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Monday, December 31, 2007

Critical Fire Weather today

Critical Fire Weather expected to subside by 7 pm - Eastern Riverside County and Imperial County.
Gusty Winds will continue through New Years day.
The winds shifted rapidly early this morning becoming Northeast winds of 25 to 35 Mph with gust's over 50 Mph and with humidities in the low teens(Blythe @1300-13%) this event developed well before sunrise today and will continue until tomorrow evening with gust's exceeding 35 Mph at times and the humidity should remain at or below 15%. -(1)

CALIFORNIA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 231LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY CA-CALIFORNIA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 232IMPERIAL COUNTY AND EASTERN RIVERSIDE COUNTY-

Critical Fire Weather and Red Flag warnings remain in effect - Large areas of So Cal - San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside counties especially mountain areas, passes and canyons.
Expect Northeast to East winds gusting between 35 to 70 mph to continue through the night especially at elevations above 1000 feet with a prolonged period of low relative humidities, By morning and into New Years day relative humidities will be below 10 percent and temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees warmer with winds gusting over 35 Mph. - -(1)

ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS-SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS-THE INLAND EMPIRE-SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS-SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OFTHE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST-RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINONATIONAL FOREST-SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONALFOREST-SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THECLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST-

-(1)Compiled from California OES EDIS releases

Explosive fire conditions send Nor Cal Fire Crews South

Red Flags and Fire weather watches have Cal Fire prepositioning resources in the Southern California again.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (Cal Fire News) - Cal Fire crews and resources from Northern California started heading for the southland Monday as critical, explosive fire conditions were forecast for all of South California.

With high winds from the Northeast combined with very low humidities forecasted the National Weather service warned of "Explosive Fire conditions".

Bulldozers, strike teams and air tankers from the north began their move to the South as Southern California was placed on another critical fire weather watch.

Five strike teams from central California arrived Sunday night at Cal Fire headquarters in Rancho San Diego.

In addition to a CDF helicopter from Monterey, Three air tankers were ready in Ramona and three more in Hemet will be on standby.

Southern California is essentially now under a year round fire season, according to Cal Fire officials.

These Santa Ana weather events create critical conditions that are ideal for large uncontrolled wildland fires with an increased probability of a quickly spreading wild land fire within the next twenty-four hours.

Good News Bad News For New Years Eve /SOCAL

Bad News - CRITICAL FIRE CONDITIONS ARE CERTAIN, HIGH WINDS, SINGLE DIGIT LOW HUMIDITIES, DOWNSLOPE WINDS

Good News - THREE WET STORMS COMING IN BEHIND THIS WEATHER EVENT IF SOMETHING STARTS BURNING DRENCHING STORMS WILL ASSIST FIRE FIGHTING EFFORTS STARTING THURSDAY

FIRE WEATHER WARNING
ONTARIO WEATHER SERVICE
DECEMBER 30, 2007 - 5AM

ALL OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, EXCLUDING THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DESERTS....

VALID NEW YEARS EVE AND NEW YEARS DAY, INTO WEDNESDAY

FIRE WARNING : CONSIDERABLE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT WITH THE WARM TYPE WINDS, RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL DROP INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS IN MANY SPOTS. THIS; COMBINED WITH THE STRONGER WIND, WILL MAKE FOR CRITICAL FIRE CONDITIONS. THE FIRE WEATHER WARNING IS JUSTIFIED IN OWS ISSUING IT. THE WARNING WAS REPLACED FROM THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH WE ISSUED BACK ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 28, 2007 FOR THIS EVENT. A FIRE WEATHER WARNING MEANS THAT CONDITIONS ARE CERTAIN AND KNOWN THAT FIRE CONDITIONS WILL BE AT CRITICAL LEVELS DURING THE WARNING PERIOD.

WARNING PERIOD ENDS WEDNESDAY EVENING AT 4PM FOR ALL AREAS. WE MAY KEEP HOLD OF THE WARNING FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS OVER THE DAY WEDNESDAY AND DROP IT ELSEWHERE DUE TO DRIER AIR CALCULATED THERE.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE EXTENSION INTO WEDNESDAY FOR THAT AREA WILL BE NOTED IN FUTURE UPDATES.

AS PREVIOUSLY SPOKEN ABOUT. IF FIRES DO START, A STORM TRAIN IS SETTING UP ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY, AND POSSIBLY SUNDAY. THIS MEANS RAIN WOULD BE ON THE WAY TO HELP EFFORTS, UNLIKE LAST OCTOBER.

Small plane crash in Central Coast kills Bay Area pilot

ATASCADERO, Calif.—A small plane crashed in a remote ranch east of this Central Coast city on Sunday, killing a pilot and sparking a fire, authorities said.

Thomas Leveque, 41, of Pacifica was pronounced dead by rescuers responding to the crash in Creston around 11:40 a.m. The fire burned a wing coated in fuel, but firefighters contained the blaze within minutes, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Jane Schmitz said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

EDIS: Red Flags for Southern California

RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM THIS MORNING TO 5 PM PST TUESDAY Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS-SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS-THE INLAND EMPIRE-SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS-SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OFTHE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST-RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINONATIONAL FOREST-SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONALFOREST-SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THECLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST-
Alert sent at 01:16 PST on 2007-12-31
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM MONDAY TO 6 PM PST TUESDAY FOR GUSTY NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
LOS ANGELES COUNTY VALLEYS-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM MONDAY TO 6 PM PST TUESDAY FROM MALIBU TO HOLLYWOOD HILLS FOR GUSTY NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
LOS ANGELES COUNTY COAST-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM MONDAY TO 6 PM PST TUESDAY FOR GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
VENTURA COUNTY COAST-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM MONDAY TO 6 PM PST TUESDAY FOR GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM MONDAY TO 6 PM PST TUESDAY FOR GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
VENTURA COUNTY INTERIOR VALLEYS-VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL VALLEYS-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 12 PM MONDAY TO 6 PM PST TUESDAY FOR GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
SANTA CLARITA VALLEY-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR MUCH OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES DUE TO GUSTY NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-
Alert sent at 23:32 PST on 2007-12-30

Sunday, December 30, 2007

News: Forest Service instructed to retain SoCal firefighters

By Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

Members of Congress appear to be concerned the U.S. Forest Service is losing too many of its Southern California firefighters.

An item in the massive $555-billion spending bill President Bush signed this week instructs the Forest Service to prepare a proposal by Feb. 1 to improve recruitment and retention of firefighters in Southern California's national forests.

Firefighters in the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are on the front lines of wildfires in places like the Angeles and San Bernardino national forests.

"I see that as positive," said Mike Dietrich, fire chief for the San Bernardino forest, of the recruitment and retention proposal.

The item, inserted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., calls on the Forest Service to present its plan to the House and Senate appropriation committees by the February deadline.

The San Bernardino National Forest, the nation's most urbanized forest, lost 60 of about 210 firefighters from October 2006 to mid-May, Dietrich said.

