's worst wildland firefighting tragedies, a blaze that killed 25 firefighters.

    Its major attractions -- Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Autry National Center museums, golf courses and historic 1926 merry-go-round were evacuated shortly after the fire erupted at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    Authorities were investigating whether a person discarded a cigarette at one of the park's golf courses, a law enforcement official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. The person tried to put out the fire but was badly burned and was taken to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the official said.

    At one point, flames approached firefighters near a pedestrian bridge. TV helicopters showed the scene as flames roared up a hill and the firefighters retreated under the bridge. Crews behind them tried to beat back the fire with hoses and moments later a helicopter dropped water. Fire officials said none of the firefighters were injured.

    Nearly 1,300 utility customers lost power in Los Feliz when flames downed power lines, said Department of Water and Power spokesman Joe Ramallo.

    The blaze erupted on the second day of a heat spell. The National Weather Service said downtown hit 97 degrees, 23 degrees above normal, tying the record for the date. Humidity fell to just 9 percent during the day. The region was already woefully short of moisture, with rainfall measured downtown more than 11 inches below normal.

    At the Autry National Center, which includes a museum of Western artifacts, staff threw tarps over the collections to protect them in case the sprinkler system went off, said Faith Raiguel, chief operating officer.

    "It looks really dark and evil and ominous," Brian Wotring, 35, catering manager at the museum cafe, said before jumping into his car and evacuating.

    The observatory also sent visitors and its staff home. Departing tourists stopped to take pictures of the flames.

    "It's far enough away that I don't feel threatened," said Katherine Coates, 24, of Little Rock, Ark. "Right now it's more spectacle than anything else."

    Elsewhere in the region, a 300-acre fire near California State University, San Bernardino, was 75 percent contained, the San Bernardino Fire Department said. There were no reports of damages or injuries.

    In neighboring Orange County, a 140-acre fire in Featherly Regional Park was 70 percent contained and a 1,250-acre fire on a training range at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County was 80 percent contained.

    Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.


    My question relates to this:

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said about 300 people were evacuated but about 25 refused, "which means our police officers have to be there to protect them." He urged them to heed orders to go.
    The phrase "Burn baby... burn" comes to mind. You were ordered to evacuate, then you evacuate.... I wonder what would be said if one of those police officers who stayed back had been injured or killed because he had to remain in the burn area? I think I'd be suing the homeowners who stayed. Wonder how far that would go?

    Another question: I wonder how many homeowners would stick around if the nice man in the blue uniform said "Sure you can stay. But before I go, could you please sign this waiver of entitlements that says in all likelyhood, should your house be overrun by the fire, and you or your family become injured/killed as a result, the City, County and State goverments and your personal insurance coverage are at no fault, and as such will not honour any claims for damages...."
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 05-09-2007 at 10:05 AM.
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    I tried to start a post about it, twice

    Here's another report:



    L.A. fire forces evacuation of homes, landmarks
    Firefighters cite progress near Griffith Park after 'sad night for Los Angeles'
    Image: L.A. fire.
    Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
    Los Angeles City firemen spray water from the roof of one of the houses threatened by a brush fire in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, on Tuesday.
    View related photos


    NBC News video

    Huge blaze
    May 9: Firefighters battle a blaze that's been burning through Griffith Park. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.



    MSNBC News Services
    Updated: 2 hours, 33 minutes ago

    LOS ANGELES - Firefighters made progress early Wednesday against a wildfire blazing over Dante’s View in the brush-covered hills behind the city’s iconic Griffith Observatory. Animals at the nearby Los Angeles Zoo were moved indoors, and dozens of homes were evacuated.

    The 600-acre blaze in sprawling Griffith Park was just one firefighters were battling across the nation. A wildfire in northern Minnesota has already destroyed 40 homes and buildings, and brush fires in Georgia and northern Florida have charred more than 200 square miles.

    Overnight, five helicopters flew dangerous water-dropping missions in Los Angeles, helping fire crews get the blaze about 40 percent contained.
    Story continues below ↓advertisement

    Griffith Park is a mix of wilderness, cultural sites, horse and hiking trails and recreational facilities set on more than 4,000 acres in the hills between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

    Visitors to its Greek Theatre, Observatory and the Museum of the American West were told to leave. At the Autry National Center, which includes a museum of Western artifacts, staff threw tarps over the collections to protect them in case the sprinkler system went off, said Faith Raiguel, chief operating officer.

    'Animals are faring well'
    The flames forced officials to put most of the Los Angeles Zoo’s 1,200 animals inside holding quarters.

