Welcome to the Editor's Daily Blog

Southern California Fire Journal.Com

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vehicle Erupts Into Flame, LACOFD 37

Palmdale: Los Angeles County Firefighters from Palmdale Station 37 prepare to attack a vehicle fire on the north bound 14 Freeway at 10th Street West Sunday at approximately 5pm. Mulitple calls of the fire were reported to the CHP dispatch office as smoke billowed over the north and south bound lanes.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman, EPN

Traffic Collision Leaves Man in Critical Condition

Lancaster CA: An 82 year old male patient was in critical condition and had to be flown to Providence Holy Cross Hospital as a result of a serious traffic collision on Ave I at the 14 Freeway at approximately 1:30 this afternoon. Two vehicles collided in the busy intersection, with the driver's door of the sedan being pushed into the passenger space of his vehicle causing multi-systems trauma. Members from Fire Station 33 and 134 in Lancaster had to extricate the driver using hydraulic spreaders to disentangle the patient from the wreckage. Los Angeles County helicopter 18 landed at Jet Hawk Stadium to pick up the patient and fly him to Holy Cross Hospital.

Photos, Jeff Zimmerman, EPN

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Video to Promote Southern California Fire Journal

Come ride along with me covering fires and emergencies across Southern California, copyright Zimmerman Media LLC

So Cal Fire Journal Documentary

I am working on a documentary to promote Southern California Fire Journal, you can see a preview. Jeff Zimmerman, Zimmerman Media

Major Accident Entrapment, Amputation Team on Order

Firefighters are trying to free a trapped driver of a semi accident on the 215 Freeway at Baseline Road in San Bernardino. An amputation team is on order. The patient has been pinned for over an hour. The large big rig hit a cement freeway bridge and has crushed the cab. Driver is critical. EPN 564 is at scene.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Firefighters Rescue Dog from Certain Death

Los Angeles County firefighters were requested by employees of the State of California Aqueduct system to a dog that had been entrapped in a water spillway near Neenache Ca. A Los Angeles County urban search and rescue team was ordered to rescue the animal from a confined space approximately 30 feet below grade. A firefighter was tethered in a rescue harness and descended via ground ladder to retrieve the most thankful dog.

Information and photograph by Dave Mills, EPN www.davemillsphotography.com

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vehicle Accident Palmdale: Critical Injuries

A driver lost control of his sport utility vehicle on the North Bound 14 Freeway at the Pearblossom Highway exit at approximately 07:30 hours this morning. Two occupants were flown to Providence Holy Cross Hospital by Fire department Paramedic Helicopter.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Early Morning Fire Destroys Garage and Automobile

Acton: An early morning fire destroyed a garage and autombile on Soledad Pass Rd near Angeles Forest Highway this morning causing approximately $60,000 in damage. LACOFD 80 reported a large loom up while enroute. Firefighters fought the fire in 28 degree weather with snow on the ground. Pictured Mike Metro from the Los Angeles County Fire Department waits for water at working fire.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heavy Rain Continues to Pound So California

Heavy rain may to be the blame for an injury accident on Palmdale BL at 90th street east at 11:00 am this morning. Los Angeles County firefighters responded a T/C entrapment call with an over turned sport utility that had spun off the roadway and into the creek. Four patients were treated at the scene. Heavy rainfall continues to pound Central and Southern California today as yet another band of strong weather and a very low jet stream dominate the weather pattern.

Photos and information Jeff Zimmerman

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Severe Weather Headed Towards Santa Barbara CA

A strong line of thunderstorms are headed towards Santa Barbara at this time, caution in the burn areas of the Tea and Gap Fires.


Information Jeff Zimmerman, Southern California Fire Journal.com

Weather Warning Strong Thunderstorm Spotted Over Pacific

A new series of heavy rain and thunder storms are approaching the Central Coast of Ca and a powerful embedded thunderstorm label j1 is forming off the channel Islands with .50 inch size hail, potential for severe weather warning. Information Jeff Zimmerman

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Storms Prompts Tornado Warning, CA

A storm moving through Central and Southern California has brought high winds, waves and lightning, prompting a tornado warning and pier closures.