He said the defections have slowed since then, but that he's nervous about what will happen during the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's next hiring round.

The CDF had almost 500 vacancies as of Nov. 1. A number of Forest Service firefighters said they have applied to the CDF and that many of their colleagues have done the same.

Forest Service firefighters have a number of complaints about how

they are treated, but the gap between their salaries and those of other firefighters' arguably is the most significant.

Base pay for a firefighter in the Angeles National Forest is $32,000. It's $50,000 in the CDF and $60,000 in the San Bernardino Fire Department.

Earlier this year, six members of Congress with districts near the Angeles National Forest wrote a letter to the chief of the Forest Service, Abigail Kimbell, and the forest's supervisor, Jody Noiron, asking how the Forest Service is addressing retention problems.

According to the letter, because of personnel problems, only 60 percent to 70 percent of fire engines in the Angeles National Forest are regularly staffed.

"With large and difficult fires more likely, and more and more homes and businesses on the forest edge, it is exceptionally important that the National Forest system maintain enough trained, experienced fire crews to keep the forests and surrounding communities safe," the letter reads.

Earlier this month, the Forest Service's California region held meetings to discuss the retention problems. No report has been released from those meetings. Dietrich said he has heard very little about what was discussed.

The report should be released within two weeks, said Forest Service regional spokeswoman Janice Gauthier. The information in that report could be used to meet the Feb. 1 deadline, she said.

"I think this group has taken a good analytical look," Gauthier said.

Casey Judd, business manager of the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association, which represents federal firefighters, said he is happy Congress is starting to listen to firefighters. But he is not optimistic the Forest Service will improve unless Congress "takes the reins" of the fire program from the Forest Service.

Jo Maney, a spokeswoman for Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, said firefighter retention is a top priority.

"It's a matter of public safety," Maney said. "We just want to make sure they have everything they need."

Source: Article

Saturday, December 29, 2007

EDIS: FIRE WEATHER WATCH - All of So Cal

FIRE WEATHER WATCH FOR CRITICALLY LOW HUMIDITIES AND GUSTY WINDS HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR A WIDESPREAD AREA OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. PEAK GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 45 MPH AND HUMIDITIES BELOW 15 PERCENT ARE EXPECTED FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

FIRE WEATHER WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY COAST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY COAST-
Update sent at 15:17 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-
Update sent at 15:17 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY INTERIOR VALLEYS-VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL VALLEYS-LOS ANGELES COUNTY VALLEYS-
Update sent at 15:17 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
SANTA CLARITA VALLEY-
Update sent at 15:17 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES AND THE COASTS AND VALLEYS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-
Update sent at 15:17 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
ORANGE COUNTY COASTAL AREAS-SAN BERNARDINO AND RIVERSIDE COUNTY VALLEYS-THE INLAND EMPIRE-SAN DIEGO COUNTY INLAND VALLEYS-SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE MOUNTAIN TOP AND FRONT COUNTRY RANGER DISTRICTS OFTHE SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST-RIVERSIDE COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE SAN JACINTO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE SAN BERNARDINONATIONAL FOREST-SANTA ANA MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE TRABUCO RANGER DISTRICT OF THE CLEVELAND NATIONALFOREST-SAN DIEGO COUNTY MOUNTAINS-INCLUDING THE PALOMAR AND DESCANSO RANGER DISTRICTS OF THECLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST-
Alert sent at 10:36 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY COAST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY COAST-
Alert sent at 10:13 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-
Alert sent at 10:13 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY INTERIOR VALLEYS-VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL VALLEYS-LOS ANGELES COUNTY VALLEYS-
Alert sent at 10:13 PST on 2007-12-29
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
SANTA CLARITA VALLEY-
Alert sent at 10:13 PST on 2007-12-29
A FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES AND THE COASTS AND VALLEYS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-
Alert sent at 10:13 PST on 2007-12-29

News: Patterson Hero recovering in Hospital

Rescuer wishes he could have done more

David Gillespie, recovering from injuries incurred when he
helped pull two accident victims out their burning car
gets a hug from his mom Maretta Moore as his dad,
David C. Gillespie watch at Emanuel Medical Center,
Friday, December 28, 2007.
Photography Credit: (Debbie Noda/The Modesto Bee)

'Angels' pulled two to safety but couldn't save everyone

TURLOCK -- A Patterson man who helped pull two men from a flaming car wreck in Grayson on Thursday said he's no hero. He's just sorry he couldn't save the three people who died.

David Gillespie, 37, spoke Friday from Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, where he was being treated for smoke inhalation after he worked with other unidentified passers-by to pull a Ceres man and a Utah man from a burning, overturned Toyota Camry.

The Camry was involved in a head-on accident that killed three people and sent three to the hospital. Two of the survivors, Walter Holcher, 32, of Ceres and Burris Fisher, 21, of Utah, were in the intensive-care units at, respectively, Memorial and Doctors medical centers in Modesto.

A California Highway Patrol officer identified the three men killed in the accident as John Rivera, 26, of Waterford, Brandon Mil-ler, 25, of Modesto and Cody Butler, 20, of Keyes.

Gillespie said he came upon the crash while coming home from his job as a truck driver in Keyes. He arrived minutes after the wreck, about 5:15 p.m.

When he got there, Gillespie said, the Camry was on its side, and two people in the back seat were partially trapped, with their torsos out of the vehicle but their legs pinned.

Gillespie said he and a few other people tipped the overturned Camry back on its tires. He said he quickly realized that Rivera, who was in the front seat, would not survive.

Gillespie said he then punched out the front driver's side window and pulled Fisher out.

"He was going to burn to death if I didn't get him," Gillespie said, adding that Fisher cussed at him while he struggled to save the man. "I figured, 'You can be mad at me later.' "

Accord driver still in hospital

Fisher was driving the Camry when it went out of control and collided head-on with a Honda Accord driven by Jose Barahoma, 40, of Delhi. Barahoma was taken to Memorial Medical Center with unspecified injuries.

According to the CHP, Barahoma still was there Friday, but further details were unavailable.

Gillespie said he and the other passers-by pulled Holcher from the back seat of the Camry while the car was burning, and used bottled water and fire extinguishers to douse him and the people inside the car.

They tried to get the Camry's door open, but couldn't get Mil-ler and Butler out of the back seat in time.

About then, Gillespie said, he began to realize how dangerous the situation was when the car's battery exploded, followed by the four tires.

"There was nothing we could do at that point," said Gillespie, who added that a water tender from the Westport Fire Protection District had arrived by then.

"It was the most helpless feeling I've ever had, and I hope to never have that again," said Gillespie, who suffered only minor cuts on his hands. He added that the other volunteers who helped deserve as much credit as he does.

A grateful sister

Gillespie said he checked into Emanuel on Friday after suffering chest pains, and said doctors told him it came from smoke inhalation and they would keep him overnight.

Fisher's sister, Heather Davis of Riverbank, wept as she described her gratitude to Gillespie.

