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More fires in So. Cal.

Old 10-30-19, 12:54 PM
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eja_ bottecchia
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More fires in So. Cal.

This morning, while doing my usual ZWIFT ride I received the kind of urgent cellphone alert that no one likes to see: “Fast moving fire headed out in your direction. Possible evacuations.”

Quickly got off the trainer and my wife and I put our evacuation plan into effect: valuable documents in the car, necessary meds in the car, dog and cat food in the car, cat in carrier and dogs in their leashes, water and other emergency supplies in the car. Turned on all the sprinklers for a quick dousing and got ready to head out at a second’s notice.

But our firefighters put up a furious fight. Aided with air support, including that big DC-10, our brave firefighters were able to draw a line and contain the fire’s westward march. Many structures, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, were soared (unfortunately not all structures were spared).

My daughter was able to get her horse, and two dogs that she has been caring for, out to safety. Getting a spooked horse into a trailer is no easy task, but with help from members from the local equestrian community she managed the task.

We are not out of the woods yet, winds are still howling at hurricane velocity, but we are in better shape that we were just a few hours earlier.

My deepest appreciation for the men and women who work so hard to protect our lives and property.

God bless!
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Old 10-30-19, 01:00 PM
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Best wishes. Wish everyone in a similar situation were as proactive as you and your family.
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Old 10-30-19, 01:15 PM
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This is crazy. I hope they can put it out quickly, I hope the air isn't that terrible, apocalyptic shade of brown that's so harmful for everybody's lungs.
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Old 10-30-19, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
This is crazy. I hope they can put it out quickly, I hope the air isn't that terrible, apocalyptic shade of brown that's so harmful for everybody's lungs.
Yeah, those orange skies remind me of a war zone. This was the view earlier this morning. Winds blowing in our direction.

But the firefighters held the line.

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Old 10-30-19, 01:36 PM
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110323-N-SG869-062 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Why a counter measure washdown system is not required by the local building code authority in fire prone areas is beyond me. The picture above is one such system being used on a U.S. Navy ship. We would fire off our system regularly just to make sure the lines were clear of crud.Such a system seems like it would prevent structure fires quite well.

As expensive as a house is to build, there is no way it would be too expensive to have an underground rainwater collection tank & diesel powered pump to power a few dozen shower nozzles affixed to key points of the structure.

Heck, Steve Jobs purposly installed a swimming pool higher than his residence to gravity feed firefighting water.

I don't mean to come off as insensative. I'm glad everything worked out. I just don't understand why people (& I mean people in the general sense) understand & acknowledge various risks to their lives & investments. Then do absolutely zero to mitigate the risk until the inevitable emergency arrives, then do absolutly zero to impliment a solution for the next go round.

Are there no fire sprinkler installation companies in California?

(I ask the same questions for houses built on grade in flood prone areas & above ground houses in tornado/hurricane prone areas as well)
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Old 10-30-19, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post

110323-N-SG869-062 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Why a counter measure washdown system is not required by the local building code authority in fire prone areas is beyond me. The picture above is one such system being used on a U.S. Navy ship. We would fire off our system regularly just to make sure the lines were clear of crud.Such a system seems like it would prevent structure fires quite well.

As expensive as a house is to build, there is no way it would be too expensive to have an underground rainwater collection tank & diesel powered pump to power a few dozen shower nozzles affixed to key points of the structure.

Heck, Steve Jobs purposly installed a swimming pool higher than his residence to gravity feed firefighting water.

I don't mean to come off as insensative. I'm glad everything worked out. I just don't understand why people (& I mean people in the general sense) understand & acknowledge various risks to their lives & investments. Then do absolutely zero to mitigate the risk until the inevitable emergency arrives, then do absolutly zero to impliment a solution for the next go round.

Are there no fire sprinkler installation companies in California?

(I ask the same questions for houses built on grade in flood prone areas & above ground houses in tornado/hurricane prone areas as well)
Good points.

I have installed and implemented fire mitigation measures, including aggressive brush clearing. I am pretty sure of my home’s ability to survive a fire with relatively minor damage.

My neighbors, however, don’t seem to be as concerned as I am.

