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Saturday, December 31, 2011

LAFD Arson Cases

..(Reuters) - About three dozen vehicles have been intentionally burned in the Los Angeles area the past two days, causing damage estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and setting off a broad police and fire investigation.

No residents have been injured and one firefighter has been treated and released for injuries fighting the spate of apparently related arson fires that has triggered a broad local and federal response, authorities said on Saturday.

Police stepped up patrols and the fire department has planned to maintain a command post for the New Year's weekend in the area. Additional fire department arson investigators have been called in to review video footage, map where and when the fires were set and interview witnesses.

Investigators were trying to determine if the string of fires was set by one person or more than one person, said Officer Norma Eisenman, a police department spokeswoman.

Nine vehicles burned early Saturday in the San Fernando Valley, police said, and the Los Angeles Fire Department reported vehicle or structure fires at other locations.

The early Saturday fires followed on 21 intentionally set fires involving vehicles or car ports in the city and county the day before, according to the fire department.

The fires have in some instances spread to structures and the fire department provided a "conservative" estimate for $350,000 in property damage from the Friday fires alone.

Authorities were offering rewards totaling $60,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the arsonist, the fire department said.

No suspects were in custody Saturday morning, Eisenman said. Police released people who had been detained in the investigation after determining they had no connection to the fires, she said.

Investigators were going over numerous tips from residents and surveillance recordings from area apartment buildings, Eisenman said.

The investigation includes the U.S. ATF, the Los Angeles County Sheriff, Los Angeles County Fire Department and Beverly Hills Fire Department.

(Reporting by David Bailey)

..

Arson Update from LA Times

L.A.-area residents fear arsonist may strike again
Twenty-one 'highly unusual' fires are set within a few hours in Hollywood and West Hollywood. Nearly all of them started with a vehicle being set ablaze, but flames also damaged several residences.


Plumber Uri Oren works to clear a drain after an arson fire in the carport of an apartment building on Harper Avenue in West Hollywood. Twenty-one fires were set within hours in Hollywood and West Hollywood in one of the worst arson rampages in recent L.A. history. (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times / December 30, 2011)

By Joel Rubin, Andrew Blankstein and Ari Bloomekatz,
Los Angeles Times
December 31, 2011

The first call came in 25 minutes after midnight. A car parked in an underground garage in West Hollywood was engulfed in flames.

Three minutes later, firefighters responded to a second call a few blocks away.

Then a third. And a fourth.

Fire crews rolling out to one scene could hear dispatchers on their radios putting out the details of another. It didn't take long for fire officials to realize there was nothing coincidental about what was happening. They had an arsonist, or perhaps more than one, on their hands.

It would become, said Los Angeles Deputy Fire Chief Mario Rueda, "a night of managing chaos."

When dawn finally broke Friday, 21 fires smoldered throughout Hollywood and West Hollywood, making it one of the worst arson rampages in recent Los Angeles history.

Among the properties damaged was the Hollywood Hills home where The Doors' Jim Morrison once lived and which inspired his song "Love Street."

The night left L.A.-area residents on edge and investigators perplexed as they began the painstaking search for clues on who had set the fires and why.

Nearly all of the fires started with a vehicle being set ablaze. Several times, however, the flames jumped to nearby apartment buildings or houses, causing significant damage at some of the locations.

Estimates on the total cost of the damage were not available, although officials from the Los Angeles County Fire Department said that four fires set in West Hollywood alone destroyed about $350,000 worth of cars and property.

One firefighter suffered back and neck injuries and was taken to a hospital. His condition was not thought to be serious.

Investigators and experts said the fires were highly unusual for even a serial arsonist because of the sheer number of fires in a relatively short period of time. Officials have not said how the fires were set or whether they believe one or more people are responsible.

Of particular interest was Samuel Arrington, a 22-year-old from Sunland. Arrington was arrested Thursday on suspicion of starting three fires that day along a stretch of Sunset Boulevard in the same area as several of the fires that erupted hours later. Arrington was never released from custody after his arrest and arson investigators questioned him Friday in search of some link between him and the fires set Friday morning, officials said.

"It's too early to say whether we have a copycat," said Jaime Moore, a captain in the Los Angeles Fire Department.

In arson cases involving an initial set of fires followed by another, it is not unusual for someone unconnected to the first arsonist — a copycat — to have set the second group.

Residents and public safety officials alike expressed fear that the person or people responsible would ignite more fires in coming nights.

Another car fire broke out about 7:30 p.m. Friday in an underground garage in Hollywood in the 1600 block of North Sycamore Avenue. A team of investigators was immediately dispatched to the scene to look into the cause.

"We believe it's a good possibility that the individual responsible for the fires this morning is responsible for the fire that occurred tonight," Moore said.

Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said they planned to deploy additional officers throughout the area and called on the public to keep watch for anything suspicious.

Staffing at city and county fire stations also will be upped. The city, county and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives put up a $60,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprit or culprits.

"Arsonists often like to watch fires they set," said sheriff's Det. Ed Nordskog. "Someone likely saw something they may not think was important, but all clues are good clues right now."

Fire and police officials described a night of mounting anxiety and helplessness as the calls piled up and the reality of the situation set in.

From 12:25 a.m. until shortly after 1 a.m., reports of five fires came in. Four were within a block or two of each other on residential streets off Santa Monica Boulevard near Fairfax Avenue. A fifth occurred about a mile north near Hollywood Boulevard.

An hourlong lull followed the initial barrage, giving firefighters a false sense of relief that the string had ended. At 2 a.m., the calls began anew. Convinced they were dealing with an arsonist, fire officials frantically started to map the fires in an attempt to find a pattern in their location and timing — all in an effort to decipher where the arsonist or arsonists would strike next.

The LAPD, meanwhile, went on a citywide tactical alert, meaning that officers remained on the job even after their shifts ended.

Although scattered over a wide area, the fires in the second wave appeared to occur within minutes of each other. One, for example, was reported at Morrison's old home off Laurel Canyon Boulevard and then, a minute later, emergency dispatchers received word of another fire 3 1/2 miles away on Cahuenga Boulevard. Things were quiet again between 3 and 4 a.m., but then a final outburst of three fires erupted in a 10-minute span.

The distances between the locations and the timing of the calls seemed to indicate that either more than one person was involved, the fires were ignited remotely or people had been slow to report some of the fires.

"We've had nights … where there were three or four — someone was driving or walking around and setting [a series] of fires, but not something where they were targeting the community to this extent," Rueda said. "This was highly unusual."

The arsonist or arsonists may have focused on automobiles because they present an easy, effective target, said Robert Rowe, a fire safety consultant and retired arson investigator.

"They're a quick source of fuel," he said. "You break a window, you throw some type of object inside and it burns quite vigorously with the plastic, the upholstery and the gasoline."

Arsonists, he added, can be motivated by a range of things — the desire for recognition or revenge among them. Often mental illness is a factor.

"Sometimes the numbers grow because there's a thrill involved," Rowe said. "It becomes a kind of game to see how many more they can light until they finally get caught."

Whatever the reason, the fires turned an otherwise normal night on its head for scores of people who had to flee encroaching flames.

When Luisa Lopez awoke to a man shouting "Fire!" outside her apartment, choking, acrid smoke had already begun to seep into her bedroom. As she and her two children left, the 45-year-old single mother saw her 2002 Toyota 4Runner ablaze in the carport.

"It was horrible," she said. "Seeing the car was awful."

Lopez said she now would need to rent a car in order to get to her job as a housekeeper in Studio City.

In addition to Lopez's SUV, at least three other cars were badly damaged at the building and a thick coat of black soot covered the once cream-colored facade of the complex.

An apartment overlooking the carport sustained the worst damage — its windows shattered, pieces of furniture burned and the fire alarm melted.

Arson Fires Continue in North Hollywood

Numerous structure and auto fires being reported tonight in North Hollywood, LAFD engines and trucks are scrambling to numerous fires, a very serious situation. It appears this is the third night of arson fires plaguing Los Angeles. Fires have been reported on New Haven, Tuxford, Burbank Bl and Riverside Dr. If anyone has information please contact LAFD Arson Hotline or LAPD (213) 893-9800, or LAPD at (213) 972-2971. There is reward money for information from ATF, LA City and LA County.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Arson Fire Arrests in Los Angeles, A Very Serious Problem

The first arrest involved a suspect who is responsible for three arson fires and one attempted arson fire. The incidents occurred on December 29, 2011 between the hours of 1:12 AM and 1:28 AM and are as follows:

At 1:12 AM, a dumpster fire occurred at 1444 Poinsettia Place, and a carport fire at 1434 Fuller Avenue where four vehicles and an apartment above were damaged. Then, at 1:28 AM, fire was set to a trash can in a parking lot and an attempted arson to personal property at 7040 Sunset Boulevard.

As information was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Arson Investigators, it was determined that this suspect was, in fact, responsible for the first two incidents. The arrested is 22 year-old Sun Valley resident Samual Arrington.

The second arrest occurred as a result of a rubbish fire at 1347 McCadden Place, at 4:29 AM. There, 55 year-old Alejandro Pineda was arrested for burning trash. LAPD assisted Arson Investigators by transporting and booking the suspect while LAFD Investigators completed their scene examination. The suspect was booked on a charge of Arson of Property and bail is set at $50,000.

Since then, 21 fires (17 in the City and four in the County), involving various intentionally set automobile and structure fires created a conservative estimate of $350,000 in property damage. These fires occurred in the densely populated (approximately 20,000 people per square mile) Hollywood area and required firefighters to work tirelessly through a long and busy night. Due to the outstanding and diligent work of Los Angeles Firefighters, no civilians were injured and no structures were a total loss. However, one firefighter sustained a non-life-threatening injury while performing firefighting operations and was transported to a local hospital in fair condition. He has since has been released.

The LAFD is very concerned about these dangerous fires that could of resulted in deaths and are working closely with, Los Angeles Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol - Tobacco - Firearms and Explosives, LA County Sheriff's, Los Angeles County Fire Department, along with Beverly Hills Fire Department as a cohesive team.

LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section called in several additional investigators, all of whom continue to work around the clock and are currently reviewing video footage, mapping out and sequencing the fire incidents, interviewing witnesses and repeatedly canvasing the ashes during this active investigation.

We are asking the public to assist. Remain vigilant and "If you see something, say something". If you have any information that may assist in this active investigation, or if you witness any suspicious activity please call LAFD at (213) 893-9800, or LAPD at (213) 972-2971. If you witness someone actively committing a crime call 9-1-1. A reward is being offered.

Arson Fire Arrests in Los Angeles, A very Serious Problem

The first arrest involved a suspect who is responsible for three arson fires and one attempted arson fire. The incidents occurred on December 29, 2011 between the hours of 1:12 AM and 1:28 AM and are as follows:

At 1:12 AM, a dumpster fire occurred at 1444 Poinsettia Place, and a carport fire at 1434 Fuller Avenue where four vehicles and an apartment above were damaged. Then, at 1:28 AM, fire was set to a trash can in a parking lot and an attempted arson to personal property at 7040 Sunset Boulevard.

As information was developed by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Arson Investigators, it was determined that this suspect was, in fact, responsible for the first two incidents. The arrested is 22 year-old Sun Valley resident Samual Arrington.

The second arrest occurred as a result of a rubbish fire at 1347 McCadden Place, at 4:29 AM. There, 55 year-old Alejandro Pineda was arrested for burning trash. LAPD assisted Arson Investigators by transporting and booking the suspect while LAFD Investigators completed their scene examination. The suspect was booked on a charge of Arson of Property and bail is set at $50,000.

Since then, 21 fires (17 in the City and four in the County), involving various intentionally set automobile and structure fires created a conservative estimate of $350,000 in property damage. These fires occurred in the densely populated (approximately 20,000 people per square mile) Hollywood area and required firefighters to work tirelessly through a long and busy night. Due to the outstanding and diligent work of Los Angeles Firefighters, no civilians were injured and no structures were a total loss. However, one firefighter sustained a non-life-threatening injury while performing firefighting operations and was transported to a local hospital in fair condition. He has since has been released.

The LAFD is very concerned about these dangerous fires that could of resulted in deaths and are working closely with, Los Angeles Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol - Tobacco - Firearms and Explosives, LA County Sheriff's, Los Angeles County Fire Department, along with Beverly Hills Fire Department as a cohesive team.

LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section called in several additional investigators, all of whom continue to work around the clock and are currently reviewing video footage, mapping out and sequencing the fire incidents, interviewing witnesses and repeatedly canvasing the ashes during this active investigation.

We are asking the public to assist. Remain vigilant and "If you see something, say something". If you have any information that may assist in this active investigation, or if you witness any suspicious activity please call LAFD at (213) 893-9800, or LAPD at (213) 972-2971. If you witness someone actively committing a crime call 9-1-1. A reward is being offered.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mc Nally Fire Updae

Homeless woman found dead believed to be same person who started massive 2002 wildfire
BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer
Thursday, Dec 29 2011 06:00 AM
Last Updated Thursday, Dec 29 2011 06:00 AM
There are indications a homeless woman found dead in a small encampment near the Chester Avenue Bridge was the same woman who gained notoriety about a decade ago after accidentally igniting the largest wildfire in Sequoia National Forest history.
Peri Dare Van Brunt started the McNally Fire in July 2002 when a campfire she was using to cook hot dogs burned out of control. The blaze scorched 150,000 acres and racked up $148 million in firefighting and other costs.
The woman found dead Tuesday has been identified as Peri Dare Van Brunt, and her age and what's known of her criminal history match the records of the Van Brunt who started the wildfire.
Two of Van Brunt's children were collecting her belongings Wednesday at the small, cluttered campsite she kept amid some trees near the water's edge. Jimmy Watkins, 28, and Lani Van Brunt, 22, described their mother as a loving person who at times struggled with drugs and had been homeless for the past two years.
Lani Van Brunt turned away and said she had no comment when asked if her mother had started the McNally Fire.
But she was willing to speak about her mother's interests. Peri Dare Van Brunt enjoyed listening to classic rock, doing arts and crafts and cooking, and had worked at several local eateries, Lani Van Brunt said.
Watkins said Van Brunt had fallen on hard times and was unable to find work. He and Lani visited her frequently at her makeshift campsite.
"She'd do anything for anybody," Watkins said.
Van Brunt pleaded guilty in May 2003 to three misdemeanor charges of negligently setting the McNally Fire, and was later sentenced to 18 months in prison. The blaze burned for two months, destroying three homes, five commercial properties and six outbuildings.
Kern County Fire Engineer Leland Davis said Wednesday the McNally Fire remains the largest Sequoia National Forest wildfire.
Van Brunt admitted to taking methamphetamine the night before the fire, according to archived articles in The Californian. The blaze started July 21, 2002 at Road's End Resort, 16 miles north of Kernville.
The charges she pleaded guilty to said she left an unlawful fire unattended, didn't clear an area around the fire and caused a fire that burned trees, brush and grass. Witnesses said she went to the resort asking for help in dousing a fire near the river, and then fled with her dog.
She was arrested a week later.
Married at the time with two children, Van Brunt had gone to the resort after her estranged husband, Gary Van Brunt, traveled there to get away from her. Gary Van Brunt had asked for a court order prohibiting her from coming near him, alleging that she was unstable and destroyed the house they'd been living in, according to Californian reports at the time.
Both before and after the fire, Van Brunt was repeatedly charged with drug offenses.
The Kern County Superior Court website says Peri Van Brunt pleaded no contest to drug possession for sales in 1992 and 1994, petty theft in 2007, drug possession in 2008, and in 2009 she again pleaded no contest to drug possession for sales.
Bakersfield police Sgt. Mary DeGeare said Van Brunt was last seen alive about 5:30 p.m. Monday. She lived alone in the camp.
There was no sign of injury to the body, and no indication of foul play, DeGeare said.
Lani Van Brunt said an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.
Source: http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x4969554/Homeless-woman-found-dead-believed-to-be-same-person-who-started-massive-2002-wildfire

Arson Suspect Caught by Civilian, LA Times Report

Arsonist set 3 Hollywood fires 15 minutes apart, police say
By Angel Jennings

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 29, 2011, 8:25 a.m.
An arson suspect has been arrested in Hollywood after allegedly setting three fires that caused massive property damage early Thursday morning.

Samuel Arrington, 22, of Sunland, is charged with arson for torching a vehicle and setting rubbish on fire. The fires were set 15 minutes apart from one another along a five-block stretch of Sunset Boulevard, authorities said.

It is estimated that the fires caused more than $100,000 in property damage, said Captain Jaime Moore, a public information officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department. An elderly male was treated for smoke inhalation.

The first blaze took place at 1:12 a.m. on Poinsettia Place and Sunset Avenue, where a dumpster was set on fire.

Around the same time, firefighters received a call about a car fire in the carport attached to an apartment building at 1434 N. Fuller Ave. Firefighters rushed to rescue the 20 occupants who lived inside the 10-unit apartment complex. A 73-year-old male was taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Four vehicles were destroyed in the front of the building. As the flames rose from the carport to the building itself, it damaged at least two apartment units.

In the third blaze, the suspect set a trash can on fire at Sunset Boulevard and Sycamore Avenue before a witness apprehended him.

The witness, Pedro Mejia, was cleaning the sidewalk with a pressure washer when he encountered the suspect.

"I saw him turn the trash can on fire," Mejia told KTLA News. "After that, he walked toward my equipment and tried to set it on fire."

Arrington was trying to ignite two fuel tanks attached to Mejia's pressure washer. Mejia said the fuel tanks on the washer contain 30 gallons of diesel. "I ran over there and chased him away."

Mejia detained Arrington and flagged down passing police. The LAFD's arson unit is investigating the crime. No motive has been determined, but it is suspected that Arrington may have been under the influence of a controlled substance, Moore said.

"He could have done a lot more damage," he said.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

LA County Wildfire 1 Acre

Brush Fire* FS77 [Gorman], Davidson's Ranch Rd x Copco Rd. E77's serveral miles out w/ smoke showing. Req Comm Plan. "Ranch IC" B12-T18 #LACoFD. Initial attack Fire at 1acre 12:42

Friday, December 23, 2011

Five Alarm Structure Fire, San Francisco CA

Dozens forced from homes after 5-alarm San Francisco fire
By: Andrea Koskey | 12/22/11 8:41 PM
SF Examiner Staff Writer
.
Mike Koozmin/The SF Examiner
Nearly half of The City’s on-duty firefighters were called out to Thursday’s blaze. A massive wind-fueled fire tore apart three buildings in the Western Addition near Alamo Square on Thursday, leaving some 60 people without homes just days before Christmas.

The scorching blaze began about 11:53 a.m. and quickly gained steam due to gusting winds, according to the Fire Department. Wind speeds recorded at San Francisco International Airport were between 17 and 23 mph at the time, the National Weather Service said. Nearly half of The City’s on-duty fire staff was called to the scene.

The fire broke out in the rear of 1502 Golden Gate Ave., a three-story wooden Victorian building, and spread to an apartment complex and a small single-family home on Elm Street, burning for three hours. An adjacent school sustained minor smoke damage, but it was vacant due to the winter break.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said roughly 150 firefighters were needed to battle the five-alarm blaze. She said Thursday’s windy conditions and the attached buildings made it difficult to fight the fire.

Related...
.
Western Addition fire displaces dozens, injures three
12/22/11 12:26 PM
Three people were injured and at least 70 residents were displaced Thursday after a five-alarm fire burned out of control in two residential buildings in the Western Addition neighborhood, San Francisco Fire Department officials said. The fire was reported at 11:53 a.m. on Pierce Street near Elm Street, a narrow road between Golden Gate Avenue and Turk Street, a fire dispatcher said. Read More “It’s a stubborn fire,” Hayes-White said. “It’s very active flames.”

The cause of the blaze was unknown as of Thursday night.

Hayes-White said flames quickly reached the roof of the Victorian, which was built around 1900. It’s unknown on which floor the fire originated.

As many as 60 people were estimated to be displaced from 32 apartments, flats and homes in the three buildings, fire officials said. Three people were treated for injuries, including one firefighter for smoke inhalation and another for minor burns to the back of his neck, according to Hayes-White.