    “So far the animals are faring fine,” said Jason Jacobs, director of marketing and public relations for the zoo. “I haven’t heard any reports of anything going wrong.”

    About 35 people who live near the park, out of an estimated 300 evacuated from nearby homes, checked in to an evacuation center at a high school.

    “I was just able to get a few things,” said Ed Stephan, 83, who helped his wife into their car as ashes fell from the sky. “We’re not too worried but want to get out of here and observe the law.”

    Authorities hoped residents would be able to return to their homes by evening.

    The fire destroyed Dante’s View, a trailside terraced garden on Mount Hollywood, said City Councilman Tom LaBonge.

    “This is a very sad night for Los Angeles,” he said.

    Discarded cigarette?
    Authorities were investigating whether the fire broke out after a person discarded a cigarette at one of the park’s golf courses, a law enforcement official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

    The person tried to put out the fire but was badly burned and was taken to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the official said.

    The blaze erupted on the second day of a heat spell. The National Weather Service said downtown hit 97 degrees, 23 degrees above normal, tying the record for the date.

    In 1933 the area was the site of one of nation’s worst wildland firefighting tragedies, a blaze that killed 25 firefighters.

    Elsewhere in the region, a 300-acre fire near California State University at San Bernardino was 75 percent contained. There were no reports of damages or injuries.

    In neighboring Orange County, a 140-acre fire in Featherly Regional Park and a 1,250-acre fire on a training range at Camp Pendleton were at least three-quarters contained.

    Evacuations in Florida
    On the East Coast, authorities evacuated about 300 homes in northern Florida as two fires totaling 130,000 acres — about 203 square miles — continued to rage on the Georgia-Florida line. Florida officials warned that they might soon need help if the blazes grow out of control.

    A 107,000-acre blaze in Georgia’s Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was called the largest blaze in state history and was nearing part of the park that has served as a fire crew command post. Another fire 10 miles away covered 40,000 acres.

    The smaller fire crossed into Florida on Tuesday and was threatening Taylor, a small town with one store and no cell phone coverage, said Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson.

    In the Midwest, a wildfire near the Canadian border in northeastern Minnesota had burned 16,266 acres since it was spotted Saturday. It destroyed around 40 buildings, including multimillion-dollar homes, and forced more than 100 people to evacuate.

    Authorities said they believe it started at a campsite just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

    “There are some houses up there where all there is left is the foundation,” said Leif Lunde of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department. No injuries were reported, but Lunde said about 30 of the burned buildings were homes or cabins.
    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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    My question relates to this:

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said about 300 people were evacuated but about 25 refused, "which means our police officers have to be there to protect them." He urged them to heed orders to go.

    The phrase "Burn baby... burn" comes to mind. You were ordered to evacuate, then you evacuate.... I wonder what would be said if one of those police officers who stayed back had been injured or killed because he had to remain in the burn area?


    And how exactly are the police officers supposed to protect them from the fire anyway? Pepper-spray the flames?

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    sts, I guess that would be the "$64,000.00 question"?
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    [B][COLOR=BLUE]Brush Fire Scorches LA Park

    Another question: I wonder how many homeowners would stick around if the nice man in the blue uniform said "Sure you can stay. But before I go, could you please sign this waiver of entitlements that says in all likelyhood, should your house be overrun by the fire, and you or your family become injured/killed as a result, the City, County and State goverments and your personal insurance coverage are at no fault, and as such will not honour any claims for damages...."
    I worked in NOLA for FEMA right after Katrina. I heard about (can't verify this) a fire chief somewhere near Biloxi, Miss. who after some residents refused to evacuate pre-hurricane, went around to the said households and asked them to use a sharpie and write their social security #'s on the their wrists so after the storm hit, it would be easier for their bodies to be ID'd. Needless to say, awesome chief.

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    In the few times I have had to go house to house to evacuate people and someone refuses to leave.....I ask for their next of kin name and phone number. They usually look at me funny and then I say it is to notify them of your death and where to claim your remains.

    It takes a couple of minutes to sink in but so far, all that initially refused, did leave.
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    They said the same thing to people when Katrina was coming in. They stayed and then had to be rescued. Then again, how many times have people been told to evacuate and nothing happened? In my situation, I would stay. I have a large boundary area with no trees and lots of lawn. I'm going to stay and protect my property.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    They said the same thing to people when Katrina was coming in. They stayed and then had to be rescued. Then again, how many times have people been told to evacuate and nothing happened?
    I'm sure your statistical data based on your call volume and determined that because there had not been a hurricane/tornado/severe thunderstorm on that particular day in the last 20 years, there was no need to evacuate....