"If he hadn't stopped, my brother wouldn't be here," she said from Fisher's room at Doctors Medical Center. Fisher, originally from Ceres, was visiting from Utah for the holidays, she said.

Davis, 34, said she didn't know where Fisher was heading when the accident happened. Fisher suffered two broken legs, a ruptured spleen, broken ribs and a skull fracture in the accident, she said.

Donna Rice, Holcher's girlfriend, said he suffered two broken legs, a ruptured spleen and a punctured lung in the accident. She said Holcher has been sedated since undergoing surgery Thursday.

"They're angels," said Rice, 35, of Gillespie and the others who stopped to help. "He's hurt pretty bad."

A CHP official said the accident is under investigation, but equipment failure or alcohol have been ruled out as possible causes. He said investigators will conduct tests to see if drugs may have contributed to the accident.

Original Source: Article Modesto Bee
Map: PDF Graphic: Site of accident
Video: Truck driver describes rescuing 2 men from fiery wreck

News: Fire crews lured away

Fire crews lured away State, SB offer higher pay rate

Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

Download: Letter from Congress

Members of Congress appear to be concerned the U.S. Forest Service is losing too many of its Southern California firefighters.

An item in the massive $555 billion spending bill President Bush signed this week instructs the Forest Service to prepare a proposal by Feb. 1 to improve recruitment and retention of firefighters in Southern California's national forests.

Firefighters in the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are on the front lines of wildfires in places like the Angeles and San Bernardino national forests.

"I see that as positive," Mike Dietrich, fire chief for the San Bernardino forest, said of the recruitment and retention proposal.

The item, inserted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., calls on the Forest Service to present its plan to the House and Senate appropriation committees by the February deadline.

The San Bernardino National Forest, the nation's most urbanized forest, lost 60 of about 210 firefighters from October 2006 to mid-May, Dietrich said.

He said the defections have slowed since then, but that he's nervous about what will happen during the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's next hiring round.

The CDF had almost 500 vacancies as of Nov. 1. A number of Forest Service firefighters said they have

applied to the CDF and that many of their colleagues have done the same.

Forest Service firefighters have a number of complaints about how they are treated, but the gap between their salaries and those of other firefighters' arguably is the most significant.

Base pay for a firefighter in the Angeles National Forest is $32,000. It's $50,000 in the CDF and $60,000 in the San Bernardino Fire Department.

Earlier this year, six members of Congress with districts near the Angeles National Forest wrote a letter to the chief of the Forest Service, Abigail Kimbell, and the forest's supervisor, Jody Noiron, asking how the Forest Service is addressing retention problems.

According to the letter, because of personnel problems, only 60 percent to 70 percent of fire engines in the Angeles National Forest are regularly staffed.

"With large and difficult fires more likely, and more and more homes and businesses on the forest edge, it is exceptionally important that the National Forest system maintain enough trained, experienced fire crews to keep the forests and surrounding communities safe," the letter reads.

Earlier this month, the Forest Service's California region held meetings to discuss the retention problems. No report has been released from those meetings. Dietrich said he has heard very little about what was discussed.

The report should be released within two weeks, said Forest Service regional spokeswoman Janice Gauthier. The information in that report could be used to meet the Feb. 1 deadline, she said.

"I think this group has taken a good analytical look," Gauthier said.

Casey Judd, business manager of the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association, which represents federal firefighters, said he is happy Congress is starting to listen to firefighters. But he is not optimistic the Forest Service will improve unless Congress "takes the reins" of the fire program from the Forest Service.

Jo Maney, a spokeswoman for Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, said firefighter retention is a top priority.

"It's a matter of public safety," Maney said. "We just want to make sure they have everything they need."

Friday, December 28, 2007

LAPD Air Unit - Emergency Landing - No Injuries

*Los Angeles Police Aircraft Incident*
Location: 1521 N Highland Ave; TG 593-E4; FS 27,
An LAPD Air Unit made an emergency landing on the football field at Hollywood High. It landed safely and there were no injuries reported.
LAFD E27 and RA82 were standing by. Ch:7, TAC 12

Heads up! - Sundowner winds - New Years Eve

SUNDOWNER WINDS - FIRE WEATHER WATCH - NEW YEARS EVE AND FOLLOWING DAY
Predictive weather services such as Ontario Weather Service (OWS) and even NOAA are calling for a severe weather event on New Years eve and following day.
Ontario weather service is calling it a Fire Weather Watch and NOAA is predicting what they term a Sundowner Event whatever you want to call it this could be bad.

Heads up! expect Downslope - Offshore winds, sudden high temperatures, sudden humidity drops possibly into the single digits.

These severe weather events usually occur in the late afternoon or early evening with increased strong winds becoming downslope and offshore with sudden warming and a corresponding RH drop.
This weather event is predicted for New Years evening into the next day...

The Santa Barbra area is historically very vulnerable for severe damage during these events and many of the most destructive conflagrations that have occurred in the Santa Barbara region, including the Painted Cave fire of June 1990, which was among the more devastating fires in California history occurred during one of these wind episodes and even without fire damage occurs such as New Years Eve 1995 Sundowner event.(1)

In this event temperatures remained somewhat moderate but wind speeds reached damaging levels. A statement issued by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Oxnard at 0645 UTC 1 January 1996 (2245 PST 31 December 1995) noted that in the coastal areas of Santa Barbara County “several roads were closed due to debris cluttering the streets” and that “wind speeds of 40 to 45 mph with gusts to near 60 mph were reported in the Santa Barbara area.

National Weather Service - NOAA -Link
THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTHWESTERN CALIFORNIA.

.DAY ONE.. TODAY

HIGH SURF HAS SUBSIDED ALONG THE CENTRAL COAST THIS MORNING.
MODERATE TO STRONG RIP CURRENTS MAY STILL PERSIST...SO PERSONS
GOING INTO THE OCEAN ALONG THE CENTRAL COAST SHOULD BE AWARE OF
THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH WATER RELATED ACTIVITIES AND USE EXTREME
CAUTION WHEN ENTERING THE OCEAN. WHEN IN DOUBT...JUST STAY OUT.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN.. SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY

A REBUILDING NORTHWEST SWELL SATURDAY COULD BRING HIGH SURF AND
STRONG RIP CURRENT TO THE CENTRAL COAST ONCE AGAIN FOR THE REMAINDER
OF THE WEEKEND. OFFSHORE FLOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP BEGINNING
SATURDAY AFTERNOON BEHIND A FRONTAL BOUNDARY. A WEAK TO MODERATE
SUNDOWNER EVENT IS POSSIBLE SOUTHERN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SATURDAY
EVENING. WINDS WILL STRENGTHEN AND BECOME MORE WIDESPREAD THROUGH
MONDAY...AFFECTING PORTION OF LOS ANGELES.. VENTURA...AND SANTA
BARBARA COUNTIES. STRONG OFFSHORE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO LINGER INTO
NEW YEARS DAY. A STORM SYSTEM COULD IMPACT THE AREA AFTER MIDWEEK
NEXT WEEK BRINGING POSSIBLE PRECIPITATION AND STRONG WINDS TO THE
MOUNTAINS AND DESERT.