Los Angeles County firefighters report minor street and building flooding in some areas of Los Angeles County on Tuesday but there are no reports of major damage or injuries.

Officials shut down piers in Ventura, Seal Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach because of 15-foot waves.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for South Central Los Angeles County because of a fast-moving thunderstorm. The warning expired about 45 minutes later but continued until 1:30 p.m. in Orange County. So Cal Fire Journal Editor Jeff Zimmerman put out the weather warning at 12:12 hours of a strong thunderstrom with rotation coming into the harbor area. The National Weather Service is verifying tornadic activity. One vehicle was over turned in the wind storm and several windows were broken in neighboring homes.

Los Angeles City Fire Station 112 in San Pedro was inundated with 2 feet of water. Motorists were also stranded on 5th and Pacific streets as water trapped them inside their vehicles.

In Lancaster several vehicles were stranded by rising flood water at the Intersection of J and 17th streets. Snow fell at the 3,000 foot level in the hills above Palmdale CA.

Numerous traffic accidents occurred on the 14 Freeway during a blinding thunderstorm. Paramedics transported one motorist after his vehicle left the 14 Freeway and over turned. Paramedics from La County Fire Station 80 in Acton and Squad 37 from Palmdale responded to the incident.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Monday, January 18, 2010

Over Turned Vehicle, 14 Freeway Palmdale

A mother and child are injured after their 4x4 Toyota For-runner over turned and skidded off the freeway on the north bound on ramp to the 14 Freeway at 3 pm today in Palmdale. Rain slick streets caused the driver to loose control and over turn. The CHP is investigating the accident.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Wind Warning, 80 M PH Winds Antelope Valley

Caution: Winter Storm Warning in effect, strong winds and heavy rain on Monday morning, gust as high as 80 mph in Antelope Valley Mountains.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

LCES in Flood Zones

Use lookouts, communications, have escape routes and a safety zone while working in the flood zones, have extra food, warm clothes and full tank of fuel, good windshield wipers, tires and chains. Be careful out there!

1994 Northridge Earthquake Anniversary

At 4:31 a.m. on Monday morning, January 17, 1994, which was MLK Day that year, a previously unknown blind thrust fault ruptured in a Mw6.7 earthquake that was centered under the San Fernando Valley which accordingly took the brunt of the quake's fury.

Damage was heavy and widespread with pockets of heavy damage well away from the immediate epicenter such as King's Beach at Redondo Beach and Hollywood and South Central Los Angeles.

Damage to public infrastructure was widespread and major in some cases as was damage to private infrastructure.

Fifty-seven people were killed and about 12,000 were injured with about 1,500 of those being significant injuries.
Injury figures would have been a lot higher had the quake occurred during the day and not on a national holiday.

The quake struck during a mild Santa Ana Wind Event which helped push some of the fires through entire mobile home parks destroying large swaths of them.

Given how dry that year had been there were many dust storms kicked up by this quake and its vigorous aftershock sequence which led to a spike in cases of Valley Fever in the area of the Santa Clarita Valley and Santa Susana Mountains.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Traffic Collision, Physical Rescue, Palmdale

Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics extricate patient trapped in vehicle accident on Elizabeth Lake Rd at Sage Tree. Patient was air lifted by paramedic helicopter to Providence Holy Cross Hospital. Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Santa Barbara Deluge Possible

County Officials Encourage Preparedness


Saturday, January 16, 2010
By Ben Preston
Santa Barbara Independent

Nature may dish a 20-inch deluge upon Santa Barbara from late Sunday until possibly Thursday morning. The National Weather Service reported on Friday that three storm systems are expected to hit Southern California on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, with each one increasing in intensity. The report said that south facing slopes are expected to incur the heaviest rainfall, with less in the coastal and valley areas. County Flood Control officials are paying particular attention to the 80,000 acre area of North County burned by the La Brea Fire this summer, as well as the large South Coast swath burned by the Gap, Tea, and Jesusita Fires over the past year and a half. City and County response crews have been alerted to watch for higher than normal stream volumes that could lead to flooding and debris flows.

