Author Topic: Fires in the west  (Read 3555 times)

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Offline Rob McGilp

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Fires in the west
« on: October 24, 2007, 02:52 PM »
I just wanted to wish everybody on the west coast all the best. I think I can speak for all Australians when I say our thoughts are with you. As you know, we're no stranger to fires.

Regards,

Rob

Offline poto

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2007, 01:00 AM »
Thanks Rob. I really appreciate your thoughts. So here I am, standing in my garage, the flames a red glow on the horizon. My wife and I are packing the car, having collected all our precious pictures of our daughter, videos, birth certificates, passports, insurance papers - anything we could think of. The kid and the dog are in the car as we prepare to evacuate. I look over to the corner of the garage. My stack of FESTOOLS sits there. My joy, my creative outlet, about to be melted into unrecognizable lumps of plastic and metal. My wife and I look at each other. Look back at the stack. Look into the trunk at the pile of boxes. What could we leave to fit the FESTOOLS in there? The pictures? No. The safe? No. The dog? No.

So they sat in the garage. A hard decision. The right decision. But a decision nonetheless.

Luckily our house is still standing, and we're back in it. A scary time. But the upside is that FESTOOLS are replaceable. Heck - I could get the new TF 55 EQ instead my old ATF 55...

Poto in San Diego

Offline Eli

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2007, 02:54 AM »
One Aunt and Uncle packed up their pet birds and left Fallbrook to go stay with my cousin in Santa Monica. Their house is okay as well. The ironic part is I know she's scared to death of the yearly fire threat and would be happy to collect the insurance money and move elsewhere. My Uncle and Aunt that live in Scripps Ranch have been lucky twice now. The last really big one stopped across the valley from them. They were in Hawaii this time and decided to stay a little bit longer....
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline poto

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2007, 12:53 PM »
One Aunt and Uncle packed up their pet birds and left Fallbrook to go stay with my cousin in Santa Monica. Their house is okay as well. The ironic part is I know she's scared to death of the yearly fire threat and would be happy to collect the insurance money and move elsewhere. My Uncle and Aunt that live in Scripps Ranch have been lucky twice now. The last really big one stopped across the valley from them. They were in Hawaii this time and decided to stay a little bit longer....

Hi Eli,

It looks llike Scripps Ranch was spared this time. We hosted a couple who evacuated from there - they're back in their house now. Four years ago - 2 months after they moved from Hawaii and bought their house in Scripps Ranch - most of the houses around theirs burned to the ground. They were lucky. People are just getting back into their rebuilt McMansions, and now this. And it's bound to happen again.

One of the big problems is that after the big fire 4 years ago, we had heavy rains. A lot of brush grew, then died during the ensuing drought, and turned to tinder. There's still a lot of it around - in spite of our ongoing fires. I don't mean to sound like a pyromaniac, but I think what we need is a series of small, controlled fires during the wet season to get rid of the tinder in our canyons. However, I can't envision any scenario in which the lawyers and insurance companies would allow controlled burns near developments. So the brush builds up, dies, dries out, and ignites. Why are we surprised?

Poto

Offline Dave Ronyak

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2007, 12:56 PM »
And would those environmentalist activists allow such preventive clean-up burns, which would destroy habitat for protected species? 

Dave R.
Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline CharlesWilson

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2007, 01:08 PM »
The problem is cyclic, or so I have been led to believe. After the fires come the mudslides (at least on the steep slopes) because the vegetation is no longer holding the ground together. And then, after years of regrowth, come the fires again. The only thing that can undo this cycle is climate change. We may be in for that, if some of the experts are to be believed.
Charles Wilson

Offline Eli

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2007, 04:38 PM »
poto- I've always said that, as long as that environment is there, there will be fires, and smaller burns would be the way to alleviate the problem. When we lived in LA, my Mom would call every year when there was a fire in Malibu, and every year I'd try and make her understand that there would be a fire every year. I don't think there's a way to have small burns, but people could start building houses that are a little more resistant. Underground or straw bale both have great resistance. If I build in a fire prone area here in Oz, that's how I'm going to go.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline TahoeTwoBears

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2007, 08:14 PM »
There's a new Wildland/Urban Interface Code being adopted by at least the State of California that will have changes pertaining to fire resistance. Good start, but we're all typically the problem. I remember working with a fellow from the Bay Area (SF/Oakland) who had spearheaded getting rid of shake roofs in his community. He put on a new shake roof just prior to the ordinance taking effect, even though he knew all the reasons why he shouldn't.

We just had a significant (for us) fire here in South Lake Tahoe. People are already concerned about getting their places up before the new codes hit in January. I understand the cost concerns, but ultimately the costs are borne by all of us (firefighting ain't cheap) anyway. My next place will be as fireproof (impossible) as I can make it.

Mike

Offline Eli

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Re: Fires in the west
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2007, 10:12 PM »
There's an interesting story floating around somewhere about an architect couple who built an adobe straw bale bench in their garden. A fire swept through and leveled their house, and although the bench was near the center of the blaze, it was almost untouched. When they rebuilt it was from? Straw Bales. I think combined with a metal roof and enclosed eaves, and a clean non combustible landscaping you'd be in pretty good shape....
Do nothing, stay ahead.