    In my situation, I would stay. I have a large boundary area with no trees and lots of lawn. I'm going to stay and protect my property.
    Big raging brush fire the heat so intense it is drying the grass, then the grass ignites... you with a garden hose...

    There's a name for people with that mentality... Victims.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 05-10-2007 at 11:29 PM. Reason: spelling correction.. I have to start using the preview option more!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    It takes a couple of minutes to sink in but so far, all that initially refused, did leave.

    Hmmm. We always get "F---Off".
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    I'm sure you statistical data based on your call volume and determined that because there had not been a hurricane/tornado/severe thunderstorm on that particular day in the last 20 years, there was no need to evacuate....



    Big raging brush fire the heat so intense it is drying the grass, then the grass ignites... you with a garden hose...

    There's a name for people with that mentality... Victims.
    Without doing a proper size up and actually seeing the situation and potential danger it is hard to make a good assesment of what is right and what is wrong. There isn't any grass to burn, it's all cut short, and green, and as of today is is also very wet.

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    A lot of good "size up the situation" does when you find yourself very suddenly surrounded. Boundries are great.... to a point. The aforementioned descriptions about tell the tale. I would suggest looking up the Filmon Report, regarding the wildfires that took place in British Columbia, summer 2003. Its a very sobering account of that event.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 05-11-2007 at 01:00 PM. Reason: insertion of hyperlink
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    Without doing a proper size up and actually seeing the situation and potential danger it is hard to make a good assesment of what is right and what is wrong. There isn't any grass to burn, it's all cut short, and green, and as of today is is also very wet.
    The fire department made the size up in the Griffiths Park fire.
    The NWS made the size up for Katrina at least 3 to 4 days in advance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1983 View Post
    Hmmm. We always get "F---Off".
    I've actually only got that one time from a cranky old man who didn't want to leave his house from a broken gas main outside.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    The fire department made the size up in the Griffiths Park fire.
    The NWS made the size up for Katrina at least 3 to 4 days in advance.
    Well usually what happens in these cases is some IC setting in the command center says we need to evacuate those people over there. He doesn't do a case by case analysis. And he will usually err on the side of caution. Thaty way if someone does get trapped and killed he can say I toldthem to leave. However, if nothing happens they just shrug their shoulders and walk away.

    And realistically, what IC is going to take the time to do a case by case analysis? The IC wouldn't even delegate that authority. Imagine the lawsuit if it went wrong? Most ICs in these things take a broad brush and paint all the same.

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    Why would an IC do a case by case analysis. It's called Hazard and Risk assessment. If the fueld load is present, and the weather is right. The IC is better off utilizing his resources to evacuate the endangered occupants and establishing safe zones than discussing the merits of the plan with each occupant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    Well usually what happens in these cases is some IC setting in the command center says we need to evacuate those people over there. He doesn't do a case by case analysis. And he will usually err on the side of caution. Thaty way if someone does get trapped and killed he can say I toldthem to leave. However, if nothing happens they just shrug their shoulders and walk away.
    The people get to go back to their homes alive and bitching... it's better than the alternative!

    And realistically, what IC is going to take the time to do a case by case analysis? The IC wouldn't even delegate that authority. Imagine the lawsuit if it went wrong? Most ICs in these things take a broad brush and paint all the same.
    That's what a good IC does. If the concept has to be explained to you, maybe you should consider getting out of the fire service.
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    The people get to go back to their homes alive and bitching... it's better than the alternative!


    Upright with a heartbeat trumps being supine, pushing daisies any day of the week.

    But then as the Good Capt says, it allows for those who will to bitch about it. I personally have not been in the situation where an evac had to be ordered - but it was done the weekend before I started with Malahat VFD, when a 30,000 litre propane tanker rolled over and decided to vent its guts. The station was deployed for 23 hrs, 3 of those hours were spent knocking on doors and asking people to leave their homes at 1130 at night. If the tanker had blown up, 1/2 the mountain side would have come down; all the homes were downslope from the incident.

    Rocket science was not even discussed during this incident.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    The people get to go back to their homes alive and bitching... it's better than the alternative!
    And that alternative is you stay and protect your property???