A nearby nursing home was evacuated of more than 100 residents because of potential dangers from breathing in smoke, Hayes-White said.

The extent of the overall damage was not immediately assessed, Hayes-White said, because fire crews could not enter any of the buildings.

The fire produced towering flames that shot high into the air, and smoke billowed out of all three buildings for several hours. Plumes of smoke could be seen and smelled miles away. The blaze was contained just after 3 p.m.

It was the largest blaze San Francisco firefighters have had to combat since 2005, when more than 60 people were displaced at 3330 16th St.

Hayes-White said when firefighters first arrived on scene they took an aggressive approach to contain the flames, but the intensity of the wind, flames and heat forced a different tactic.

Firefighters were called away from the blaze more than an hour after it began. They then started battling it defensively, spraying water from all angles, including from the ground and several ladder trucks.

Dozens of residents gathered at a temporary shelter nearby that was set up by the Red Cross to assist displaced families. One person, who declined to be identified, held himself up by a truck in shock of what happened.

The man was cleaning his home in the Victorian building when the fire alarm at the school went off. He said he thought nothing of it until a neighbor came by to warn him of the danger.

“It was total panic mode,” he said of when the neighbor came to his door. “I don’t know what happened.”

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi was at the scene of the fire to assess the situation and give condolences to the victims.

“It’s gut-wrenching,” he said. “We’re setting up and doing what we can to help them deal with the consequences.”
Mayor Ed Lee said The City would do all it can to help the victims.

“There’s considerable damage,” he said. “We’re trying to locate temporary shelters. It’s so close to the holidays, not everyone will have an alternate place to go. We will help them in every way we can.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com



Family reunions and neighborly charity bloom in ashes of devastating flames
By Amy Crawford
SF Examiner Staff Writer

Sarah Gordon was baking Christmas cookies for her family when she heard her building’s fire alarm go off.

“I had just gotten the oven pre-heated,” she said. “I walked out the door to see what it was and I saw the flames.”

With no time to spare, Gordon grabbed one of her two cats — the other had disappeared under the bed — and ran outside.

“The windows were already breaking and everyone was screaming to get out,” she said.

Gordon, 30, who lived in a studio apartment at 1015 Pierce St., was one of at least 60 residents displaced Thursday after a five-alarm fire tore through three residential buildings in the Western Addition neighborhood.

Two hours after the fire was reported at 11:53 a.m., firefighters were still working to knock down flames as a handful of residents sat in a makeshift evacuation center set up by the Red Cross in the social hall of the nearby Missionary Temple Church.

“We’re all kind of in a little bit of shock,” said Richard Lenhart, who was a live-in manager at 1015 Pierce, a three-story building with 25 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Lenhart’s partner, Michael Pacia, said the couple were planning to spend Christmas with family in Citrus Heights. The gifts they would have brought with them were in their ruined apartment.

“A brand-new iMac, not even out of the box yet,” Pacia said, shaking his head.

Angel Plascencia, 19, a student at San Francisco State University, was planning to go to his family’s home in the Central Valley for Christmas. Now, instead of leaving, he plans to stay with friends to see if he can salvage anything from his apartment.

“I never thought I was ever going to experience anything like that,” Plascencia said, standing on the sidewalk in shorts and a T-shirt with a Red Cross blanket over his shoulders. “I was most scared when I was on the first floor and I saw the flames.”

Candice Lamarche, who lives next door to the church, dropped by to donate clothes.

“I actually had a house fire in Sacramento about five years ago, so I know what it’s like to lose everything,” she said. “You can’t really think because you’re so in shock. You don’t even have a toothbrush.”

Gordon, who left her apartment in flannel pajama pants and a pair of Giants slippers, had no time to grab her cellphone on the way out. But she borrowed a neighbor’s phone to call her father, and soon her parents, brother, sister-in-law and boyfriend were by her side.

“As we came through the Caldecott Tunnel, I saw the plume and said, ‘Oh, dear God, I hope that’s not it.’ And it was,” said her father, Michael Gordon, who had been in Walnut Creek when Sarah called.

But despite the tragedy, the Gordons were relieved.

“We have her,” Michael Gordon said.

“I just hope everybody else has as much support as I have to deal with this,” Sarah Gordon said.

acrawford@sfexaminer.com



How to help
What’s needed: Cash
Where: Visit RedCrossBayArea.org or call (888) 4-HELP-BAY, or drop by the Red Cross’ offices at 85 Second St. The Alamo Square Neighborhood Association also is accepting donations at AlamoSq.wordpress.com
When: Anytime

The Red Cross of San Francisco is providing emergency aid for people who lost their homes and belongings. Spokesman Steve Sharp said they need cash to replenish their resources for the next disaster. He asked people not to donate clothing or housewares. “It’s hard for us to take in-kind donations, because we have to sort, clean everything,” Sharp said.

Notable San Francisco fires
June 2, 2011: Two-alarm blaze at 133 Berkeley Way in the Diamond Heights neigh­borhood kills two firefighters. It’s the first time in more than six decades that two firefighters die in an S.F. blaze.

Feb. 5, 2009: Six firefighters are injured, including one critically, in a fire at 627 Felton St. in the Portola district. Arson is later deemed to be the cause of the blaze.

July 8, 2005: Last five-alarm fire recorded in San Francisco before Thursday’s blaze. The fire, located at 3330 16th St., displaced 66 people and caused more than $8 million in damage, but no one was injured.

March 9, 1995: Lt. Louis Mambretti, a 25-year veteran of the Fire Department, is killed in a blaze at 75 Everson Way in Diamond Heights. Mambretti dies after getting trapped in the residence by the automatic garage door.

Oct. 17, 1989: Multiple fires break out in the Marina district after the Loma Prieta earthquake. Several buildings were destroyed on Divisadero Street near Beach and Jefferson streets.

July 30, 1946: Four firefighters die in a fire at the Herbert Hotel on Powell Street near Union Square.

April 18, 1906: San Francisco is nearly decimated by fires that raged throughout The City after the Great Earthquake. About 25,000 buildings were destroyed from the roughly 30 different fires that erupted as a result of the quake.



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/12/dozens-forced-homes-after-5-alarm-san-francisco-fire#ixzz1hLQu8I00

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Strong Winds Hit Southland

A high-wind warning was in effect across most of Southern California, including the coastal areas, valleys and mountains, through 1 p.m. Friday. Some areas could see winds of up to 60 mph. The Newhall Pass saw winds hit 53 mph and the Malibu Hills saw 52 mph gusts.
The wind picked up steam overnight in the Inland Empire, howling fiercely near the Cajon Pass along the 15 Freeway. The California Highway Patrol urged drivers, especially those with high-profile vehicles and motorcyclists, to use caution or avoid the area.

High winds knocked over two tractor-trailers in Fontana in the morning. A FedEx truck overturned on the transition from the 210 Freeway to the northbound 15 Freeway. Another truck flipped on the transition to the southbound 15 Freeway.
Crews worked to clean up a fuel spill and dozens of palettes that fell off the back of a truck. There was damage to the guardrail, but the driver was expected to be OK.
As of 5 p.m., Southern California Edison said winds knocked out power to 480 customers in Garden Grove, 326 in Stanton, 110 in San Bernardino and 36 in Tustin.
They said they were working to restore power by 6 a.m. Friday.

A brush fire was reported in Ventura County IC requiring a second alarm assignment. The fire was burning in medium brush, over 30 companies were at the scene battling the wildfire.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GAO Report: Station Wildfire

What GAO Found


The Station Fire started on the afternoon of August 26, 2009, in steep terrain covered with highly flammable vegetation during very dry conditions. After escaping initial containment efforts, the Station Fire underwent periods of rapid growth and extreme fire behavior over the following several days, ultimately threatening thousands of homes in nearby communities. In response, the Forest Service and local agencies, such as Los Angeles County, deployed thousands of firefighters and hundreds of firefighting assets, including fire engines, helicopters, and air tankers. The fire’s extreme behavior, however, often prevented firefighters from attacking it directly, instead leading them to employ tactics farther away from the fire in their efforts to protect life, homes, and natural resources. The fire was contained on October 16, 2009. Among the key issues raised by firefighters, area residents, and others regarding the Forest Service’s response to the Station Fire were questions over the adequacy of firefighting assets, strategies, and tactics used. For example, some observers questioned (1) why the Forest Service did not use certain aircraft that were available, including night-flying helicopters operated by Los Angeles County; (2) whether the agency followed appropriate procedures in ordering firefighting assets, including whether it mobilized its own assets rather than local ones in certain instances, even though its assets were located farther away and would take longer to arrive; and (3) whether more action could have been taken to protect homes in Big Tujunga Canyon, an area where dozens of homes were destroyed. GAO’s review of available information was able to clarify some of these issues by, for example, identifying the location and availability of certain aircraft and other assets. In other cases, insufficient information was available to fully ascertain the facts—such as the exact procedures followed when ordering certain assets. Also, for those concerns that centered on a difference of opinion, such as whether additional actions could have been safely taken to protect homes, GAO was able to review the various perspectives of observers but had no method for addressing these differences through analysis. While some observers were critical of the Forest Service’s response to the Station Fire, others commended its response, highlighting the difficult conditions confronting firefighters and the thousands of threatened homes that ultimately were protected. The Station Fire offers several important lessons that may help improve wildland fire response in the future, including in Southern California. These lessons include the importance of (1) determining the appropriate role of night-flying aircraft, (2) having transparent processes for ordering and mobilizing firefighting assets, (3) tracking aircraft water and retardant deliveries, (4) predicting fire behavior under a variety of conditions, and (5) having systematic methods to identify needed firefighting assets. The agency has taken action to implement some lessons, including changing its night-flying policy and the asset-ordering practices at the Angeles National Forest. The agency has not, however, clarified its expectations about when its own assets are to be ordered instead of other agencies’. In addition, while the agency prepared a “lessons-learned” report after the fire, this report does not fully describe other actions the agency expects to take to implement lessons from the fire or time frames for doing so—potentially representing a lost opportunity to capitalize on the Station Fire’s lessons.