FIRE WEATHER WATCH - SANTA ANA WIND EVENT NEW YEARS EVE

FIRE WEATHER WATCH - Red Flags flying New Years eve and New Years day
ALL OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

ONTARIO WEATHER SERVICE - Fire weather center
DECEMBER 28, 2007 - 6AM


ALL OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, EXCLUDING THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DESERTS.... VALID NEW YEARS EVE AND NEW YEARS DAY FIRE WATCH : THE ONTARIO WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN ADVANCED OF THE POTENTIAL DAMAGING AND WARM SANTA ANA WIND EVENT ON NEW YEARS EVE, AND NEW YEARS DAY. THIS FIRE WATCH IS MAINLY FOR THE WARMTH THESE WINDS WILL BRING, AND DRY SURFACE LEVEL AIR. RELATIVE HUMIDITIES ARE EXPECTED TO GET INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS THESE DAYS. WE ARE GETTING THIS WORD OUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE DANGER OF THIS EVENT IS NOT ONLY THE WINDS, BUT THE FIREWORKS ON NEW YEARS. ILLEGAL, AND LEGAL FIREWORKS WILL MEAN AN EVEN GREATER RISK OF WIDESPREAD FIRE DANGER POSSIBILITIES SO PLEASE TAKE THIS AS A NOTE.
THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH WILL DIE WITH THE WINDS ON WEDNESDAY AS ONSHORE FLOW RETURNS, UPPING THE RELATIVE HUMIDITY LEVELS.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FIRE DANGERS MAY BE JUST AS BAD AS SEEN ON OCTOBER 2007 BECAUSE OF FIREWORK PURCHASES AND USES DURING THE NEW YEARS EVE AND DAY TIME-FRAME.

OWS USES EVENTS TO DETERMINE FIRE DANGERS NOT JUST METEOROLOGICAL DATA. NEW YEARS AND JULY 4 ARE BIG EVENTS.
FIRE WEATHER WATCH WILL TURN TO FIRE WEATHER WARNING ON SATURDAY NIGHT, INTO SUNDAY MORNING WHEN THE EVENT NEARS. AM CONFIDENT IN MY FORECAST FOR THE WINDS, AND FIRE DANGERS.

Source: OWS

CHP - Victim ID's still unknown - Christmas Day crash

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY- The identities of the five people who died on Christmas night in a fiery crash on Highway 46 remain a mystery.

Investigators with the California Highway Patrol say they are still trying to identify the victims.

The county coroner's office says the case is moving quicker than expected, but it will likely be several days before positive ID's can be made.

GRAYSON - MVA / FIRE - Three people dead

GRAYSON -- Three people died Thursday when the car they were in burst into flames after a two-car head-on collision on West Grayson Road, the California Highway Patrol reported.

A Patterson man passing by pulled two people from a Toyota Camry, likely saving their lives, said CHP officer D. Crooker. The driver of the second car also was in serious condition but expected to survive. The three survivors suffered major injuries.

The accident occurred about 5:15 p.m. just west of Laird Road, Crooker said.

Burris Fisher, 21, of Utah was driving a gray Camry west on Grayson when he lost control of the car, spun counterclockwise into the oncoming lane and collided with an eastbound Honda Accord driven by Jose Barahoma, 40, of Delhi, Crooker said. Barahoma was alone in his car.

The Toyota Camry flipped onto its right side from the impact and caught on fire. Moments later, two vehicles arrived at the accident. The good Samaritans pushed the Toyota onto its tires and smashed the left-side windows to reach its driver and passengers.

A Patterson man, David K. Gillespie, 37, pulled Fisher and one of his passengers, Walter Holcher, 32, of Ceres from the Toyota, Crooker said. The three other passengers in the Toyota died. Their names were not released pending notification of family.

"He's a hero," Crooker said of Gillespie. The name of the second person who stopped and helped was not available.

Holcher was taken by helicopter and Barahoma by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Crooker said. Fisher was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center, also in Modesto.

About 7:15 p.m., rescue workers from the Westport Fire Protection District pulled off the Toyota's roof to reach the three bodies.

Grayson Road was closed from Laird to Shiloh roads for several hours as rescue workers investigated and cleared the scene.

The CHP is investigating and will recommend appropriate charges to prosecutors, Crooker said. Alcohol was not involved, but the CHP is trying to determine whether drugs could have been a factor.

Source: Modesto Bee
Followup Articles: Modesto Bee, Cal Fire News

Editorial: TENS - Telephone emergency notification systems

TENS - Telephone emergency notification systems, Well what ya think do we have a new moniker for Telephone emergency notification systems? Whether creating new headlines or a memo in a EOC we all certainly need a shorter name than "Reverse Call-Back system", Reverse 9-11 system 0r "Telephone emergency notification system" for one thing it is to long for Headlines! and really could save vital time in critical situations from incident command level to tactical communications level.
I have never tired to coin a term before but as of now at Cal Fire News we will refer to these systems as the TENS or the TEN System.

Quick research on Google shows no significant prior usage of this term.

Comments welcome


TENS or the TEN System. - (Acronym) Shorthand for the for Reverse 911 Telephone Emergency Notification System.
The TENS Emergency Notification System allows local government to rapidly send telephone notifications to all residents and businesses in an affected area in the event of an emergency. An operator using the system can identify a affected neighborhood or a region of a city and record a message that describes the situation. The TENS will automatically call listed and unlisted telephone numbers (including TTY/TDD) within the affected area and deliver the recorded message. If phone lines are busy, the system will attempt to redial those telephone numbers to make contact. If an answering machine picks up the call, the emergency message will be left on the machine.

A work in progress - Copyright reserved - Cal Fire News

News: Governor funds TENS for needy counties

CALIFORNIA COUNTIES WITHOUT EMERGENCY TELEPHONE WARNING SYSTEMS may apply for funding January 31

28 December 2007

Governor Schwarzenegger today announced that he is setting aside $2 million from the State’s share of fiscal year 2007 Federal Department of Homeland Security grant funds for counties without telephone emergency notification systems to purchase and install them.

By prioritizing federal grant funding for programs similar to the “reverse 9-1-1″ system used in San Diego during the recent firestorm to warn residents, local officials will help implement a statewide alert and warning initiative while improving local emergency response capabilities.

Counties will be able to apply for grant funding at ohs.ca.gov starting on January 31, 2008.

“We must remain vigilant in ensuring we’re doing everything possible to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

“The ability of local and state agencies to provide timely and accurate information to the public about threats and safety instructions before, during and immediately after emergencies is a top priority for my administration. A warning system that is effective, integrated and comprehensive is critical to saving lives.”

The Governor’s Offices’ of Homeland Security (OHS) and Emergency Services (OES) and other state agencies are working to enhance efforts to develop a statewide alert system.

