Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Heat, More Smoke and More YUCK!

The smoke is pretty bad here today. When I walked outside my back door this morning, the haze was thick enough that it partially obscured the trees on the next street over. My sinuses are so messed up from all the smoke over the past few days that I can't smell the smoke, but I'm sure it's there. When it's thick enough down here in the valley that we can't see clearly a block over, it's bad. Yesterday's heat was bad too. The weather gadget that I have on this blog told me that it got to 108 yesterday.. Ugh!

I found an interesting item when I googled the fire news this morning. California has fire fighters on their way here from New Zealand and Australia! According to the news article I found, there will be 40 firefighters here for about 5 weeks or so helping to fight the blazes that were started by lightning back on June 21st. Since it's mid-winter in New Zealand and Australia right now, their need for wildland fire fighters is pretty low. Apparently this is the 5th time that we've had Kiwi and Aussie fire fighters here helping out. I have to wonder if the US has ever sent any of our guys over there to help them out during their fire season. There are teams of firefighters here from all over the country. One news item in the Reno Gazette Journal is about the teams that have been sent in from Nevada. I've seen other articles on other days about teams from Canada and other states here in the US. But, even with all the help that is being sent in, there are just too many fires and not enough fire fighters to contain them. The fires we see and hear on the news are just the "major" ones. The one near Big Sur, the one near Goleta, the one north of me near Paradise and Concow. According to the Cal Fire information page, there are still 322 fires burning all over the state. (As I write this, the latest statistics are from last night at 9pm.)
Statewide Fire Overview - Lightning Series

Current Situation: Firefighters continue to make progress in containing wildfires throughout California. To date over fourteen hundred fires have been contained due to the diligent and endless work of firefighters from not only California, but throughout the nation. Red Flag Warnings in northern California have expanded eastward up the west slope of the Sierra Nevada north of Yosemite. Record high temperatures and low humidities continue throughout northern California. The priority of firefighting is for the protection of life, property and natural resources.
Download the latest fact sheet. (Updated 7/9 at 9 p.m.)
Download the latest statewide map.

Statewide Fire Statistics
  • Total Fires at Peak: 1,781
  • Total Fires Contained: 1,459
  • Total Active Fires: 322
  • Total Acres Burned: 688,423
These numbers are total fires and acres that have occurred from state, local and federal firefighting agencies beginning June 20, 2008.

CAL FIRE Statistics
  • Total Fires at Peak: 1,005
  • Fires Contained: 814
  • Active Fires: 59
These numbers are total fires and acres that have occurred ONLY in CAL FIRE jurisdiction since June 20, 2008.
The number of contained and active fires will not equal the total due to some fires merging together.

Statewide Resources Committed
  • Personnel Committed: 19,474
  • Fire Engines: 1,560
  • Hand Crews: 408
  • Dozers: 253
  • Water Tenders: 407
  • Helicopters: 102
Highway closures: State highways, county and local roads are closed throughout California due to wildfire activities. Closures and delays remain in place for State Highways 1 (Big Sur Area), 32, 70 and 96. Travelers are advised to seek current information from local law enforcement.

Evacuations:Areas of Butte, Kern, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Shasta and Trinity counties are under evacuation orders at this time. Precautionary evacuation orders currently exist in areas in Butte, Kern, Mendocino, Monterey, Plumas, Santa Barbara, Shasta and Trinity counties. Residents are advised to monitor their local fire situation, check with local law enforcement agencies for information, and be prepared to evacuate when necessary.

Threatened: 13,489 residences, 162 commercial, 2,766 outbuildings.
Destroyed: 99 residences, 1 commercial, 88 outbuildings.

The latest satellite map of the fires from the Modis Rapid Response System gallery page really shows the smoke and what it's doing. This one was acquired yesterday and you can really see how thick the smoke is and how far it is traveling.

The fire crews on the fire nearest me, the Camp Fire (Butte Complex) got a little help from Mother Nature last night. The winds didn't come up so they've been able to hold the progress of their containment. The communities that had been evacuated in the last couple of days are still under evacuation orders, but they hadn't lost anymore homes according to the briefing at 8:30 this morning. The Chico newspaper articles, "7:45 a.m.: Paradise survives another night" and "8:30 a.m.: Evacuations still in place" detail the progress made on the fires and the evacuation status. From what I've read in all the articles, one of the problems in fighting this fire is the inability to use the air drops at times due to the thick smoke.

Other Stuff
The InSessions forums are still down, but the TruTV forums have come back up. Coldwater, the moderator for both message boards, posted yesterday shortly after the TruTV forums came back up. Here's what she wrote: "I haven't been able to post due to all forums being locked Tru opened today. Yes it was a hacker from Isreal, hitting several other sites also. Tech updated the security on here so there is no worry. The IS have not been updated yet due to the old program currently still there, never having been updated so it's difficult." Who knows when the techs will get the InSessions forums up again.

And to finish up this morning's post, I'm going to add some humor... lol... LOLCats to be precise. I found some cute ones this morning. Enjoy!
more cat pictures
more cat pictures
more cat pictures

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