Why GAO Did This Study



In 2009, a wildland fire in the Angeles National Forest in California known as the Station Fire led to the death of two firefighters, destroyed 89 homes and dozens of other structures, and burned more than 160,000 acres. The Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service played a key role in managing the firefighting response. Some firefighters, area residents, and others have raised questions about how the Forest Service responded to the fire. GAO was asked to evaluate the response to the Station Fire. Accordingly, this report (1) describes key events in the Station Fire and the Forest Service’s response, including strategies, tactics, and assets used; (2) examines key issues arising from this response; and (3) identifies lessons the Station Fire offers for wildland fire management in the future, including lessons specific to Southern California. GAO reviewed agency documents and interviewed officials from the Forest Service and from nonfederal firefighting agencies involved in the response, as well as other parties.


Status Legend:


XStatus will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

In Process
Open
Closed - implemented
Closed - not implemented
Recommendations for Executive Action
Recommendation: To improve the Forest Service’s response to wildland fires, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to clarify the Forest Service’s intent and to reduce uncertainty about how its assets are to be used relative to those of other agencies, issue guidance describing when it expects its own firefighting assets to be used instead of contract or state and local agency assets.

Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

Status: Open

Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Recommendation: To improve the Forest Service’s response to wildland fires and to implement the lessons it identified in its review of the Station Fire, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to document the steps it plans to take, and the associated time frames.

Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

Status: Open

Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Vehicle Fire LAFD 15's



LAFD auto fire well involved at Martin Luther King BLvd and Hill. Photo Jeff Zimmerman

Sunday, December 18, 2011

LAFD, Firefighters Need Help, Man With Gun

Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 474 Solano, when they encountered a man with a hand gun:Jeff Zimmerman on scene for So Cal Fire Journal.

A man who threatened to shoot firefighters sent to a small blaze today was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy when he pointed his gun at the lawman, sheriff's officials said.

The deputy, assigned to the sheriff's Transit Service Bureau, was flagged down by firefighters as a fire burned in the 400 block of Solano Avenue, near Broadway, said sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht.

Matt Spence of the Los Angeles City Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched to 474 W. Solano Ave. at 4:49 a.m. on a call of an outdoor fire.

Hecht said when firefighters parked their rigs and began walking down the road to the apartment, the suspect came from the apartment building armed with a handgun shouting "I have a gun." The firefighters took cover.

She said the deputy driving by at that moment was flagged down by firefighters. He also took cover, and saw the suspect waving a handgun in the air. The deputy ordered the suspect several times to drop the gun. The suspect did not comply and instead pointed the gun at the deputy, who fired at the suspect hitting him.

The man was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead about 5:30 a.m., Whitmore said. Spence said the suspect was a man, approximately 35 years old.

Although firefighters at one point told reporters they had been shot at, "as far as we know, he (the suspect) did not fire his weapon," said Steve Whitmore of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau. Hecht said the suspect's handgun was recovered at the scene. No deputies or firefighters were injured.

The outside fire was small and was quickly extinguished once the suspect was subdued, said L.A. Fire Capt. Tom Sammartano. Although the shooting and fire were in the City of Los Angeles, sheriff's homicide detectives would handle the investigation of the deputy-involved shooting, Whitmore said.

The suspect's name was not immediately released.
Photos Copyright:Jeff Zimmerman

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Federal Furlough May Cause Chaos in Your Life

Overview
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has prepared human resources guidance for agencies and employees in the event of shutdown furloughs (also called emergency furloughs). A shutdown furlough occurs when there is a lapse in annual appropriations. Shutdown furloughs can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed.

In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law. Typically, an agency will have very little to no lead time to plan and implement a shutdown furlough.

NOTE: This guidance applies to activities that are funded by annual appropriations. Some agency functions have alternative funding sources and, as a result, are not directly affected by a lapse in annual appropriations. Employees performing those functions will generally continue to be governed by the normal pay, leave, and other civil service rules. Agencies should consult with their legal counsel if they have further questions concerning this distinction. Employees should consult with their human resources office.

Supplemental Guidance on Shutdown Furloughs Relating to a Potential Lapse in Appropriations for Some Agencies
Note: References below to other Q&As refer to Q&As in OPM's general furlough guidance.


PAY
Will employees receive a paycheck for hours worked prior to a lapse in appropriations?

Yes. (See Q&A-D.3. for more information.)

Will furloughed employees eventually receive pay for the furlough period?

Congress will determine whether furloughed employees receive pay for the furlough period. (See Q&A-D.2.)

Will employees who fall under an exception requiring them to work during a furlough despite a lapse in appropriations (excepted employees) be paid for their services during the furlough?

Agencies will incur obligations to pay for services performed by excepted employees during a lapse in appropriations, and those employees will be paid when Congress passes and the President signs a new appropriation or continuing resolution. (See Q&A-D.1.)

What happens if the furlough is still in effect on a holiday (e.g., the Christmas and New Year's Day holidays)?

An employee (including an excepted employee) who does not work on a holiday will not receive pay for a holiday that occurs during a shutdown furlough, unless Congress provides otherwise. (See Q&A-G.1.)

LEAVE
If there is a shutdown furlough, how does this impact a separating employee's lump-sum payment for his or her unused annual leave?

In the event of a shutdown furlough, a separating employee will not receive a lump-sum leave payment until the lapse in appropriations ends and funds are available. (See Q&A-M.1.)

What happens to furloughed employees who are already on paid leave or who are scheduled to take paid leave?

All paid time off during a shutdown furlough period must be canceled because the requirement to furlough supersedes leave and other paid time off rights. (See Q&A-F.1., F.7., and F.8. for more information.)

May excepted employees use paid leave during a furlough?

No. Excepted employees also may not use paid leave. Rather, they must be furloughed for any approved absence during the furlough period. (See Q&A-F.2. and F.7. for more information.)

If an employee has properly scheduled "use-or-lose" annual leave before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year, but is unable to use some or all of the scheduled leave because of the furlough, does the furlough constitute an "exigency of the public business" that would permit an agency to restore the leave after the beginning of the new leave year?

Employees in this situation should make every effort to reschedule "use-or-lose" annual leave for use before the end of the current leave year. However, if this is not possible due to a lapse in appropriations, agency heads (or their designees) are encouraged to use their discretionary authority to restore any lost annual leave by determining that the employee was prevented from using his or her leave because of an exigency of the public business - namely, the need to furlough employees because of the lapse in appropriations.

If an employee has properly scheduled use of "restored annual leave" that is due to expire at the end of the leave year (because it is the end of the 2-year restoration period) but that leave is canceled and lost due to lapse of appropriations, may the employing agency restore that leave again?

Unfortunately, no - unless Congress enacts legislation providing otherwise. There is nothing in existing law or regulation that allows restored annual leave to be restored a second time. In fact, the Comptroller General has determined that unused restored annual leave may not be restored after expiration of the 2-year period. (See B 188993, December 12, 1977)

RETIREMENT
If an employee is planning on retiring at the end of December, will a shutdown furlough affect the employee's retirement date?

If the employee provides notice to the employing agency on or before the requested retirement date, the shutdown furlough will not affect the retirement date. (See Q&A-L.3. and L.a.4. for more information.)

If an employee is scheduled to retire before the end of the leave year with an annual leave balance of over the maximum leave ceiling (e.g., 240, 360, or 720 hours, as applicable) and the furlough prevents the employee's retirement from getting processed until January, does the employee lose his or her annual leave above the maximum leave ceiling?

No. The employee's retirement would be retroactively applied to a date prior to the end of the leave year, and the employee would receive the full amount of accumulated and accrued annual leave in a lump-sum payment.

FEDERAL EMPLOYEE HEALTH BENEFITS (FEHB) OPEN SEASON
Would a lapse in appropriations alter the effective date of an Open Season enrollment if an enrollment request was fully processed by an agency and submitted to the health plan prior to the lapse?

No. The effective date would still be the first day of the first full pay period in January.

What happens if agency employees responsible for processing paper SF-2809 Open Season enrollment requests are furloughed?

Agencies will have to determine whether those employees may continue to process the enrollment requests if a lapse in appropriations occurs. If agencies conclude that they cannot, pending enrollment requests will not be processed until those employees return to pay status.

What happens if an individual makes an Open Season enrollment change but the agency did not process the request before the furlough?

The individual should continue to use the old health plan until he or she returns to pay status and the enrollment is processed to the new health plan.

If an enrollee required healthcare and received coverage under the old health plan, will the new health plan be responsible for the coverage received once the furlough is over?

Yes.

If a furlough delays processing of Open Season enrollment changes, will the enrollment be retroactive?

Yes. Per FEHB regulations, all Open Season enrollments and enrollment changes are effective on the first day of the first full pay period in January.

If an individual's health plan is terminating participation in the FEHB Program at the end of the current benefit year, and an Open Season enrollment change has not been processed, what should the individual do in January?

If the individual needs services urgently, he or she should incur the expenses and file a claim with the new plan once the enrollment change has been processed.

How will someone know whether his or her enrollment request was fully processed and sent to the new health plan?

If the individual receives an ID card, the enrollment in the new plan is effective. If an ID card is not received, the enrollment has not been processed.

How will someone know if an electronic Open Season enrollment change was fully processed?

If an ID card is received, the enrollment in the new plan is effective. If an ID card is not received, the enrollment has not yet been processed.

What happens to an individual not currently covered under the FEHB who elected to enroll during Open Season if the enrollment has not been processed and will not be processed until after the furlough? Does this individual still have coverage with the elected plan? If so, when?

Yes, such an individual would have coverage beginning on the first day of the first full pay period in January. Expenses incurred will be reimbursed by the plan once the enrollment has been processed. We suggest that such individuals ensure they use the plan's providers to get the maximum benefits. For fee-for-service plans, check the health plan's website for a list of network providers. (See Q&A-H.1.)

FEDERAL EMPLOYEES DENTAL/VISION PROGRAM (FEDVIP) OPEN SEASON
Will the effective date of my FEDVIP Open Season enrollment be affected?

No. (See Q&A-H.7.)

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) OPEN SEASON
Will the effective date of my FSA enrollment be affected?