County officials have reminded boat owners to make sure their vessels are seaworthy and secure. Removal of boats washed ashore will be the responsibility of their owners.

Sand and sand bags remain available at the following South County locations:

County Fire Station 14, 320 N. Los Carneros in Goleta,

The County Corp Yard at the Transfer Station, 4430 Calle Real

The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden Parking Lot

Montecito Fire Station 1, on San Ysidro Road

City of Santa Barbara Annex Yard, 401 E. Yanonali Street

City of Carpinteria Maintenance Yard, 5775 Carpinteria Avenue

Source: http://www.independent.com/news/2010/jan/16/santa-barbara-deluge-possible/

The Big One is Inevitable

The message for Southern California from the horror in Haiti should be -- but probably won't be -- to prepare for disaster.

By Cathleen Decker
Los Angeles Times

January 17, 2010

With a faraway shudder of the Earth, Californians last week went from contemplating the fates of two multimillionaire late-night comics to confronting horror in a painfully poor country.

Half a hemisphere away, homes shattered, entombing young and old. Roads clogged with debris and bodies. The injured begged for help, unheeded. Elsewhere in the world, the portrait was enough to wrench the heart. In California, it was that and more: a chilling look into the future.

For those whose livelihoods involve a constant gaze in that direction, there was a fleeting hope that the Haiti disaster would change California's reality: Despite decades of ever more urgent warnings, not enough here are really ready for the big earthquake to come. The long-predicted Big One, exponentially more powerful than that to which Port-au-Prince has succumbed.

Denial being what it is, there are always more pressing things to think about -- a foundering economy, a job on the knife's edge, morning traffic on the 405, Jay and Conan.

"This is a reminder to us that the worst-case events sometimes do happen," said Richard Andrews, who ran the state Office of Emergency Services in the 1990s, a time when California suffered repeated blows. Among them was the 1994 Northridge quake. It may have seemed big to you--scores dead, tens of billions in damages--but seismically speaking it didn't come close.

The dry bureaucratic titles manage to startle nonetheless. The "Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast," released in 2007, said California had a 99.7% chance of a 6.7 magnitude earthquake within 30 years. The likelihood of a quake of 7.5 or greater? About half and half, the flip of a coin.

The "Shakeout Earthquake Scenario" released by seismologists and others a year later filled in the gaps: The likely 7.8 magnitude breach of the southern San Andreas, now long overdue, would kill 1,800 people. Another 50,000 would be injured enough to be treated at a hospital, if they could find one. Utilities would cease; some buildings would be without water for six months. Downtown Los Angeles, some distance from the epicenter, would shake for 55 seconds, eight times longer than Northridge.

Granted, buildings in California are far stronger than those in Haiti, but a 7.8 temblor would be much more powerful than the Haitian quake and is far from the worst the San Andreas could deliver.

Much of the damage could be lessened with preparation, earthquake experts say, but people don't prepare. California's earthquake insurance authority says only 12% of those who insure their homes also carry earthquake protection. A state-financed report now winding its way to the governor's office is expected to show that not enough people have adopted cheaper ways to get ready -- stocking water and food, buying a fire extinguisher, tying down water heaters and heavy furniture, making a plan.

In part, that is because most of the quakes in recent times -- indeed, for California natives, for their parents' times as well -- have been fairly survivable. Armchair earthquake psychologists say that for many, the assumption is that if they survived Northridge, or the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in Northern California, well, how much worse could it get?

"It's human nature to consider your risk based on your experience and also to deny the risk you have in order to feel safe," said Mark Benthien of the Southern California Earthquake Center at USC. "If we didn't think that way instinctively, we'd never leave the house."

There is also a common misperception that in times of grievous damage, rescue will come from the hand of government. Not terribly likely.