As usual, a chain is only as strong as it weakest link.
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Old 10-30-19, 03:02 PM
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Is it normal for large fires to be burning down there at the very end of October?
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Old 10-30-19, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Is it normal for large fires to be burning down there at the very end of October?
October and November are fire season here.
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Old 10-30-19, 04:07 PM
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I'm from Chicago and have been in Ventura County since Saturday. The office I planned to visit was closed today and all my meetings canceled so I'm heading home a day early. Certainly was eerie driving through the smoke and high winds on the way to the airport. Hope everything works out for everyone. Heading into a Halloween snowstorm in Chicago. Strange times.
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Old 10-30-19, 04:56 PM
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I'm pretty sure the 2003 fires (for which I was evacuated) and the 2007 fires (from which a few people from my work lost homes) both happened in October.
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Old 10-30-19, 05:24 PM
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Yep, many of the biggest fires in California history have taken place in October/November. The Old Fire, Cedar Fire, Camp Fire, and many, many others all occurred within those two months.

Which is why it's anomalous that we haven't had much so far this year.
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Old 10-30-19, 05:37 PM
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Our fire season is from late July until late September or early October, for the most part. Used to think our trees were made of asbestos, but it's been a growing problem. I remember a lot of fire in California (but more north of all of you) in August the past couple years. It sounds odd to me for them to be burning so late into the year. It's not that I don't trust you or anything, it's just not what I expected.

You all definitely have all of my empathy, I really hope it isn't a destructive one, and I really hope you folks don't suffer hellish air quality.

Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I'm pretty sure the 2003 fires (for which I was evacuated) and the 2007 fires (from which a few people from my work lost homes) both happened in October.
I want to eventually buy a home in and retire to a fire prone area. Been doing a lot of homework on making a home defensible. I bet what you folks go through would blow my mind.
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Old 10-30-19, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Yep, many of the biggest fires in California history have taken place in October/November. The Old Fire, Cedar Fire, Camp Fire, and many, many others all occurred within those two months.

Which is why it's anomalous that we haven't had much so far this year.
November is scuba diving on the sidewalk month. I guess I should be grateful.
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Old 10-30-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
October and November are fire season here.
yeah they be.

on a lighter note...(and hoping it never comes to pass) you only have room/time to evac one bike...which one?
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Old 10-30-19, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
yeah they be.

on a lighter note...(and hoping it never comes to pass) you only have room/time to evac one bike...which one?
That’s easy. The Bottecchia. It was a gift from my Mom, who passed away 10 years ago. She grew up poor in our native Cuba. Her family could not afford a bike, that was a luxury for rich kids. She never even learned how to ride a bike.

She knew how much I love cycling. My parents gave me my first bike when I was seven years old and, according to them, they “never saw me again.”

She also knew about my lust for Italian bikes (I also lust for Italian supercars, but a Ferrari was out of the question).

So on the occasion of my 33rd birthday she gifted me with the Bottecchia...the poor little girl from Cuba went to my favorite bike shop and picked a fancy Italian bike for her son.

If I could only have one bike, I would gladly give away all my other bikes.

Gracias Mami.

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Old 10-30-19, 08:06 PM
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It's the California chaparral, combined with long droughts and seasonal winds. While California is a beautiful state it's a hostile terrain and not naturally suited to dense human habitation. Artificial methods to change the landscape, provide water and introduce outside plant species for soil retention, have given the illusion of a sort of temperate paradise to outsiders and newcomers to the state.

PG&E has been blamed for negligence but they can't overcome the obstacles of nature without massive expense to bury all power lines and risk environmental damage by clear cutting and mowing flat for miles around inhabited areas. They're fighting nature, resistance to increases in taxes and utility cost, and environmental protection concerns.

All of this was known in the 1970s when I lived there. There were warnings all over Camp Pendleton about fire hazards. But Pendleton was sparsely inhabited, more suitable to the environment. It's almost certainly gotten worse.

Texas will have its equivalent on a lesser scale soon as former ranches are sold for residential and commercial development. Native prairie and arroyos were never suited to that kind of dense habitation. Texans are less hesitant to wipe out the terrain to prevent and contain fire, but this causes flood control, runoff and silting problems for the many dry creek beds that serve as natural runoff toward the mostly man made reservoirs.