No. (See Q&A-H.5.)

Job Flyers Forest Service

OUTREACH NOTICE

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST
For more information on the Los Padres National Forest, visit the
forest’s website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres

TITLE: Temporary Wildland Firefighters DUTY LOCATION: Los Padres National Forest
SERIES: GS-0462 Various Locations- See Below
GRADE: GS-3, 4, 5

Please Apply by January 3, 2012

Listed in this document are the wildland firefighting temporary employment opportunities for the Los Padres National Forest 2012 fire season. The actual job titles for wildland firefighter positions are “Forestry Aid” and “Forestry Technician.”

Pay scales and availability of government provided housing will vary by geographic locations. Firefighters are paid an hourly rate and can earn overtime at 1.5 (time and a half) of their normal pay rate and hazardous duty pay at an extra 25% in some circumstances. Housing/Barracks may be available at a nominal cost to employees. Firefighters provide their own subsistence while at their home duty locations. The Forest Service pays living expenses when on a fire assignment or project assignments away from home duty locations. Tour of Duty is generally a 5 day work week of 40 base hours, with 2 days off. Scheduled days off are often cancelled due to emergency assignments and overtime in excess of 400 hours during a 6 month fire season is not uncommon.

Selectees must be able to meet the arduous fitness level and complete a Work Capacity Test consisting of a 3 mile hike within 45 minutes carrying a 45 pound pack as a condition of hire. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.

TO APPLY: At the close of the outreach period a certificate of candidates will be drawn from the Open and Continuous vacancy announcement for Forestry Aid and Forestry Technician positions. Those announcement numbers are listed in the chart below. These positions are located at various stations throughout the forest.
The most important thing you need to do in order to be hired for any of these jobs is to select our Avue locations (i.e. Arroyo Grande, Big Sur, Carpinteria, Cuyama, Fillmore, Frazier, Goleta, Greenfield, Jolon, Los Olivos, Ojai, Piru, Santa Barbara, Santa Margarita, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez). You are only allowed to select nine (9) locations in Avue. To be considered for Los Padres National Forest locations they must be among the nine locations you have selected.
You may acquire a copy of the announcement from the internet at www.jobsearch.usajobs.opm.gov or www.avuedigitalservices.com/usfs/applicant.html. This web-based application provides a method for individuals interested in employment opportunities with the Forest Service to apply for jobs. You can create and update Applicant Profiles, search for current vacancy announcements, create a job search profile, apply for jobs, and check the status of jobs for which they have applied.

MONTEREY RANGER DISTRICT
District Office phone: 831-385-5434 Division Chief Frank Zabrowski Battalion Chief Pete Harris Battalion Chief Casey Allen
Position Module Avue Location Contact Information Vacancy Announcement(s)

Forestry Aid (Fire) All modules below All locations below See below OCRT-462-3-FIRE-DT


Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) Engine 15 Mission Creek Jolon Nicholas Valentin 831-385-3277 OCRT-462-4-ENGINE-DT

Engine 16 Nacimiento Jolon David Goldstein 805-975-7963 OCRT-462-5-ENGINE-DT-REL2

Engine 17 Pacific Valley Big Sur Josh Langston 805-927-4211
Engine 18 Big Sur Big Sur Charlie Glendinning 831-667-0294
Engine 19 Arroyo Seco Greenfield Keith Hughes 831-674-2381

Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) Monterey Crew Jolon Kevin Poyner 831-385-1237 OCRT-462-4-HANDCREW-DT

OCRT-462-5-HANDCREW-DT-REL2



SANTA LUCIA RANGER DISTRICT
District Office phone: 805-925-9538 Division Chief Jim Smith Battalion Chief Jim Harris Battalion Chief Tom Plymale
Position Module Avue Location Contact Information Vacancy Announcement(s)

Forestry Aid (Fire) All modules except Helitack All locations below See below OCRT-462-3-FIRE-DT


Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) Engine 31 Pozo Santa Margarita Luke Krenkel 805-438-5711 OCRT-462-4-ENGINE-DT

Engine 35 Pine Canyon Santa Maria Jason Mitchell 805-937-2436 OCRT-462-5-ENGINE-DT-REL2

Engine 37 Cuyama Cuyama Louis DeLaRosa 805-766-2585
Engine 38 Figueroa Los Olivos Doug Browand 805-688-3017

SANTA LUCIA RANGER DISTRICT(continued)
Position Module Avue Location Contact Information Vacancy Announcement(s)

Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) Arroyo Grande Hotshots Arroyo Grande Mike Hickey 805-481-4391 OCRT-462-4-HOTSHOT-DT

OCRT-462-5-HOTSHOT-DT-REL2


Forestry Technician (Helitack) Arroyo Grande Helitack Arroyo Grande Kevin Murray 805-481-4391 OCRT-462-4-HLTK-DT

OCRT-462-5-HLTK-DT-REL2



SANTA BARBARA RANGER DISTRICT
District Office phone: 805-967-3481 Division Chief (vacant) Battalion Chief Mark vonTillow Battalion Chief Mark Courson
Position Module Avue Location Contact Information Vacancy Announcement(s)

Forestry Aid (Fire) All modules except Helitack All locations below See below OCRT-462-3-FIRE-DT


Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) Engine 41 San Marcos Santa Barbara Brad Christensen 805-964-1313 OCRT-462-4-ENGINE-DT

Engine 42 Los Prietos Santa Barbara David Valencia 805-967-3481 OCRT-462-5-ENGINE-DT-REL2

Engine 43 Foothill Goleta Robert Thibault 805-967-3481
Engine 44 Rincon Carpinteria Michael Scott 805-566-0860
Engine 46 Gibraltar Santa Barbara Matthew Traynham 805-884-8281
Engine 47 Santa Ynez Santa Ynez Brian Berry 805-639-0458

Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) Los Padres Hotshots Santa Barbara Steve Molacek 805-967-3481 OCRT-462-4-HOTSHOT-DT

OCRT-462-5-HOTSHOT-DT-REL2


Forestry Technician (Helitack) Santa Ynez Helitack Santa Ynez Brian Sexton 805-639-0458 OCRT-462-4-HLTK-DT

OCRT-462-5-HLTK-DT-REL2


OJAI RANGER DISTRICT
District Office phone: 805-646-4348 Division Chief Carrie Landon Battalion Chief Mike Strawhun Battalion Chief Tony Ayala
Position Module Avue Location Contact Information Vacancy Announcement(s)

Forestry Aid (Fire) All modules below All locations below See below OCRT-462-3-FIRE-DT


Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) Engine 51 Casitas Ojai Joe Valencia 805-649-3861 OCRT-462-4-ENGINE-DT

Engine 52 Ojai Ojai Anthony Zavalla 805-646-4348 OCRT-462-5-ENGINE-DT-REL2

Engine 53 Temescal Piru Thomas Starvish 805-521-1707
Engine 54 Sespe Fillmore Larry Alvarado 805-524-1519
Engine 55 Wheeler Gorge Ojai Michael Nickey 805-640-6413


MOUNT PINOS RANGER DISTRICT
District Office phone: 661-245-3731 Division Chief John Abell Battalion Chief Derek Steidley Battalion Chief Richard Sandoval
Position Module Avue Location Contact Information Vacancy Announcement(s)

Forestry Aid (Fire) All modules except Helitack All locations below See below OCRT-462-3-FIRE-DT


Forestry Technician (Fire Engine Operator) Engine 71 Chuchupate Frazier Robert Moreno 661-245-3731 OCRT-462-4-ENGINE-DT

Engine 72 Ozena Frazier Ryan Bridgen 661-335-1932 OCRT-462-5-ENGINE-DT-REL2

Engine 73 Apache Saddle Frazier Chris Wright 661-301-4003
Engine 74 Los Alamos Frazier Jamie Cope 661-248-6307
Engine 75 Lockwood Valley Frazier Eric Swab 832-380-6554

Forestry Technician (Helitack) Chuchupate Helitack Frazier Dean Hall 661-245-3731 OCRT-462-4-HLTK-DT

OCRT-462-5-HLTK-DT-REL2



Creating a complete application in Avue is time-consuming. Do not wait until the last minute to begin the process.

Questions regarding a specific position or office/station location should be directed to the contact name listed in the table. If you have trouble reaching one of our points of contact during the holiday season, please contact the District offices at the following numbers:
Santa Lucia Ranger District, Santa Maria, CA, (805) 925-9538
Monterey Ranger District, King City, CA, (831) 385-5434
Santa Barbara Ranger District, Santa Barbara, CA, (805) 967-3481
Ojai Ranger District, Ojai, CA, (805) 646-4348
Mt. Pinos Ranger District, Frazier Park, CA, (661) 245-3731

Job Fair for Forestry Firefighters

GOLETA, CA….Los Padres National Forest officials announced plans to hold a job fair at the Monterey Ranger District Office on Wednesday, December 21, from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm. The job fair is free of charge and open to all members of the public seeking information about seasonal Forestry Technician jobs and the Apprentice program with the U.S. Forest Service.

Representatives of Los Padres National Forest fire staff will share information and answer questions for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a wildland firefighter. Suppression equipment such as fire engines and other specialized gear used by wildland firefighters will also be on-hand. Information about vacant temporary and seasonal positions will be available along with instructions on the Internet-based application process.

The U.S. Forest Service is committed to recruiting highly skilled, competent and diverse workforce that reflects the public we serve. The U.S. Forest Service is an equal opportunity employer. For additional information on the Monterey Ranger District job fair, please contact Harold Cook at the Tusi Fire Station (831) 385-1237 or visit the Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.usda.gov/lpnf.
###

Wind Watch

...DAMAGING WIND GUSTS POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN
CALIFORNIA FRIDAY THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING...