This funding allocation is designed to work towards that goal. It is also part of the State’s Metrics Program to identify, strengthen and build on our public safety capabilities.

“We always are working on assessing needs and finding grant sources to satisfy those needs. These grant funds will go a long way toward implementing systems that will protect the public in a variety of emergencies and also help our first responders do their jobs more safely and efficiently,” said OHS Director Matt Bettenhausen.

“Coordination among local, state and federal agencies in issuing alerts and warnings is as critical as it is in coordinating fire, law enforcement and other resources,” said OES Director Henry Renteria.

Under the allocation, the funding will be available to thirteen counties currently without telephone emergency notification systems.

With these funds, the thirteen counties may purchase and install telephone emergency notification systems as well as pay for the first two years of maintenance of the systems.

The following thirteen counties do not have telephone emergency notification systems and will be eligible for the $2 million in funds: Colusa, Humboldt, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Mendocino, Plumas, San Benito, San Joaquin, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity and Tulare.

To date, OES and OHS have allocated billions of funds to California ’s first responder entities to assist with the prevention of, mitigation against, preparedness for, and response to natural, human caused, and technological disasters.

Source: Article

News: Corral Fire - Malibu - Suspects tell a story

Two Sets of Malibu Wildfire Suspects Proceed to Next Court Dates

Five Men Charged with Starting or Causing Conditions that Led to Devastating Corral Canyon Blaze
BY HANS LAETZ - Malibu Surfside news
Last week’s bail hearing for three Los Angeles men provided the first details about what arson detectives say happened at the now notorious cave at the end of Corral Canyon Road the night that Malibu’s worst brushfire in 12 years was ignited. In remarks from the bench, Judge Michael Kellogg went beyond what is usually discussed at routine bail hearings by reciting the alleged events of that night in great detail, and offered conclusions as to the chain of events and the suspects’ likely guilt.
“Careless” and “callous” were the terms that the judge— himself affected by recent Malibu brushfires—used to describe the acts by the three Los Angeles men who went before him last Friday seeking reduced bail.
Attorneys for the men argued that they are being made scapegoats by a community hungry for retribution.
At issue last week was a request by William Thomas Cop­pock, 23, and Brian David Franks, 27, that the two men be released on their own recognizance pending their trial.
Coppock’s bail was reduced from $230,000 to $100,000, but his public defender said Coppock is broke and would spend Christmas in jail. The judge denied a request to release Coppock to the custody of a Los Angeles woman who said she had raised him after his mother was murdered when he was a child, and attested that “he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
Coppock’s lawyer said the defendant, an employee at a Starbuck’s, had a criminal record consisting only of a seat belt violation fine that had been paid. Codefendant Franks won a $10,000 reduction in his bail, to $230,000, based on a recalculation of state bail guidelines. He was released shortly after Friday’s hearing in Van Nuys.
Judge Kellogg noted that, although the defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty at a trial, all unproven charges must be considered to be true when a judge sets bail.
“There is nothing to show me that there wasn’t this callousness,” Kellogg said, “and a high level of carelessness. And all the sorries in the world don’t change that.”
Already free on bail is Brian Alan Anderson, 23, who was painted by prosecution documents as the ringleader of the trio of men who went to the mountaintop cave overlooking Malibu and the San Fernando Valley to drink beer and other alcohol the Friday night after Thanksgiving, as Santa Ana winds howled through the hills. As pieced together from details revealed in court by attorneys and the judge on Friday, Anderson, Coppock and Franks went to the cave after allegedly stealing between three to four packages of precut firewood from the Ralph’s Market at Malibu Colony Plaza. Coppock also allegedly purchased lighter fluid, and someone bought a case of either 18 or 30 cans of beer, and hard liquor.
It was cash register receipts from those purchases that allowed sheriff’s arson investigators to subpoena bank records and find the three alleged arsonists, who stand charged with recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury, recklessly causing fire to an inhabited structure, and arson during a state of emergency. All three of these crimes are felonies, and each carries a sentence of between 2-4 years.
Prosecution reports revealed last Friday allege that the three men apparently drove to the cave and encountered two teenagers from Culver City: Dean Allan Lavorante, 19, and Eric Matthew Ullman, 18, and their girlfriends. Those men had a small bonfire going inside the cave, but left shortly after the other men arrived and started partying heavily. Lavorante and Ullman are also charged with the same crimes, but are being tried separately because the evidence against them is different than that targeting the three L.A. defendants.
The Culver City men are free on bail and will face preliminary hearings on Feb. 14. According to a sheriff’s report read by one of the attorneys in court last week, Anderson reportedly kicked burning logs out of the cave and into the surrounding brush. A drunken Anderson al­legedly ordered Coppock out of the cave to put it out. “Anderson kicked a burning log out of the cave and said, ‘Here, put this out,’” Franks’ public defender, Douglas Jay Goldstein, said. A pillow of some sort was then lit on fire, and thrown to­ward Coppock, who tried to stomp out the burning logs, pillow and embers in the volatile brush and whipping winds. “Guys were laughing,” Goldstein maintained, adding that his client not only did not start the fire, “but [he] seemed to be a good Samaritan.”
The defense attorneys maintain that the three L.A. men did not start the fire, and left the cave thinking that the fire had been put out. But Judge Kellogg, during an unusual spoken review of the state’s evidence, scoffed at that. Kellogg said he had carefully reviewed arson investigators reports, and looked at what each man had been seen doing that hot and windy night. The judge noted that the fire injured firefighters, one of them with second-degree burns, and one with a broken ankle. The judge added that the arson crimes do not charge that the men actually started the fire, but that their actions caused it to spread. Before the bail hearing began, Kellogg made it clear to attorneys that he was personally affected by the Malibu Canyon fire that took place a month earlier, when he had to rescue a friend’s horses as a firestorm approached. He emphasized there was no local pressure in the case. “No one from Malibu is knocking on my door, saying we have to convict these men,” the judge said. All three attorneys said they knew and trusted the judge and did not take him up on his offer to hand the case to another judge for the bail hearing. However, another judge will handle the preliminary hearing. Because Coppock is in jail, his attorney would not allow a waiver of the laws that requires a preliminary hearing within 10 court days. That means the other two defendants must rush through hundred of pages of sheriff’s and fire department reports as they prepare for the Jan. 7 preliminary hearing date. At that session, the state must produce witnesses and evidence showing the likelihood that a crime was committed by the defendants. The defenders will be able to cross-examine witnesses and try to knock out the charges. Expected to testify is one woman who was at the party and gave sheriff’s deputies a lengthy description of the night’s events, which culminated in a fast-moving blaze that destroyed 53 houses between 2:30 and 7:30a.m. No official damages tally has yet been released, but the figure of above $100 million has beenestimated by the Malibu Surfside News and was quoted as accurate by Sheriff Lee Baca.
No one was killed, but one firefighter from the Sacramento area suffered second-degree burns to his facewhen a burning garbage can exploded molten plastic as a stream of water hit it.