There's always a cost to development and we usually postpone it until it's much more expensive and impracticable.
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Old 10-30-19, 08:51 PM
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@canklecat, I wish people would look at the TV images of wind-driven fires, followed by rain and then killer mudslides (like in Montecito) and stop moving to California. This state would be such a great place to live, and ride, with less than half of its current population...and that includes the useless politicians who have given the fifth largest economy in the world a third world infrastructure powered by an antiquated power grid.
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Old 10-30-19, 08:58 PM
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biggest socal fire problem is urban/wild interface and population along with structures completely surrounded by fire zones. a vast majority of these structures are not truly
fireproof nor fire resistant. sure, lots of the roofs are tile or concrete, but the windows are framed by wood or the front/garage/side/backdoor are wood or the eaves
are or if you've got a side/backyard trellis connected to the house... everyone want to live in a "scenic" area without considering how flammable it is. very few people can visualize/imagine
winds driving a firestorm at 60+ mph. mix in the pyromaniacs and/or idiots throwing out ashes/lit cigarettes out their car window and it's a tough thing to defense. the general urban sprawl
in the la basin and various valleys are defensible.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 10-30-19 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 10-30-19, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
@canklecat, I wish people would look at the TV images of wind-driven fires, followed by rain and then killer mudslides (like in Montecito) and stop moving to California. This state would be such a great place to live, and ride, with less than half of its current population...and that includes the useless politicians who have given the fifth largest economy in the world a third world infrastructure powered by an antiquated power grid.
that ship sailed nearly 60 years ago.
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Old 10-30-19, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
that ship sailed nearly 60 years ago.
I know...but one can always hope.

BTW, they should also stop broadcasting images of sunny Pasadena during the Rose Bowl Parade. All those snowbound Midwesterners get sun fever and immediately make plans to move here. Gotta stop the insanity.
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Old 10-30-19, 09:56 PM
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Yup. I thought about staying in SoCal and buying a home after my Navy discharge in 1981. At the time I could have bought a modest house for pretty close to the same price as a starter home in Texas, my home state, around $50,000-$75,000. And I loved San Diego.

But even then I could see the handwriting and handwringing on the wall after the 1978 Prop 13 "taxpayer revolt."

Even as a budding libertarian I could see it wasn't sustainable. People want stuff -- stable government, economy, cost of living, prosperity, healthy environment -- but they don't want to pay for it. Not the real freight, anyway. They never think of the full costs of a complex society, most of which are... not exactly hidden, but not obvious.

Most of my friends who still live in California are blaming PG&E, but they aren't thinking of the big picture. This mess goes way back. It's everything from overpopulation to wanting a nice society without paying the full cost.

Unfortunately being a big state in terms of square miles gives a false impression of limitless accommodation. 't'ain't so. As with Texas, much of California -- perhaps *most* of California in particular -- needs to be reserved and protected from development. Otherwise the rest of the region goes down the tubes. But this is nothing new. Environmentalists have been saying this forever, even before Teddy Roosevelt brought some common sense to the issue from a political perspective.

Texas has a lot of nuthin' but nuthin' for hundreds and thousands of square miles. The only thing preventing development is distance from means of economic support. It's essential to preserve Big Bend, the Rio Grande valley, the natural lakes and man made reservoirs and connecting tributaries for flood control and drought protection. But not many people would cry if much of Texas was clearcut and mowed flat for development. Which is the direction many of the traditional ranches are heading.

As you say, it's not great for fans of outdoor recreation. A popular nearby semi-rural cycling route is quickly becoming too dangerous as parts of the old Walsh Ranch are being converted to residential and commercial development. Newbies don't know how to drive courteously and safely on two lane farm to market roads. And infrastructure is always the last thing to be expanded to accommodate new homes and businesses. When I was a teenager learning to drive my granddad was strict about how I drove, reminding me to be patient and pass safely when I encountered slow moving farm and ranch vehicles on the road, horses along the roadside, etc. But newbies don't know or care.

This past Sunday we could see examples of how it's gonna be. Several drivers passed us impatiently and even dangerously, only to stop and turn a few hundred yards down the road... at the new huge palace of prosperity gospel church.

I can see why so many folks have quit road riding and switched to mountain biking, cyclocross, gravel or just MUP cruising. I'm not ready to quit the road yet but I can see it'll be difficult in coming years to find safe places to ride.
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Old 10-30-19, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
I know...but one can always hope.

BTW, they should also stop broadcasting images of sunny Pasadena during the Rose Bowl Parade. All those snowbound Midwesterners get sun fever and immediately make plans to move here. Gotta stop the insanity.
that ain't helping for sure. if we had a godzilla or king kong on call to come in and stomp some busses, destroy some buidings, eat some floats, steal candy from babies in strollers,
it might slow down the 60 year migration to the sun belt. maybe. nice choice on the bike btw.
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Old 10-30-19, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Yup. I thought about staying in SoCal and buying a home after my Navy discharge in 1981. At the time I could have bought a modest house for pretty close to the same price as a starter home in Texas, my home state, around $50,000-$75,000. And I loved San Diego.


But even then I could see the handwriting and handwringing on the wall after the 1978 Prop 13 "taxpayer revolt."