.A COLD LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE INTO SOUTHEASTERN
CALIFORNIA LATE THURSDAY...AND INTO FAR NORTHWESTERN MEXICO

THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. THIS SYSTEM WILL DEVELOP A PATTERN
FAVORABLE FOR DAMAGING WINDS ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS OF VENTURA AND
LOS ANGELES COUNTIES INCLUDING THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS...AS
WELL AS THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL MOST

LIKELY OCCUR ON FRIDAY MORNING...AND POSSIBLY BETWEEN FRIDAY
EVENING AND SATURDAY MORNING. THE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE AREAS FOR THE
STRONG WINDS WILL BE THROUGH AND BELOW NORTHEAST FACING PASSES AND
CANYONS. IT WILL ALSO BE WINDY AT TIMES ACROSS THE EASTERN VALLEYS

OF VENTURA COUNTY...THE WESTERN PORTION OF THE SAN FERNANDO
VALLEY...THE VENTURA COUNTY COAST...AND THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY
COASTAL SECTIONS BELOW THE SANTA MONICA RANGE.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red Flag Warning, for Santa Ana Winds: SO Cal and Bay Areas

...FIRE WEATHER WATCH is cancelled, Red Flag warning now in effect: STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...

Fuels have started to recover with recent rains but certain fuels are still receptive to fire. Strong offshore flow warnings should be taken seriously across most of Southern California canyons and passess regardless of recent rains.

A COLD UPPER LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL BRING STRONG GUSTY SANTA ANA WINDS TO VENTURA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTIES LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY.

THE UPPER TROF IS FORECAST TO MOVE SOUTH AND STRENGTHEN INTO AN
UPPER LEVEL LOW OVER EXTREME SERN CA OR THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER
VALLEY BY LATE TONIGHT INTO THU MORNING. THE UPPER LOW IS FORECAST
TO REMAIN NEARLY STATIONARY THRU THU NIGHT THEN DRIFT INTO AZ ON
FRI...ALTHO THE WRF IS QUICKER IN MOVING THE UPPER LOW EASTWARD...
WHILE THE EC IS SLOWEST. A SIGNIFICANT OFFSHORE WIND EVENT IS
EXPECTED TO DEVELOP OVER MUCH OF VTU/L.A. COUNTIES TONIGHT THANKS TO
RAPIDLY INCREASING NORTHERLY GRADIENTS...PLENTY OF COLD AIR
ADVECTION...AND VERY STRONG N TO NE WINDS ALOFT AND AT LOWER LEVELS.
THE 12Z WRF WAS FORECASTING 850 MB WINDS TO BE AS HIGH AS 70 KT AT
TIMES...WITH 950 MB (1500 FT) WINDS AS HIGH AS 45 KT. WRF ISENTROPIC
CROSS SECTIONS AND OMEGA FIELDS CONTINUE TO INDICATE PLENTY OF
DOWNWARD SUPPORT OF MOMENTUM TRANSFER OF HI WINDS TO LOWER LEVELS.
AS A RESULT...WIND GUSTS AS HIGH AS 80 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE IN THE
L.A./VTU MTNS EXCLUDING THE SANTA MONICA MTNS...UP TO 70 MPH IN THE
SANTA MONICA MTNS...AND AS HIGH AS 60-65 MPH IN THE VLYS OF VTU/L.A.
COUNTIES AND THE COASTAL AREAS OF L.A. COUNTY FROM LATER TONIGHT
INTO FRI MORNING. HOWEVER...WINDS OVER VTU COUNTY VLYS MAY NOT BE
QUITE AS STRONG TONIGHT INTO THU MORNING AS IT LOOKS LIKE WINDS WILL
BE MORE NORTHERLY WHICH MAY LIMIT THE WIDESPREAD STRONG WINDS TO
CERTAIN AREAS BELOW PASSES AND CANYONS SUCH AS IN AND AROUND LAKE
CASITAS AND THE VLYS OF EXTREME SE VTU COUNTY. WINDS SHOULD TURN NE
AND BECOME MUCH STRONGER THU NIGHT INTO FRI MORNING FOR THE VTU
COUNTY VLYS. AS A RESULT...THE HIGH WIND WARNING FOR THE VTU VLYS
WILL BE FOR THU NIGHT INTO FRI MORNING...WITH A WIND ADVISORY FOR
FOR TONIGHT INTO THU MORNING. OTHERWISE...HIGH WIND WARNINGS REMAIN
FOR MUCH OF L.A. COUNTY AND PORTIONS OF VTU COUNTY. PLEASE SEE THE
LATEST LAXNPWLOX FOR FURTHER DETAILS ON THE HIGH WIND WARNINGS AND
WIND ADVISORIES.

THE UPPER TROF MAY BRING SOME CLOUDINESS AT TIMES TO EASTERN L.A.
COUNTY THU INTO FRI...OTHERWISE MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES SHOULD PREVAIL
OVER THE FORECAST AREA. TEMPS ARE EXPECTED TO COOL SIGNIFICANTLY TO
SEVERAL DEGREES BELOW NORMAL IN ALL AREAS THU AND FRI. IN
ADDITION...WIDESPREAD FROST IN SHELTERED AREAS IS EXPECTED FOR THE
SLO INTERIOR VALLEYS TONIGHT. HOWEVER...IT LOOKS LIKE THE FIRST
WIDESPREAD HARD FREEZE OF THE SEASON WILL OCCUR FOR THIS AREA THU
NIGHT THANKS TO LIGHTER WINDS.

FOR FRI NIGHT AND SAT...THE UPPER LOW WILL MOVE FURTHER E WHILE
ANOTHER UPPER LOW DROPS SOUTH OVER UTAH FRI NIGHT AND INTO NORTHERN
AZ ON SAT. DRY WEATHER WILL CONTINUE OVER SWRN CA THRU SAT. OFFSHORE
FLOW IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE AGAIN BY EARLY SAT...WITH GUSTY NE
WINDS POSSIBLE OVER MUCH OF VTU/L.A. COUNTIES. THE STRONGEST WINDS
SHOULD BE OVER THE MOUNTAINS...WITH WARNING LEVEL WIND GUSTS NOT OUT
OF THE QUESTION. ADVISORY LEVEL WINDS WILL BE POSSIBLE FOR THE
VALLEYS AND PERHAPS EVEN SOME COASTAL AREAS AS WELL. IT APPEARS THAT
ANOTHER ROUND OF WIND ADVISORIES OR HIGH WIND WARNINGS MAY BE NEEDED
FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST HALF OF THE UPCOMING WEEKEND. TEMPS OVER THE
REGION WILL REMAIN COOLER THAN NORMAL THRU SAT. ANOTHER WIDESPREAD
HARD FREEZE LOOKS POSSIBLE FOR THE SLO INTERIOR VALLEYS FRI NIGHT.

.LONG TERM (SUN-WED)...GFS AND ECMWF IN MUCH BETTER AGREEMENT FOR
SUN AND MON THEN START TO SHOW SOME RELATIVELY MINOR DIFFERENCES FOR
SWRN CA FOR TUE AND WED. BOTH MODELS KEEP LARGE UPPER RIDGING OVER
THE ERN PAC WITH A BROAD NORTHERLY FLOW ALOFT FOR THE MOST PART OVER
CA. THEY ALSO FORECAST THE UPPER LOW OVER AZ MOVING E SUN AND MON.
THE GFS FORECASTS A WEAK DISSIPATING COLD FRONT MOVING INTO THE AREA
ON WED AS WELL. OTHERWISE...GENERALLY DRY OFFSHORE FLOW WILL PERSIST
MAINLY NIGHT AND MORNING HOURS THRU TUE WITH MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES.
WINDS MAY BECOME GUSTY ENOUGH TO REACH ADVISORY LEVELS AT TIMES IN
THE VALLEYS AND MTNS OF VTU/L.A. COUNTIES. THE LOW LEVEL FLOW WILL
THEN TURN ONSHORE FOR WED ALONG WITH PARTLY CLOUDY SKIES. TEMPS ARE
EXPECTED TO BE NEAR NORMAL TO SLIGHTLY BELOW NORMAL ACROSS THE
REGION DURING THE PERIOD. COLD NIGHTTIME TEMPS CAN ALSO BE EXPECTED
AT LEAST THRU MON NIGHT...WITH PATCHY FROST IN THE COLD SHELTERED
VALLEYS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Diablo Wind Warning, Bay Area

NORTH BAY MOUNTAINS-
846 AM PST MON NOV 28 2011

...HIGH WIND WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING

THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT...

A HIGH WIND WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY MORNING
THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT.

* TIMING: STRONG WINDS MAY DEVELOP JUST AFTER SUNRISE WEDNESDAY
MORNING AND THEN INCREASE IN SPEED BY WEDNESDAY NIGHT. STRONG

WINDS WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT.

* WINDS: NORTH TO NORTHEAST WINDS FROM 20 TO 40 MPH WITH
FREQUENT WIND GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 55 MPH. LOCAL WIND GUSTS AS
HIGH AS 70 MPH WILL BE POSSIBLE IN THE HILLS ABOVE 1000 FEET.


* IMPACTS: EARLY INDICATIONS SHOW THE POTENTIAL FOR A
SIGNIFICANT AND PROLONGED WIND STORM. DOWNED TREES AND
BRANCHES MAY CAUSE POWER OUTAGES. ANY LOOSE OBJECTS NOT TIED
DOWN WILL BLOW AROUND. HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES WILL BE PRONE TO

THE STRONG AND GUSTY WINDS. ANY STRUCTURE OR WILDFIRES COULD
BE UNUSUALLY DIFFICULT TO SUPPRESS DUE TO THE STRONG WINDS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A HIGH WIND WATCH MEANS THERE IS THE POTENTIAL FOR A HAZARDOUS

HIGH WIND EVENT. SUSTAINED WINDS OF AT LEAST 40 MPH...OR GUSTS OF
58 MPH OR STRONGER MAY OCCUR. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST
FORECASTS.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wildfires in Texas

Current situation November 18, 2011:

Yesterday the Texas Forest Service responded to 2 new fires for 229 acres. Since wildfire season started on Nov. 15, 2010, firefighters have responded to 29,085 fires that have burned 3,972,566 acres and destroyed 2,912 homes and 2,808 other structures. Firefighters saved 38,581 homes and 12,984 other structures.

189 of the 254 Texas counties are reporting burn bans.

Daily detailed fire information can be found ticc.tamu.edu or at inciweb.org.