Source: Article

Thursday, December 27, 2007

La Habra Heights - Let it burn or go to jail

La Habra Heights tussles over fighting fires



The city bans citizen firefighting, but residents bemoan a lack of engines and fire personnel. Some have taken matters onto their own trucks. As residents of Malibu used their own firetruck last month to protect their street from flames, homeowners on the other side of Los Angeles County were doing a slow burn.

Residents of rustic La Habra Heights are prohibited from rolling out personal fire engines to fight wildfires in their neighborhood of million-dollar homes.

Officials of the hilly, brush-covered city on the Orange County line say it's against the law for anyone other than members of La Habra Heights' two-truck volunteer fire department to "provide or conduct firefighting" within the 7-square-mile city.

La Habra Heights' city attorney issued a cease-and-desist order to the owner of a firetruck, warning that he could face misdemeanor charges if he used his 250-gallon pumper truck to fight fires.

George Edwardz said he was shocked to learn that "that kind of activity will get you thrown in jail and a $1,000 fine."

Edwardz, 39, an executive vice president of a communications firm that does satellite work for TV broadcasters, has lived in La Habra Heights for five years.

He bought his 1980 four-wheel-drive pumper truck for $7,200 from a department in Montour Falls, N.Y., in early 2006 after becoming alarmed at the slow response to his neighborhood.

Sometimes, he said, it takes more than 12 minutes for La Habra Heights' fire engines -- which travel through La Habra in Orange County -- to reach his neighborhood.

When he acquired his 1 1/2 -acre hillside property in 2002 he was concerned about fire protection, Edwardz said. But local maps indicated there were five fire stations scattered across La Habra Heights, including one just a quarter-mile from his house, he said.

"I never went down physically to see it was there," Edwardz said.

When he finally hunted the place down, he found that "Fire Station 5" was an unoccupied, single-vehicle garage behind a church.

In fact, he discovered, La Habra Heights has only one fire station, and it is on the opposite side of town.

It is staffed by volunteers, along with some paid professionals moonlighting from their regular jobs with other fire departments.

Edwardz said he bought the New York firetruck and drove it cross-country intending to donate it to La Habra Heights to be used in the unoccupied Station 5. With its all-terrain drive, compact size and ability to pump water from backyard swimming pools, the pumper would be perfect for his neighborhood's narrow streets and steep driveways, he figured.

The city declined his offer, however, he said. So Edwardz and some neighbors formed a Fire Watch group, modeled after an Arson Watch program operated by a citizens group in Topanga Canyon.

La Habra Heights Fire Watch has 30 members. Eight have been trained by professional firefighters to operate Edwardz's firetruck.

This summer, Fire Watch member Karen Vipperman spent $13,000 to buy a second fire engine, a 1984 pumper formerly used to fight wildfires in rural Washington state. It is also equipped with four-wheel drive, can pump from swimming pools and carries 250 gallons of water that can be tripled in volume with a special foam device.

"We don't answer fire calls. But if I see my neighbor's house on fire, I'll fight it," Vipperman said. "I live on an 8-acre ranch, and I'm concerned about the city's fire station being so far from us."

Edwardz said it was Oct. 12, 2006, when he drove a few hundred yards from his home to check on a plume of smoke and ran afoul of La Habra Heights' citizen firefighting ban.

"I thought it was a wildfire. But it was a car that had caught fire next to the brush. A La Habra motorcycle cop was there and he instructed me to start hosing down the car. I told him my training was for wildfires. He said to cool down the car, then," Edwardz said.

Source: Article LA Times

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

[LAFD] Helicopter FIRE-3 - Hoist Rescue - 250' above canyon floor

[LAFD] Firefighters from helicopter FIRE-3 demonstrated skill and bravery when called upon this afternoon.

Firefighters responded to a 9-1-1 call for an injured hiker, in a steep hillside area between El Escorpion Park and Bell Canyon.
One of the hikers, an 18 year old man fell approximately 20 feet and fractured a leg and had minor trauma to the head. His friend was able to climb down to an intersection, then direct the fire companies to the victim.
The firefighters found that the rescue uphill would be too steep to perform safely. They called for a hoist rescue and air operations sent Fire-3 to affect a rescue with Fire-1 as the safety observer.
As an additional safety precaution, E105 and E106 assisted Ground to Air communications for Fire-3.
The helicopter crew of Fire-3 under the direction of Crew Chief-Dave Norquist demonstrated why LAFD firefighters are the best in the world.
Pilot-Phil Clark skillfully maneuvered the airship in a canyon, where the erratic wind gusts can make a steady work platform difficult.
Helitak Safety-Member Robert Steinbacher was in direct communication with coworker Firefighter-Paramedic William Dunn as he was lowered to the fall victim. For about 20 minutes the pilot held the airship in a steady hover, despite sudden gusts of wind.
Paramedic Dunn dangled 110' feet down from the helicopter 250' above the canyon floor. Alone on a steep hillside, without room for a second Paramedic(the footing was limited), Firefighter Dunn stabilized,splinted and packaged a patient into a stokes litter basket, before being hoisted to safety.
Paramedics Steinbacher and Dunn continued treatment enroute to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital. The young man was listed in fair-stable condition.

Truly these unsung hero's of the LAFD can make all Angelino's proud of their Fire Department

News: San Juan OK's firefighter $15 stipend

San Juan OK's firefighter stipend, cuts deputy

HOLLISTER - The San Juan Bautista City Council approved a $15-per-call stipend Tuesday for its volunteer fire department. In order to afford the payments, officials "moved things around" in the budget, said Councilman Ed Laverone, including cutting one of the city's two sheriff's deputies.

The stipend has been touted by many, including Laverone and Fire Chief Scott Freels, as a first step toward solving the Mission City's firefighter shortage.

In September, Freels told the Free Lance that the size of San Juan Bautista's fire department had fallen from 26 to 10 members in about two years. Most of the city's current firefighters aren't interested in money, he said, but the stipend could help in finding new recruits.

"The discussion of the stipend has already helped with recruitment efforts," said Laverone, a former volunteer firefighter himself.

The new payment system - which the council approved only as a pilot system - will start Jan. 1, Laverone said. To receive the stipend, firefighters will have to file requests for payment, so they can continue to volunteer without a stipend if they want.

With the city's budget problems, the elimination of one sheriff's deputy was already in the works, Laverone said. The Mission City contracts with the San Benito County Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement. Cutting back will save the city $67,500 for the rest of the fiscal year, he said, of which $7,500 has been budgeted for the stipends.

Source: Article

News: Airport manager defends layout switch

HOLLISTER - Airport Manager Bill Gere's plans for the Hollister Municipal Airport have drawn some sharp criticism, but Gere defended his proposed layout plan Friday.

Gere presented the council with the new layout Monday, but some airport users complained that the plan left out a new California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection air-attack base, as well as facilities for gliders.

"Every issue brought up had been brought up in the past," Gere said.