Glenn Pomeroy heads the California Earthquake Authority, which provides catastrophic insurance to homeowners in the state. In 1997, when North Dakota's Red River broke its banks and flooded Grand Forks, he was the state's insurance commissioner.

"We learned a lot about people's false hopes -- 'Well, the government's gonna help out,' " he said. "As we learn time and time again, from floods in North Dakota to hurricanes in New Orleans, the federal government doesn't just swoop in and build back homes."

Pomeroy and others are trying to ease one impediment to preparation: the high cost of earthquake insurance. Members of Congress and senators from California are trying to push through a change in the funding requirements that would allow the earthquake authority to drop both the rates and the high deductibles.

"They're not buying because it costs too much and the deductible is too high," he said.

Despite their desperate financial straits, county and state governments have managed not to cut too grievously into earthquake planning or emergency programs. Helping them out since 2001 has been the influx of anti-terrorism money, of which about $2 billion has flowed into California.

"Whether you're preparing to protect critical infrastructure from willful attacks or earthquakes, some of that is the same type of work," said Jay Alan, director of communications for the California Emergency Management Agency.

But never-ending budget woes do strain the system, noted Ryan J. Alsop of Los Angeles County's chief executive office. Disasters are always a priority, he said, but if they happen, there is less and less left over for anything else.

"We hope we don't have one right now," he said facetiously. "It's not a good time."

The day the quake struck Haiti, Ken Kondo got a call from a Los Angeles group that wanted someone to give a talk about earthquake preparation. A program manager at the county's office of emergency management, he showed up and took a survey. Out of the 200 in the audience, how many had a disaster kit? Three hands rose.

"Southern Californians are used to earthquakes and so sometimes you get a little complacent with it," he said. "The goal is to prevent disasters from becoming catastrophes."

Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-week17-2010jan17,0,4714976.story

Shooting Palmdale, Air Squad

Palmdale: The Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff's Department responded to a shooting on 1328 Berkshire in Palmdale. Upon arrival a paramedic helicopter was requested to respond to Marie Kerr Park to tansport a juvenile to Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. The patient was in serious condition. The scene is under investigation by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Weather Warning For Burn Areas

Caution: Strong winter storm warnings are now effect for late Sunday evening, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for above average precipitation, strong winds, the possibility of thunderstorm activity and debris flows near burn areas. Homeowners should take caution in the burn areas.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Family Escapes Early Morning House Fire

Los Angeles County Firefighters were summoned to a reported structure fire at 3287 Ave S-2 in East Palmdale at approximately 02:00 am this morning . A family narrowly escaped the flames leaving with literally the clothes on their back as a fire in the attic space spread across the single family dwelling, causing over $60,000.00 of damage to the structure and contents. Firefighters worked quickly to halt the flames as the fire spread across the attic space of the home. Using handlines and vertical ventilation, removing the burning chimney and burning roofing material County Firefighters were able to halt the fire in approximately 30 minutes. The fire is believed to have extended into the attic from a faulty chimney.

Photos and Information Jeff Zimmerman

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wet Weather Ahead, Caution in Burn Areas

Interesting weather pattern building. If it comes to fruition, might cause us some problems.

Anyone who ever said that winter weather in California was boring has never experienced a pattern like the one we're headed for over the next several weeks. After a very prolonged period of benign and mostly dry weather across the entire state brought about by an anomalously and almost bizarrely persistent high-latitude block for much of the winter season thus far, a major shift in the hemispheric flow pattern will being a prolonged period of heavy rainfall and strong winds to the entire state of California. Though there have been a few large storms California over the last few years, the first decade of the new millennium was generally not known for its active weather patterns in our state. The new decade appears to be trying to make up for some lost time in that regard. For the first time in at least several years, a powerful southern stream branch of the jet stream over the Pacific is expected to roar across CA for at least the next two weeks, potentially bringing a tremendous amount of precipitation and frequent strong wind events.