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    That's what a good IC does. If the concept has to be explained to you, maybe you should consider getting out of the fire service.
    While Geinandputitout seems to have got the point you didn't. An IC cannot do a case by case analysis. I can look at my specific scenario, the dangers present, and make a better decsion. It would be impossible (and honestly crazy) to go thorugh an area and say this home is at risk and this home isn't. You may advise that conditions are such that I should evacuate. And after hearing yor reasoning I feel I am in no danger then it is my decsion and right to stay and protect my property.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    And that alternative is you stay and protect your property???
    The alternative is dying from severe smoke inhalation (if you are lucky) or by flames consuming your body (not so lucky)

    Protect your property with what? A garden hose that may, if you have good water pressure put out 5 gallons a minute?



    While Geinandputitout seems to have got the point you didn't. An IC cannot do a case by case analysis. I can look at my specific scenario, the dangers present, and make a better decsion. It would be impossible (and honestly crazy) to go thorugh an area and say this home is at risk and this home isn't. You may advise that conditions are such that I should evacuate. And after hearing yor reasoning I feel I am in no danger then it is my decsion and right to stay and protect my property.
    Yeah.. right up until you realized that you seriously fracked up, made the wrong choice then call 911 asking to be rescued...

    By the way.. I know an IC can't do a "case by case" analysis in a residential neighborhood. Of course, I know that because I actually command incidents. It's you who doesn't "get it", and probably never will.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 05-13-2007 at 01:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    The alternative is dying from severe smoke inhalation (if you are lucky) or by flames consuming your body (not so lucky)

    Protect your property with what? A garden hose that may, if you have good water pressure put out 5 gallons a minute?





    Yeah.. right up until you realized that you seriously fracked up, made the wrong choice then call 911 asking to be rescued...

    By the way.. I know an IC can't do a "case by case" analysis in a residential neighborhood. Of course, I know that because I actually command incidents. It's you who doesn't "get it", and probably never will.

    I'm with ya chiefy

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    Without doing a proper size up and actually seeing the situation and potential danger it is hard to make a good assesment of what is right and what is wrong. There isn't any grass to burn, it's all cut short, and green, and as of today is is also very wet.
    This single statement shows me you have NEVER seen a decent bush fire in your life, let alone tried to put one out.

    Rock on fool, we will bring the body bag for your sorry crispy critter remains.
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    I guess I"ll go out on alimb and say both CaptainGonzo and HotTrotter may be
    correct in this situation. Some things to consider when doing your size up would be
    1. Fuels : size, type, continuity, arrangement and availability
    2. Weather: current, expected and past weather patterns in the area.
    3. Topography: slope, aspect, narrow canyons etc.
    4. available resources: enough to do the evacuation, or do you shelter in place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skvfd5 View Post
    I guess I"ll go out on alimb and say both CaptainGonzo and HotTrotter may be
    correct in this situation. Some things to consider when doing your size up would be
    1. Fuels : size, type, continuity, arrangement and availability
    2. Weather: current, expected and past weather patterns in the area.
    3. Topography: slope, aspect, narrow canyons etc.
    4. available resources: enough to do the evacuation, or do you shelter in place.
    The fire department defending homes with people in place, with high gpm hose lines, air drop support and manpower is NOT the same as Trojan in his backyard with his garden hose deciding to defend his home against better judgement.

    To put it bluntly....if the fire department or a police officer knocks on your door and says it is in your best interest to leave your home, and you decide to stay, I will not donate money to help you rebuild, nor will I feel sorry for you. I believe in personal accountability. You decide to stay against better more informed judgement, you should be ready to accept the consequences.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by skvfd5 View Post
    I guess I"ll go out on alimb and say both CaptainGonzo and HotTrotter may be
    correct in this situation. Some things to consider when doing your size up would be
    1. Fuels : size, type, continuity, arrangement and availability
    2. Weather: current, expected and past weather patterns in the area.
    3. Topography: slope, aspect, narrow canyons etc.
    4. available resources: enough to do the evacuation, or do you shelter in place.
    Stay on the tree trunk..that limb is kinda shakey... trotter and I don't see eye to eye on anything.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    To put it bluntly....if the fire department or a police officer knocks on your door and says it is in your best interest to leave your home, and you decide to stay, I will not donate money to help you rebuild, nor will I feel sorry for you. I believe in personal accountability. You decide to stay against better more informed judgement, you should be ready to accept the consequences.
    I agree with your statement! Either way the firefighters will probablly be blamed for something...... We just came back from our vacation in Florida, of which we saw a few brush fires as we were there. The firefighters should be commended for doing an excellent job and dealing with the hot weather they have to deal with. Tip of the hat to the firefighters in Florida and California and everyone else in between!

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