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Archive for the ‘Fires’ Category

We have good friends who live in Hawai’i, on the Hilo side, just a few miles from the volcano. They are under alert watch, and depending on a change of direction of the flow, they might have to evacuate with only minutes’ notice. Some of the flows travel at 17 miles per hour. If the volcano is only 10 miles away, you have maybe 30 minutes to get away.

They sent us the photograph above, taken by one of their friends. This is not lava we’re looking at, but the reflected glow of the lava from the clouds above the volcano.

If you have never been near lava flow, you cannot imagine its power and its terrible force. Lava is nothing like the “red stuff” you had to jump over in the early video games of the 1980s. Lava is 2000 degrees hot, and you can feel the heat radiating off it from a hundred feet away. Standing within reach is burning hot. I have taken a stick of wood (the proverbial 10 foot pole) and poked it near the lava, and it instantly incinerates. Anything in its path is consumed by fire instantly and rapidly.

The Hawai’ians believe in the legend of Pele, the goddess of the volcano. It’s no wonder, after observing the unworldly power of the volcano, that the Hawai’ian people created legends around it.

Kīlauea is a currently active volcano that is located on the island of Hawaiʻi and is still being extensively studied. Many Hawaiians believe Kilauea to be inhabited by a “family of fire gods”, one of the sisters being Pele, who is believed to govern Kilauea and is responsible for controlling its lava flows.

— Wikipedia

[Apologies for the frequent commercials in this video]

The video above is about 13 minutes long and shows very graphic views of the lava, as well as what it does to whatever gets in its way. Roads are obliterated, covered by many feet of black lava rock. Houses in the way simply vanish. When Pele is done, there is literally nothing left.

The Hawai’ian islands have formed for millions of years, and they are still forming now. They are not stopping just because we are here now and building cities next to the volcano. Hawai’i is still growing. New land is created by the volcano spilling lava into the ocean. Decades from now, palm trees will grow on that brand new land and plant roots will start eroding the lava into black soil. And a thousand years from now, somebody will level the ground and build a resort hotel on it.

We can observe geological processes right in front of our eyes.

And we are an awe.

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Fires

This was the view from our driveway on May 15, 2014 – entirely too close for comfort. Fortunately, the winds died down that night, the weather cooled, the wind didn’t shift inland, and all was well within a couple of days after this picture.

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On July 7, 2013, and the following couple of days, the Chariot Fire burned several thousand acres on Mt. Laguna. Here is a map of the surrounding area showing the location of the fires.

Map Chariot Fire

The video below is a compilation of images taken one per second. This is fairly long, but you can scroll forward and see the progress quite well.

Today, after a hike in the Cuyamacas, I drove back over the Sunrise Highway, which led me right by the burned areas. It was eerie to be driving through terrain that had burned just a few days ago. There were still fire crews everywhere. I took some pictures. As always, you can click on the pictures to enlarge the view.

Laguna Fires 1

Laguna Fires 2

Laguna Fires 3

Laguna Fires 4

Laguna Fires 5

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Armageddon

Best weather report ever:

Armageddon

 

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Watch 60  Minutes of May 16, 2010 and tell me when we’re going to build more oil platforms.

How about some more of them dotting the landscape of the Pacific from San Diego to Seattle? How about some in the Arctic Sea north of Alaska?

Just like our banking system is self-regulating, our oil industry seems to know what’s good for the country and the world. Six billion dollars in profits in the first three months of the year for BP gives much incentive to do the right thing for our health and environment.

Might those mid-term elections turn out not quite the way Palin and pals imagined just a few months ago?

Drill, baby, drill!

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Check “Utter Disbelief” about our friend’s house below.

https://norberthaupt.wordpress.com/2007/10/23/utter-disbelief-san-diego-fires/

Here is some video done with the firefighters. They are talking about how they saved her house. Had  they not done that, she would have lost her home that morning. The section at her house starts at 2:50 (on the video clock).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khBBWm0NifA

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We signed the lease for the new house to move into over a week ago. Then the fires happened. 

This is the house we’re moving into. You can see the house is completely intact, and the one to the right of it is completely gone. You can see the tree is singed on the right side. You can also see some of the rose bushes are brown. About where the people are standing, there was a fence to the right, and to their feet is a koi pond.

house-1.jpg

This is a picture from the driveway of what is left of the house next door. There is another one completely gone to the right of that one.

house-2.jpg

Below a picture from the corner of the property looking south to the two burned homes. In the garage of the second one was a car that had pretty much melted down.

house-3.jpg

One more, stepping further back.

house-4.jpg

The fence was burned next to the koi pond. The pump to circulate the water in the pond was melted. The fish survived.

house-5.jpg

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The message below is an email I received tonight from a good friend in Fallbrook. Hundreds of homes were destroyed in his neighborhood. Here is the message, which speaks for itself:

Would you let the team know that miraculously our home was spared. We just got word from a friend who is an EMT who stood in front of our home, which is intact. Across the street there is nothing! We even have power and a phone as I just called my number and got my voice message. We are still in Lake Elsinore and will try to get into our home tomorrow to assess the smoke smell and such and take care of our fish and the plants. We leave for our kids in MN on Friday for the weekend and this will be extra special. We grieve for our wonderful neighbors who lost their homes, including the priest who brought us all the avocados. Please thank everyone for their messages of concern, their prayers, and their thoughts. I am copying Norbert too as he was checking his sources for us.  We are very emotional right now and extremely exhausted, but many, many are not as blessed as we.

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Go to www.sandiego.gov and click on the link List of Fire Damaged Homes and you see all the homes destroyed by fire in Rancho Bernardo alone yesterday. Each number under each street is a burned house, full of furniture, clothes, groceries, decorations, toys and all other possessions. I counted 301 houses destroyed. Each one a total loss for a family. And here it is just a number, so people that are evacuated and cannot come close to their neighborhood can see if their house is still standing.

We made the decision to move a couple of weeks ago. The weekend before last we found the perfect place. We hit it off with the owner. He showed us the property. We looked over the fence to the neighbor’s property. The owner told us about the neighbors. We saw their kids playing on their skate boards in the cul-du-sac. A few days later we signed a lease. We were looking forward to moving in a few weeks.

Then the San Diego Witch Creek Fire started on Sunday. By Monday, Rancho Bernardo was an inferno. There was no way in and out of the community. It was evacuated completely.

Today, a day later, I checked the list above and found that the two homes directly next to us on the right burned down completely.

I am stunned. Will we move into a property next door to two piles of smoking rubble? Is the house we’re moving into damaged? Partially destroyed? I don’t know yet. I will find out as soon as the police takes down the roadblocks and barriers, and we can get into the neighborhood.

 

And I cannot fathom what it must be like to read your address on a list on the Internet and realize that your house and everything in it is gone. I cannot fathom how this is happening to more than 300 families in Rancho Bernardo alone. I cannot fathom how this is happening to many hundreds of families all over the rest of San Diego County and across Southern California.

I am not even directly affected, but I am stunned and consumed by utter disbelief. I am very lucky.

The picture below shows a different house, about a half a mile away, on the other side of I-15. On the left you can see the house of our friend Linda. It was spared. In the center you see what is left of the house of her neighbor. One flying ember may have made the difference.

A Friend’s House

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