First things first, however. A decent rainmaker moved through Northern California overnight, bringing mostly moderate but locally heavy precipitation. Looking out the window this afternoon, I see the first direct sunlight in weeks here in the fog-plagued Central Valley, but this break will be short-lived as there is a rather potent-looking convective system several hundred miles off the coast. This system will lift northeast and move inland overnight, bringing periods of rain with embedded thunderstorms to much ofNorCai. Precipitation could be locally heavy once again due to convective elements. SoCal will stay dry from this system except for perhaps a few light showers in the north. Showers and thunderstorms wane by tomorrow afternoon in the north and the Central Valley will likely see a couple more days of dense Tule fog as a brief quiescent period occurs between Thursday and early Saturday. Later on Saturday, however, the first of a great number of strong to powerful storms will begin approach the coast.

All this excitement revolves around the southern branch of the jet stream over the Pacific, which is known to be energized by EI Nino. Currently, the strong EI Nino is reaching its peak in the Eastern Pacific, and now

finally appears to be exerting an influence on our weather. The strong jet has been apparent for quite some time out over the open water, but the persistent block had prevented it from reaching the coast. Now that the block has dissolved completely, a 200+ kt jet is barreling towards us. Multiple large and powerful storm systems are expected to slam into CA from the west and northwest over the coming two weeks, all riding this extremely powerful jet stream directly into the state. The jet will itself provide tremendous dynamic lift, in addition to directing numerous disturbances right at the state and supplying them with an ample oceanic moisture source. The jet will be at quite a low latitude over much of the Pacific, so these storms will be quite cold, at least initially. Very heavy rainfall and strong to potentially very strong winds will impact the lower elevations beginning late Sunday and continuing through at least the following Sunday. This will be the case for the entire state, from (and south of) the Mexican border all the way up to Oregon. Above 3000-4000 feet, precipitation will be all snow, and since temperatures will be unusually cold for a precipitation event of this magnitude, a truly prodigious amount of snowfall is likely to occur in the mountains, possibly measured in the tens of feet in the Sierra after it's all said and done. But there's a big and rather threatening caveat to that (discussed below).Individual storm events are going to be hard to time for at least few more days, since this jet is just about as powerful as they come (on this planet, anyway). Between this Sunday and the following Sunday, I expect categorical statewide rainfall totals in excess of 3-4 inches. That is likely to be a huge underestimate for most areas. Much ofNorCal is likely to see 5-10 inches in the lowlands, with 10-20 inches in orographically-favored areas. Most of SoCal will see 3-6 inches at lower elevations, with perhaps triple that amount in favored areas.

This is where things get even more interesting, though. The models are virtually unanimous in "reloading" the powerful jet stream and forming an additional persistent kink 2000-3000 miles to our southwest after next Sunday. This is a truly ominous pattern, because it implies the potential for a strong Pineapple-type connection to develop. Indeed, the 12z GFS now shows copious warm rains falling between days 12 and 16 across the entire state. Normally, such as scenario out beyond day seven would be dubious at best. Since the models are in such truly remarkable agreement, however, and because of the extremely high potential impact of such an event, it's worth mentioning now. Since there will be a massive volume of freshly-fallen snow (even at relatively low elevations between 3000-5000 feet), even a moderately warm storm event would cause very serious flooding. This situation will have to monitored closely. Even if the tropical connection does not develop, expected rains in the coming 7-10 days will likely be sufficient to cause flooding in and of themselves (even in spite of dry antecedent conditions). In addition to very heavy precipitation, powerful winds may result from very steep pressure gradients associated with the large and deep low pressure centers expect ed to begin approaching the coast by early next week. Though it's not clear at the moment just how powerful these winds may be, there is certainly the potential for a widespread damaging wind event at some point, and the high Sierra peaks are likely to see gusts in the 100-200 mph range (since the 200ktjet at 200-300 mb will essentially run directly into the mountains at some point). The details of this will have to be hashed out as the event(s) draw closer.