LAFD Technical Rescue, 3171 s Gaffey

LAFD 3171 S Gaffey, USAR and heavy rescue at scene, 2 men trapped in underground vault, 40 foot shaft, possible chemicals involved.

Wildfire, Reno NV, Major Incident

Caughlin IC reporting strong winds and structural loss in Reno NV, now a major incident.

-- The city of Reno, the rest of Washoe County and all of Nevada declared states of emergency Friday as a deadly wildfire swept through western Nevada, the governments announced on their websites.

One person has died as a result of the Caughlin Ranch Fire, Washoe County reported at 8:45 a.m. Friday. In addition, at least 20 structures had been destroyed by the blaze, which at that point had consumed more than 400 acres.

Firefighters are trying to protect other structures, but high winds are causing problems, Reno Fire Chief Michael Martinez said Friday. The National Weather Service forecast sustained southwest winds of 35 mph throughout the day, with gusts as strong as 55 mph.

Reno noted on its website that the local 211 information phone lines are overloaded, advising people to call 775-337-5800 instead for more information.

Galena High School in Reno has been set up as an evacuation center, and if that fills up, Damonte Ranch High School will serve the same purpose. The city of Reno estimated Friday that at least 9,500 people have been asked to leave their homes.

Animals in danger can be transported to the Livestock Events Center in Reno to ensure their safety, the county said.

All Washoe County schools in the Truckee Meadows area are have been closed.

Moreover, all residents in the fire zone and vicinity were urged to stay indoors due to deteriorating air quality, the Reno government noted.

Late Friday morning, after a briefing with local officials, Gov. Brian Sandoval wrote on his Twitter page, "Incredibly proud of the consolidated and coordinated response to the #CaughlinFire. They are doing an inspiring job!"

The governor also wrote that, besides the emergency declaration, "the state has also been approved for a FEMA grant. "

After peaking in the low 50s on Friday, temperatures were forecast to drop into the low 20s overnight in Reno with scattered snow showers possible, the National Weather Service said.

By the weekend, winds were expected to calm considerably, blowing from the west at 5 mph, with high temperatures in the 30s and 40s.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

LAFD Task Force 90, Condominium Fire



A reported structure fire at Aqueduct and Norhdoff brought 51 firefighters to the scene, kncokdown in 21 minutes. Photos Jeff Zimmerman

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ref Flag Warning in Effect, LA, Ventura and San Bernardino Counties

RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM WEDNESDAY FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES FOR STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS AND VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY... ...RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM WEDNESDAY FOR THE COASTAL AND VALLEY AREAS OF LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES AS WELL AS THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS FOR STRONG NORTHEAST WINDS AND VERY LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY...GUSTS BETWEEN 60 TO 70 MPH IN THE MOUNTAINS...50 TO 60 MPH IN THE VALLEYS...AND 40 TO 50 MPH ACROSS THE VENTURA COASTAL PLAIN...AS WELL AS THE LOS ANGELES COAST FROM MALIBU TO HOLLYWOOD HILLS. AS THE OFFSHORE WINDS DEVELOP...HUMIDITIES WILL RAPIDLY LOWER TO 15 PERCENT OR LESS ACROSS MOST OF THE WARNING AREA OVERNIGHT...WITH WIDESPREAD SINGLE DIGIT READINGS ON WEDNESDAY. OFFSHORE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO GRADUALLY DIMINISH LATER WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So Cal Fire Journal Images

Untitled ProjectThe latest Images from So Cal Fire Journal, Zimmerman Media LLC

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Remember The Esperanza Wildfire and Honor The Crew of Engine 57 Today







Five years ago today five firefighters from the United States Forest Service were killed on the Esperanza Wildfire in Riverside County. We remember their sacrifice and service to our National Forests.

Santa Ana winds are predicted today in very similar circumstances that entrapped the firefighters on the Esperanza Wildfire. A red flag fire warning is in effect for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fire Station Safety, Yuba City FD

OSHA: California Dept. Didn't Address MRSA at Firehouse
A complaint has been filed against the Yuba City FD, alleging health violations have not been addressed.
BY ASHLEY GEBB - Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Posted: Mon, 10/24/2011 - 10:27am
Updated: Mon, 10/24/2011 - 10:43am
..A complaint has been filed against the Yuba City Fire Department, alleging MRSA outbreaks and other health violations have not been addressed at a fire station.

The Department of Occupational Safety and Health notified the Fire Department on Oct. 13 that it has until Thursday to provide a response.

The complaint alleged:

--Four outbreaks of MRSA -- an antibiotic resistant staph infection -- at the Butte House Road Station in the last 16 months.

--A toilet drain in the living area plugged with fabric.

--Insulation exposed in the living room.

--The septic system backed up three to six months ago with no official cleanup.

A Yuba City firefighter, saying he feared retribution, spoke to the Appeal-Democrat on condition of anonymity. He said one of the greatest frustrations is firefighters are doing their jobs, but do not have a clean, safe station.

"We do take risks, that's our job, but in this place, people are starting to feel like the department doesn't have their backs, and people are getting sick," he said.

Firefighters at the station are frustrated by the prolonged conditions, he said.

"They finished the exterior so it looks great from the outside. As people drive by it looks completed, but you go inside and it's a mess," the firefighter, who does not work at the station, said. "If we inspected a building like that, we'd shut it down."

Fire Chief Pete Daley is preparing a response to the workplace safety agency, known as Cal/OSHA. He said the Butte House Road station, also known as Station 7, is in the middle of a major remodel, and all health and safety issues are being overseen with the help of an industr al hygienist.

Daley said he was "disappointed" when the letter arrived, since Station 7 firefighters have been involved in the remodel and are frequently updated on its status.

"The letter from Cal/OSHA, what it allows everyone to do is make sure we are focusing on taking care of the problem," he said. "That's the primary goal, to make sure the facility is safe and that our employees are safe."

The Fire Department inherited the Butte House Road station when it merged with the Walton Fire Department in 2001. The structure was built only as a daytime-use station, not a 24-hour live-in station, and remodeling was needed, Daley said.

The first priority was to weatherize the building, Daley said, and a $316,000 exterior remodel was completed earlier this year.

It was during the exterior remodel that interior remodel discussions began. Firefighters at the station asked to remove a living room bathroom to create more space and were allowed to make the change themselves, exposing the insulation and causing the plugged toilet drain.

It was difficult to remodel a fire station while it's in use, Daley said. Exposed walls and other issues inevitably occur, and the remodel has taken longer than usual.

Six months ago, the Fire Department brought in an industrial hygienist to focus on sanitation, resulting in new safety and cleaning policies and sanitation training for all firefighters. The county Health Department was also brought in to provide additional training.

Daley stressed that MRSA -- methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus -- is common in hospitals, care homes and other locations. Its ease of contraction makes it a risk even in public places like grocery stores. As firefighters enter private homes and provide medical aid services, it is not unexpected they would be exposed to various health issues, he said.

"We deal with a lot of sick people," Daley said. "MRSA is just one of the concerns we have in our facility and with our people. As far as safety, there is hepatitis, there is MRSA, there is the flu-influenza."

Additional improvements have been identified to improve sanitation, such as replacing carpeting with a nonporous surface, switching fabric chairs to plastic, and firefighters sanitizing their boots before entering the station.

"We are using Station 7 as a prototype as we go through and remodel other stations," Daley said. "Our No. 1 priority is taking care of our customers and the community as well as our employees."

In its current condition, the anonymous firefighter said, the station has egregious fire safety violations, including covered smoke detectors and open walls that would allow the quick spread of fire.

"Here we are, the Fire Department, and we are breaking our own rules," he said.

The plans and specifications for the interior remodel went before the council Sept. 20, and the advertisement of bids was authorized with an anticipation of a November construction start. The improvements include new flooring, drywall, electrical, mechanical, painting, sound insulation, doors, appliances, cabinets, counters and plumbing.

The interior project is estimated to cost $318,000. Funding for the work has been in the city's Capital Improvement Program budget since 2009.

During the improvements, the department has saved money and create a better living situation for the firefighters by renting the house next door, Daley said.

"We are doing everything we can to deal with all the issues and all the concerns we have at Station 7," he said. "(With the) industrial hygienist to help us, I think we have taken all the precautions we can."

Mayor John Dukes had not heard about the letter Friday but after speaking with Daley, he said he trusted the Fire Department to keep its facilities and firefighters safe. The remodel of the Butte House Road station will be a model for all other stations for health and safety once it is complete.

"They are working on the issues, they were aware of these issues and had been working on them for some time," he said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Santa Maria Airtanker Base


Progress takes flight at SM airport
By Isaiah Brookshire, Staff Writer
So Cal Fire Journals Response

The Santa Maria Airport has been abuzz with activity in the last weeks. From movement on a permanent fire-fighting base to a special honor for the airport’s tower crew, there is a lot going on.

The downgrading of tanker bases at the Santa Barbara Airport in 2007 and at the Santa Maria Airport in 2009 meant the county was without permanent aerial fire protection for the first time since 1958. Recent meetings between fire officials, the Forest Service personnel and local politicians about bringing the Santa Maria base back to full capacity have been productive, according to Congresswoman Lois Capps.

In a statement from Capps’s press secretary, Ashley Schapitl said, “She understands that ensuring our firefighting community has all the tools they need to do their job thoroughly and quickly is paramount. The Congresswoman has been actively working to find a solution that ensures public safety and the ability to effectively fight fires.”

Schapitl went on to say, “She is confident the details of the agreement will be put to paper in the coming weeks that will address the concerns of the local fire chiefs and ensure the Santa Maria Air Tanker base will be adequately staffed and equipped to respond to wildfires.”

The concerns the new resolution addresses mainly are related to the time it takes for firefighting aircraft to reach the Central Coast. In an email Schapitl said, “The fire chief’s main concern was that in the event of a wildfire, it would take too long to get the firefighting operation up and running if the based remained ‘call when needed’ as opposed to ‘full time.’”

She said there were also worries that the aircraft would have to fly as far as Porterville, Paso Robles and Fox Field to reload retardant, sapping precious hours away from battling blazes. According to Schapitl, the new resolution quells those fears by “essentially bringing the base back to full-time status.” An exact date for when the deal might be complete wasn’t given, but Capp’s expects to move forward in the coming weeks.