Even as a budding libertarian I could see it wasn't sustainable. People want stuff -- stable government, economy, cost of living, prosperity, healthy environment -- but they don't want to pay for it. Not the real freight, anyway. They never think of the full costs of a complex society, most of which are... not exactly hidden, but not obvious.


Most of my friends who still live in California are blaming PG&E, but they aren't thinking of the big picture. This mess goes way back. It's everything from overpopulation to wanting a nice society without paying the full cost.


Unfortunately being a big state in terms of square miles gives a false impression of limitless accommodation. 't'ain't so. As with Texas, much of California -- perhaps *most* of California in particular -- needs to be reserved and protected from development. Otherwise the rest of the region goes down the tubes. But this is nothing new. Environmentalists have been saying this forever, even before Teddy Roosevelt brought some common sense to the issue from a political perspective.


Texas has a lot of nuthin' but nuthin' for hundreds and thousands of square miles. The only thing preventing development is distance from means of economic support. It's essential to preserve Big Bend, the Rio Grande valley, the natural lakes and man made reservoirs and connecting tributaries for flood control and drought protection. But not many people would cry if much of Texas was clearcut and mowed flat for development. Which is the direction many of the traditional ranches are heading.


As you say, it's not great for fans of outdoor recreation. A popular nearby semi-rural cycling route is quickly becoming too dangerous as parts of the old Walsh Ranch are being converted to residential and commercial development. Newbies don't know how to drive courteously and safely on two lane farm to market roads. And infrastructure is always the last thing to be expanded to accommodate new homes and businesses. When I was a teenager learning to drive my granddad was strict about how I drove, reminding me to be patient and pass safely when I encountered slow moving farm and ranch vehicles on the road, horses along the roadside, etc. But newbies don't know or care.


This past Sunday we could see examples of how it's gonna be. Several drivers passed us impatiently and even dangerously, only to stop and turn a few hundred yards down the road... at the new huge palace of prosperity gospel church.


I can see why so many folks have quit road riding and switched to mountain biking, cyclocross, gravel or just MUP cruising. I'm not ready to quit the road yet but I can see it'll be difficult in coming years to find safe places to ride.

yes. california is home to 280 state parks, 9 national parks (15.5% of the us total), 20 national forests (12.99% of the us total) plus other sanctuaries, preserves and the like. it's still not enuff. death valley national park is the largest national park in the lower 48. it's more than 4x bigger than yosemite and a third larger than yellowstone. 5x the size of great smoky mountains np, more than 2x the size of everglades np in florida and 3x the size of glacier np. slightly less than 3x the size of the grand canyon np. hopefully everyone has been to at least one of these parks to realize the beauty and what's really at stake in the long run.

still stand by the contention that there should be zero homes/businesses within the santa monica mountains and angeles natl forest (and other high-risk fire areas in socal). you wanna live/own a biz there, don't expect taxpayer $$ to bail you out or protect you. not unlike building sandcastles on the beach at the high tide mark. you're gonna get demolished more often than you'd like. why should we pay for stupidity/hubris/lack of adaptation/money to (literally) burn?

Last edited by ooga-booga; 10-30-19 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 10-30-19, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
@canklecat, I wish people would look at the TV images of wind-driven fires, followed by rain and then killer mudslides (like in Montecito) and stop moving to California. This state would be such a great place to live, and ride, with less than half of its current population...and that includes the useless politicians who have given the fifth largest economy in the world a third world infrastructure powered by an antiquated power grid.
Somebody from Tacoma was telling me Californians "vote for" fire, then they move up here to escape it, and vote the same way. I told him "we should build a wall" and without any irony he said "damn right!"

So you're not alone in feeling crowded out.

Beautiful steed, by the way! Beautiful story behind it too.
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Old 10-30-19, 11:49 PM
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Bikes: Marinoni, Kestral 200 2002 Trek 5200, KHS Flite, Koga Miyata, Schwinn Spitfire 5, Schwinn Speedster, Mondia Special, Univega Alpina, Miyata team Ti, MB3

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After the last Oakland fire, the cities with more urban environments really stepped up the cutting of trees and under growth. You really dont have the ability to do that in the rural areas. They pretty much are on their own to clear back fire breaks. You'll probably be seeing controlled burns in the spring, before the tinder gets too dry. My neighbors were out loading their go bags into the motorhome this weekend when I was returning from a bike swap with bikes hanging all over my car. I'm guessing my bike nut reputation got kicked up a notch...Hope you guys down south stay safe.
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