In short, the next 2-3 weeks (at least) are likely to be more active across California than any other 2-3 week period in recent memory. The potential exists for a dangerous flood scenario to arise at some point during this interval, especially with the possibility of a heavy rain-on-snow event during late week 2. In some parts of Southern California, a whole season's worth of rain could fall over the course of 5-10 days. This is likely to be a rather memorable event. Stay tuned.

Wildfire Greater Alarm Assignment Ortega Highway 74 CNF

USFS and CAL Fire RRU are working a greater alarm vegetation fire, Highway 74 and Tenaja RD. Initial reports, wind driven in heavy fuels. Riverside, CA | RRU USFS OCFA | 168.750 Forest Net | 173.9625 | and Tac 5

Strike Teams 6001 A and 9310 C, CNF Incident 132, Wildfire Ortega Highway 74 Tenaja Rd. Forest Net tone 12 Tac 5 major wildfire.

Freq: CNF Forest Net (168.750MHz) , Forest Net TAC5 (173.9125MHz), RVC RRU 2 (151.175

Rate of Spread at 16:28 Hours has slowed considerably. Photo Courtesy lloyd Payne, EPN

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vehicle Over the Side, Goode Hill Rd

Rain slickened streets and a steep mountain road had tragedy written all over it. A driver lost control of a Toyota forerunner and went over the steep cliff on Goode Hill Rd 1 mile north of Elizabeth Lake road this morning. Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatched a full assignment including a USAR task force to assist the driver out of the canyon bottom.

Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vehicle Over The Side, Angeles Forest

A full response to a vehicle over the side, Angeles National Forest, Little Tujunga Road at Gold Creek. One woman is injured in the crash. USFS personnel assisted LACOFD personnel with extrication. Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Car Port Fire 2651 Dalton, South Los Angeles

LAFD task force 26 will handle three autos in a car port. All occupants of the apartment complex over the parking area were uninjured.

Fatal Traffic Accident, North bound 405 near the Artesia exit

A motorcycle collided with a disabled big rig, bursting into flame upon impact. The driver of the motorcycle was killed on impact. All images by Jeff Zimmerman. Please do not reproduce these images.

Truck Fire, LAFD 64 LACOFD 95

A large column of black smoke could be seen from the Harbor Freeway from a truck fire at Figueroa and El Sugundo. By the time I arrived from Slauson and the Harbor Freeway, not much was left of the big rig.

Earthquake, 6.5 Magnitude, Eureka CA

6.5 earthquake near Eureka, Calif., snaps power lines and topples televisions [Updated]
January 9, 2010 | 5:50 pm

A strong earthquake, estimated magnitude 6.5, rocked the Eureka, Calif., area this afternoon, snapping power lines, toppling televisions, disrupting power throughout the region and forcing the evacuation of at least one mall.

The earthquake was centered under the Pacific Ocean, about 25 miles southwest of Eureka, at 4:27 p.m. A tsunami was not expected, according to the National Weather Service.

[Updated 5:57 p.m.: The California Highway Patrol in Eureka reported no major damage to roads and bridges and highways and said roads are open.

"Right now it's very preliminary but there does not seem to be any damage that is overly significant." said Capt. Dale Cannon. "We've got some minor glass breakage, some gas mains affected and some power lines down."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

LAFD 64, Century and Figueroa

A well involved vehicle fire, Century and Figueroa South Los Angeles Engine 64, check the entire sequence at www.zimmermanmedia.com fire photography, latest images. Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Eve 1933 Flooding after a Major Fire in La Crescenta

Los Angeles County - Crescenta Valley

Notes: On this date in 1934 following heavy rains in the San Gabriel Mountains, walls of water and debris rampaged down steep canyons and into small communities at the base of those mountains along the northern margin of the Crescenta Valley killing over 100 people in La Crescenta, La Canada, and Montrose and damaging or destroying hundreds of homes and automobiles.

In one particularly tragic incident, a wall of water tore into a Red Cross shelter located in an American Legion Hall killing 25 men, women, and children.