Taking off:

With speculation abounding on whether the Santa Maria Airport will get a tanker base, some are already thinking about how and with what aircraft those fires will be fought. David Baskett is a local business man who has attempted in recent years to bring Russian firefighting aircraft into the Forest Service’s tanker fleet to varying degrees of success.

Baskett even came up with a plan to help lower levels of radiation at nuclear power plants crippled in the Japanese tsunami by using his tanker aircraft equipped with special foam. This too met with some resistance from officials who weren’t keen to be seen as incompetent or unprepared. Baskett said he continues to work on solving problems in Japan, but has shifted his focus back to supplying the Forest Service with tankers.

Baskett said his new BAE 200 firefighting aircraft would help restore the aging and inadequate tankers. He said that during the recent Texas wildfires there simply weren’t enough aircraft to meet the needs. “They ran into big problems and didn’t win any congressional kudos for their lack of airplanes,” he said.

While meetings over restoring the Santa Maria Air Tanker base to full-time status have been progressing, Baskett said he also was meeting with success. “We expect to sign a contract to begin testing in Russia within the next few weeks.” He added, “This is a huge step to contracting in the U.S.”

The BAE 200 will have to undergo rigorous testing if it is to enter into the Forest Service tanker lineup. One of the most challenging will be one Baskett calls the “Dixie Cup test.” The Forest Service wants any tanker it operates to lay down a consistent line of retardant or water. This helps with operational logistics but also ensures there aren’t breaks in the fire line. “Imagine a field, 3,000 feet long and 1,000 feet wide. It’s covered in steel toothpicks and on top of each toothpick is a Dixie cup. Now what the Forest Service wants you to do is fly over at 120 miles per hour and drop roughly the same amount of retardant into each cup,” said Baskett. While confident his aircraft were up to the task, he said the testing would take place in Russia, near the BAE 200 factory, where fine-tuning could take place at a lower cost.

If the testing goes well, Baskett plans to deliver 10 of his tankers to the U.S. and base them out of the Santa Maria Airport. Under contract with the Forest Service, Baskett said he hopes to employ about 80-90 total employees at the tanker base. He said he also hopes to build a new hangar and maintenance buildings at the airport to house his aircraft.

The plans for the BAE 200 don’t end with a Forest Service contract. Currently, Baskett and his business partners are in the process of forming a separate board that would raise funds to give Santa Barbara County priority on one of the tankers. The “Spirit of Santa Barbara,” as Baskett envisions it, would be funded by local citizens and companies that are willing to donate toward more fire protection. The idea for the designated tanker came after talks with property owners in Santa Barbara and Montecito, some of whom had lost homes in devastating fires.“They told me they would be happy to donate in exchange for priority access to a tanker,” said Baskett.

So Cal Fire Journal Perspective: With the loss of C-130 and numerous P-3 Orion aircraft the Central Coast is extremely vulnerable to wildfires. Many of these aircraft have been grounded since there were concerns about metal fatigue and air-worthiness. The age and fatigue are serious concerns as well as corrosion, this was justified after a c-130 wings fell off during a wildfire sortie in Northern California killing the crew.

Aero Union Corporation's airtankes have a long history of battling wildfires on the Central Coast and on the Los Padres National Forest. They have flown on many major campaign fires and have been a great firefighting asset capable of dropping water and retardant from the air in substantial volumes, which have a much larger capacity then the Cal Fire S-2 aircraft.

With heavy fuel loads of dense brush in the urban interface, much larger loads are required to hold these fires in check. With extreme energy release components of dry or dead forest fuels, larger aircraft with tanks of at least 2,000 gallons are needed. Hopefully the advent of newer jet assisted aircraft will fill the void created by the loss of older aircraft.

The solution is quick initial attack, hold the fires in check when they are small, not to drop millions of gallons of retardant when fires are massive. The quick initial attack from a local air tanker base is very important to people who live in the foothill communities. The concept of hitting the fire hard and quick while it is in the incipient phase must occur at the outset. Larger airtankers VLAT carrying up to 10,000 gallons of water are needed to cool a fire front until ground forces are in place for fire attack. Once a fire is well established, no amount of retardant can slow a forest inferno.

As the owner and CEO of Southern California Fire Journal I would encourage all of our faithful readers and your family members to contact their Congressional Office and ask for support. Every time there are budget cuts to aircraft, ground forces or forest fuel thinning projects it weakens the chain of survivability from wildfires. Of course homeowners must be responsible to maintain defensible space around their homes and property which many negate. We should not risk firefighters lives for people who have not cleared their brush and flammable vegetation from their homes and property.

With the Santa Ana season here, thousands of homes and millions of people lay in wait for the peril of large fires. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Bel Air conflagration we will be covering a story of those who battled the massive wildfire and urban conflagration. Many of the lessons learned from this wildfire are very applicable today. We are only as safe as our neighbor, fires from downed power lines, lightning, careless use of fire, children playing with matches or the insidious torch of arsonists threaten our very existence. Without airtanker and fixed wing support we have yet another chink in our armour of protection.

We know the U.S. Forest Service has been conducting studies as to the effectiveness of retardant and the chemical effects on forest fuels and water tributaries which is a good concept. The USFS reports that fire retardant is only used on 5 percent of the wildfires that start each year, costing $24 million to $36 million a year of the nearly $1 billion spent annually fighting wildfires. There were 36,000 retardant drops from 2000 through 2010, using more than 90 million gallons of the substance.Of course research should always continue to the effectivenss of suppressing agents but to outlaw its use at this current time would be ludicrous.

We also know there is much debate about using heavy helicopters and super scooper air craft and the cost and safety concerns associated with these programs. But let's not become penny wise and pound foolish with the fire budget. Write to your Forest Supervisor and Congressional office asking for support.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Brush Fires LAFD, Kern County and USFS

...BREEZY OFFSHORE WINDS WITH WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS THIS WEEKEND... ...POTENTIAL FOR GUSTY OFFSHORE WINDS MIDDLE TO END OF NEXT WEEK... .DISCUSSION... A RIDGE ALOFT WILL BUILD OVER CALIFORNIA THROUGH THE WEEKEND...WHILE BREEZY OFFSHORE FLOW IMPACTS THE FAVORED INLAND VALLEYS AND MOUNTAINS. THESE NORTHEAST WINDS WILL BE STRONGEST OVER LOS ANGELES AND VENTURA COUNTIES...WHERE LOCAL GUSTS TO 35 MPH ARE LIKELY. AS A RESULT...WIDESPREAD WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED THIS WEEKEND...EXCEPT COASTAL AREAS IMPACTED BY ANY DENSE FOG AND THE VERY SHALLOW MARINE LAYER. HUMIDITIES SHOULD FALL INTO THE TEENS OVER MOST VALLEYS AND MOUNTAINS...AND POSSIBLY TOUCHING SINGLE DIGITS IN THE WARMEST LOCATIONS...WITH POOR MOUNTAIN AND FOOTHILL OVERNIGHT RECOVERIES. ISOLATED CRITICAL CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE WEEKEND OVER THE WINDIEST LOCATIONS...BUT SHOULD NOT EXCEED DURATION CRITERIA.

New Brush Fire, LAFD 11880 Terra Vista, 5 acres brush, LA County and Forest Service mutual aid, 482-g7 OCD channel 5, EPN Channel 1 and Tac 2

Kern County and USFS LPF working a fire near Frazier Park CA, near Kern County Fire Station 57 aand the shooting range, second alarm assignments.

A little Fire History of Santa Ana Wind events:
Major fires in Malibu and Los Angeles with loss of multiple homes: October and November Santa Ana events:

> Trippet fire LA County and La City Nov 23-3- 1938
> Laurel Cyn 1959, LAFD.
• Malibu fire in 1956
• Malibu fire in Ocotber 1958
> La Tuna Cyn Nov 6, 1955
> Bel Aire, Nov 6 1961
• Malibu Canyon fire in September 1970
> Mill Creek Fire ANF 1975
> Topanga Cyn 1977 Nov 14
> Mandevile Canyon LAFD, 1978 Ocotber
• Malibu fire October 1978
• Malibu fire in 1982
• Malibu fire in October 1985
• November 2, 1993 Old Topanga Malibu fire
• Malibu fire in October 1996
• Malibu fire in January 2003
> CA Fire Storms of October 2003
• Malibu fire in January 2007
• Malibu fires in October-November 2007

Friday, October 21, 2011

Buckweed Fire 2007

Friday October 21, 2011
1:00 pm - 1:00 pm
This event repeats every year.
Santa Clarita Valley/Los Angeles County
This afternoon in 2007 an older child playing with matches started this fire which drive by hurricane-force Santa Ana Wind spread over 38,356 acres and destroyed 63 structures including many homes.
Four people were injured.

Watching for Santa Anas Wed-thru-Thursday

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Oakland Hills Fire, 20th Anniversary

20 years ago on October 20th 1991 a large urban fire occurred on the hillsides of northern Oakland, California, and southeastern Berkeley, just two years after the Loma Prieta earthquake. The fire has been referred to as the Oakland hills firestorm, the East Bay Hills Fire, and the Tunnel Fire (because of its origin above the west portal of the Caldecott Tunnel) in Oakland. The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres destroyed included 3,354 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion.

Supplemental Information:

20 years ago today, The Tunnel Fire, also known as the East Bay Hills Fire, originally started on October 19, 1991. On October 20, the fire, fanned by wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour, escaped containment lines and ran through the neighborhoods of Oakland Hills. Battalion Chief James Riley, Police Officer John Grubensky, and 23 civilians were killed; between 100-150 injured, and 3,354 single-family dwellings, 456 apartment units and approximately 2,000 vehicles were destroyed. While only burning 1,600 acres, total damages has been estimated at $1.5 billion, making it the costliest fire monetarily in U.S. history. For more information, visit http://www.wlfalwaysremember.org/incident-lists/186-james-riley-oakland-berkeley-hills.html

Ironically offshore Diablo winds are soon predicted and a small earthquak jolted San Fransico toady.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crimson Skies Video



By Zimmerman Media LLC.