Many of those speaking out against the plan are protecting "specific, selfish interests," he added, rather than focusing on the welfare of the airport or the city as a whole.

Three members of the Hollister Airport Advisory Commission - Douglas Hooten, Fred Meyer and Allen Ritter - said the document had been changed since the commission recommended it for approval.

"The layout plan presented to the city council was different from the one presented to the airport commission, and that's a problem," City Manager Clint Quilter said Friday.

The council did not vote on the plan, and instead called for a special airport commission meeting to iron out the differences between the commission-approved layout and the one brought to the council. That meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 3, Gere said.

Specifically, the commission-approved plan included a new air-attack base, while the proposed plan left that area open for development to be determined by a "request for proposal."

Ritter said Friday he also wants to see a glider facility back on the plans.

Asked why the plans were different, Quilter said: "I don't know. My assumption is that someone redrafted it."

Gere acknowledged that he had revised the layout plan after it was shown to the airport commission. But the changes were not substantial, he said.

"I did not change anything," he said. "I went from one depiction supplied by CalFire to another depiction supplied by the CalFire."

Gere added that it's unfair to imply that he is trying to "pull a fast one" on the council and the airport commission.

"You can't pull a fast one when (the plan) is taped up on a wall in front of the city council," Gere said.

Ritter, a former airport manager himself, said Gere's behavior was inappropriate.

"I would've never done that," Ritter said.


The land in question has been the subject of debate and controversy in recent months, as developer Andy Barnes proposed building corporate hangars on the land that CalFire wants.

Gere said Friday there's a way to meet both groups' needs because CalFire can expand at its current site.

"We know why they need a new facility, because the old ones sucks," he said. "But we don't know why they need to move."

The city council has directed the airport commission to develop a "request for proposal" that will allow Barnes' firm and other companies to present their plans.

The proposed layout plan reflects the wishes of the council and the Federal Aviation Administration, Gere said. He added that it can be revised once the CalFire situation is resolved.

"We are still free to do any or all of the options," Gere said.

Article source: Holister Freeelance

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

RED FLAG WARNINGS - Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, LPF

Red flag warning continues for much of Ventura and Los Angeles county through this evening due to strong north to northeast winds and low humidities

A BRIEF BUT STRONG SANTA ANA WIND EVENT IS OCCURRING ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS OF VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY.
WIDESPREAD RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES BELOW 30 PERCENT ARE OCCURRING WITH LOCAL VALUES IN THE TEENS AND SINGLE DIGITS.
AT THE SAME TIME FUEL MOISTURES HAVE FALLEN TO CRITICAL VALUES AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF OFFSHORE WINDS LEADING INTO THIS EVENT ACROSS VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY.
ALL TOGETHER THIS HAS RESULTED IN CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS. WINDS WILL BEGIN TO DECREASE THIS AFTERNOON AND RISE ABOVE RED FLAG WARNING CRITERIA BY THIS EVENING.
... RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PST THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES...

NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS 30 TO 45 MPH WITH GUSTS OVER 80 MPH THROUGH FAVORED PASSES AND CANYONS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE DAY.
SCATTERED HUMIDITY LEVELS IN THE SINGLE DIGITS WILL BE COMMON.

Instruction:
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE OCCURRING NOW. A COMBINATION OF VERY STRONG WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL. PLEASE ADVISE THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OR FIRE CREWS IN THE FIELD OF THIS RED FLAG WARNING.

Area: SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-

Affected Counties or parts of: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles

Sent: 2007-12-25T10:06:47-08:00

Original Sender: KLOX@nwws.oes.ca.gov

From: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOS ANGELES/OXNARD CA

Santa Ana winds reaching category 1 hurricane speeds

Santa Ana winds reaching category 1 hurricane speeds in parts of Orange County today and have reached peaks of 85 mph.

These winds have caused numerous scattered power outages.

A vegetation fire that was believed caused by downed power lines was controlled by crews from Orange County Fire Authority, and the Riverside County Fire Department-Cal Fire. The two-acre brush fire was reported at 8:40 a.m. at the westbound Riverside (91) Freeway at Green River, on the Orange and Riverside County border.

A helicopter and 40 firefighters put out the two-acre vegetation fire this morning at Green River Road south of Highway 91 in Corona, said Riverside County fire Capt. Lori Windsor.

The fire was reported at 8:53 a.m. and was contained by 9:17 a.m., Windsor said.

Wind gusts peaked at 85 mph at 10 this morning in Fremont Canyon, and in Bell Canyon, speeds got up to 46 mph at 7 a.m., according to the Department of Water Resources California Data Exchange Center.

Southern California Edison crews have been working to restore power to more than 112,000 customers system wide who have lost power since midnight today. About 9,000 customers were reported to still be without power as of 11 this morning, including 300 in Los Angeles and Orange counties, an Edison spokesman said. Virtually all of the outages were in the Inland Empire.

Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol officials said the high wind caused a 44-foot boat to break loose, causing minor damage to private docks at the Newbort Harbor Yacht Club at 9:35 this morning. No injuries were reported.

EDIS: RED FLAGS - LOS ANGELES/VENTURA COUNTIES

RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PST THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
LOS ANGELES COUNTY COAST-
Update sent at 10:06 PST on 2007-12-25
RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PST THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
VENTURA COUNTY COAST-
Update sent at 10:06 PST on 2007-12-25
RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PST THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
LOS ANGELES COUNTY VALLEYS-
Update sent at 10:06 PST on 2007-12-25
RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM PST THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
VENTURA COUNTY INTERIOR VALLEYS-VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL VALLEYS-SANTA CLARITA VALLEY-
Update sent at 10:06 PST on 2007-12-25
RED FLAG WARNING CONTINUES FOR MUCH OF VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY THROUGH THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-
Update sent at 10:06 PST on 2007-12-25

News: CAL FIRE Extra Staffing this Holiday

Christmas Day should be sunny, but Cal Fire wary of high winds

San Diego County residents will be celebrating Christmas under sunny skies today although firefighters will be bracing for potential wind-driven fires.

While recent rains have helped dampen some areas, high winds are expected to keep firefighters on alert for much of the day throughout Southern California.

Wind warnings are expected to be issued in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. In San Diego County, winds are not expected to be as strong, Stan Wasowski, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said yesterday.

Santa Ana winds of up to 50 mph are expected to blow across San Diego County mountains until the afternoon, he said. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-70s along the coast and valley areas, 70 in the desert and low 60s in mountain areas.

Cal Fire, the state's forestry and fire protection agency, plans to have extra firefighters on duty today. Additional helicopters will be available, said Kevin O'Leary, a division chief with Cal Fire.

“We're ready for it,” he said.

Shifting winds and lack of firefighting resources were major factors in the October wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes across the county.

The Navy and Marine Corps each will have two helicopters ready to help out, O'Leary said. The state sent an additional helicopter, which arrived at the Ramona airport yesterday, he said.

Firefighters who were scheduled to be off today were told to report for duty, O'Leary said. Volunteer fire stations in backcountry areas were expected to boost staffing today, he said.

