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Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

No end in sight for the “cauldron” of Northern California: Fires consume more of California

BIG SUR, California (AP) — Weary firefighters got no rest during the holiday weekend as a pair of out-of-control wildfires roared along California’s central coast at opposite ends of the arid Los Padres National Forest.

Despite lower temperatures and lighter wind, one stubborn fire that already had forced the evacuation of Big Sur inched closer to historic vacation retreats.

Farther south in the national forest, wind up to 40 mph fanned a wildfire near Goleta in Santa Barbara County. About 5,000 homes were under evacuation orders, while residents of 1,400 other homes were warned to pack up and be ready to leave on short notice, said county spokesman Jim McClure.

“The fire is expanding and presenting some very complex challenges because of the terrain and the fact that it hasn’t burned in over 50 years,” said Capt. Eli Iskow of the Santa Barbara County fire department. “And it’s close to all the valuables like homes and people.”

The landform makes the fires nearly impossible to fight on the ground. The canyons and gulches act as bellows to the flames, shooting embers and ash great distances. The only effective way of tamping things down is aerial tankers, but money and aircraft are in short supply.

2 comments

1 cookie jill { 07.05.08 at 11:51 pm }

We’ve been getting quite a bit of air action today. The weather is cooperating, however they are expecting a heat wave next week…oh, yeah..but we don’t have a heck of a lot of water anyway to fight the stuff. They’ve been dipping into Cachuma (our main reservoir) and various pools and ponds in the area.

Watching ash fall like snow is a bit disconcerting, or so our lungs have told us.

The Gap might have turned a corner for the best today (helps that the Governator just bought a ton of property in the County not too long ago) but Big Sur still rages and it does not look good for my beloved soul reviving sanctuary. There are still major fires raging across the State that have been put on back hold because The Gap fire took precidence over them.

The State is underfunded, understaffed, underequipped to fight the number of major fires we have burning all at once. And, may I note, IT’S NOT EVEN FIRE SEASON YET!

At least they have information coming from the radio stations now…however, to show you how completely clueless our local TV station is, they didn’t know the Governator was here doing a little looksee and speechifying this morning. An out of town TV station got coverage of it, but the local KEYT told a caller that Arnold wasn’t here and what the viewer saw live on TV was actually taped up in Sacramento. (Didn’t help the case when the caller was actually in the room here in town when the Governator was speechifying.) He just called the station to ask why they hadn’t covered it.

Say a little prayer to whomever for the safety and wellbeing about those amazing folks sent out to do battle against the flames…and another little prary about sending good weather…and some FREAKIN’ RAIN!

2 Bryan { 07.06.08 at 12:07 am }

What is needed is for the jet stream to go back to its normal summer pattern, instead of looking like the drain trap under a kitchen sink. Until that happens, current conditions are going to continue.

There was a time when the local radio and TV stations had reporters. That time is long past thanks to media conglomeration and absentee owners.

The governor should be sending all of the National Guard through fire fighter training, so the man power is available when needed. Sending the units through 200 at a time wastes time that no one has.

In my jurisdiction in New York we had a volunteer fire department. Because of that our department went through fire fighter basic training to provide an additional source of manpower when there was a problem.

Obviously we weren’t as good as the regular volunteers, but at least we knew what things were called and and how to handle a hose.

People should have seen this coming and had more resources available, but the money isn’t there.