Fire officials said areas that did not get much rainfall recently are the most vulnerable, mainly in South County.

O'Leary said extra engine companies were being added to stations in Campo, Monte Vista and Ramona.

The San Diego Fire Department does not plan to increase staffing today but will be monitoring weather conditions closely, spokesman Maurice Luque said.

“If there is a need we'll do it,” he said.

Recent rains reduced fire danger in the city by moistening areas with heavy brush, he said.

Source: Article

EDIS: So Cal - Red Flags for Christmas

RED FLAG WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM MST /6 PM PST/ THIS EVENING DUE TO STRONG NORTH WINDS... LOW HUMIDITY AND HIGH FIRE DANGER Actual/Immediate/Severe/Observed
ARIZONA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 131YUMA/MARTINEZ LAKE AND VICINITY/LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY AZ-ARIZONA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 132SOUTH-CENTRAL AND SOUTHWEST DESERTS-CALIFORNIA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 231LOWER COLORADO RIVER VALLEY CA-CALIFORNIA FIRE WEATHER ZONE 232IMPERIAL COUNTY AND EASTERN RIVERSIDE COUNTY-
Alert sent at 07:29 PST on 2007-12-25

Monday, December 24, 2007

Firestorm 2007 - Houses burned from inside out

"And a lot of people saved their own homes"
"An untold number of homes were saved by people who refused to evacuate or sneaked back in to their neighborhoods before evacuations were lifted."

Something as seemingly inconsequential as a doggy door, a piece of particle board leaning against a garage door, or the holes underneath Spanish roofing tile may have made the difference between houses that burned and houses that were saved this year, it was reported Sunday.
A newspaper's analysis of the Witch Fire, the October conflagration that claimed 1,125 homes in San Diego County, shows that taking rigorous steps to close off the smallest openings in houses made as much difference as clearing brush in preventing a house from igniting in firestorms.
The Los Angeles Times analyzed construction records and fire behavior at houses burned in northern San Diego County last fall, and concludes that 75 percent of the burned homes had fire-resistant exteriors.
Unscreened vents, attic ventilators and broken windows -- even a doggy door -- apparently allowed streams of burning embers to blow into those houses, causing smoldering fires that ended with many homes erupting several hours after the fire front had already passed through, The Times reported.
The arched holes underneath Spanish roofing tiles were singled out by the state's top arson investigator as a particular trap for burning embers."I've seen houses with embers stacked in those openings," said Dave Hillman, chief investigator for Cal Fire. "I call them catchers' mitts," he told the paper.
Los Angeles County and other jurisdictions require those small archways to be sealed with grout, San Diego County does not, The Times reported.
The newspaper pointed out that an untold number of houses in Rancho Bernardo and other areas hit in San Diego County were saved by neighbors who had violated mandatory evacuation orders and stayed behind as the firestorm swept through. Those persons were able to put out small fires, or call for help, when houses ignited several hours after the main blaze had stormed through.
But firefighters said burned neighborhoods are extremely-dangerous, with destroyed houses smoldering, gas lines burning, and water lines out, officials said.
"Until it is safe, you don't allow people back in," said San Diego fire spokesman Maurice Luque. "We don't want to risk public safety for a house."Aggressive evacuation order enforcement was cited by law enforcement officers for the lack of fatalities and injuries in the massive fire that started with hellish Santa Ana winds on Oct. 21.

Full story at: LA Times

Sunday, December 23, 2007

FIRE WEATHER WATCH - SOCAL - NE WINDS AND LOW HR

FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY COAST-
Alert sent at 14:47 PST on 2007-12-23
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING DUE TO STRONG NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
LOS ANGELES COUNTY VALLEYS-
Alert sent at 14:47 PST on 2007-12-23
FIRE WEATHER WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING DUE TO STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
VENTURA COUNTY INTERIOR VALLEYS-VENTURA COUNTY COASTAL VALLEYS-SANTA CLARITA VALLEY-
Alert sent at 14:47 PST on 2007-12-23
FIRE WEATHER WATCH ISSUED FOR MUCH OF VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTIES MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH CHRISTMAS DAY DUE TO STRONG NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITIES Actual/Future/Severe/Possible
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATIONAL AREA-VENTURA COUNTY MOUNTAINS / LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST-LOS ANGELES COUNTY MOUNTAINS / ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST-
Alert sent at 14:47 PST on 2007-12-23

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Judge Denies Corral Fire Suspects' bail request

Judge Denies Corral Fire Suspects' Request To Be Released

Two men suspected of accidentally starting a destructive wildfire in Malibu were denied Friday a request to be released on their own recognizance while awaiting trial.

William Thomas Coppock, 23, and Brian David Franks, 27, of Los Angeles, are charged with recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury and recklessly causing fire to inhabited structures in connection with the Nov. 24 Corral Fire that destroyed 53 houses and severely damaged another 23.

Dean Allen Lavorante, 19, and Eric Matthew Ullman, 18, both of Culver City, and Brian William Anderson, 22, of Los Angeles, face the same charges. They are free on bail.
All five also face an allegation that the crimes were committed "during and within an area of a state of emergency."They are accused of going to a cave and notorious party spot on state park land overlooking Malibu to drink beer with girls and light a campfire when the area was under a Red Flag warning because of high winds and low humidity.

Instead of a routine bail hearing Friday on whether the two men were risks to the community if freed while awaiting trial, Judge Michael K. Kellogg laid out the prosecution's case against all five suspects."There is nothing to show me that there wasn't this callousness and a high level of carelessness," Kellogg said. "And all the sorries in the world don't change that."Kellogg rejected requests by attorneys for the two men that they be released on their own recognizance.

However, the judge noted that according to sheriff's reports, Franks had at least tried to put out some of the fire and lowered his bond to $100,000.Coppock's bail was reduced by $10,000 due to an earlier math error, to $230,000, and his attorney said he would post bail later Friday.
The judge said he spent a great deal of time reviewing the investigative reports and noted that the allegation of causing a fire during a state of emergency requires a sentence of prison time.
He said investigators believe that Anderson, Coppock and Franks stole packages of precut firewood from the Ralphs supermarket in Malibu and added that wood to a small campfire already started in the cave by Lavorante and Ullman.

The first two men apparently left the cave after the arrival of the other men, who allegedly drank 18 to 30 cans of beer and some other liquor.Investigators believe Anderson kicked burning logs out of the cave and into surrounding brush and told Frank to put it out, according to a sheriff's report read by one of the attorneys."Anderson kicked a burning log out of the cave and said, 'Here, put this out,'" Goldstein said. "Guys were laughing."

Anderson has already been released on $240,000 bail.
Earlier, the attorneys said their clients are being made scapegoats and that instead of starting the fire, they tried to put it out. The three Los Angeles men will next face a preliminary hearing Jan. 7 in Van Nuys. The Culver City teenagers will be arraigned there Feb. 14.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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