Ball of Fire back in Malibu
Having an amazing long weekend. We were back up in Topanga Canyon this weekend so I went out to scout the fire damage that we fled three weeks ago, shortly before we evacuated our own home. Drove the length of Topanga Canyon Boulevard down to the Pacific Coast Highway, then turned up toward Malibu. Saw none. Just this pesky ball of fire that caused me to pull the car over and sit and gawk for half an hour or so.
Followed that up with a very nice brunch this morning that was only marred when I spewed my coffee reading the L.A. Daily News. The L.A. Unified School District’s produced a supplement touting their progress and achievements including a quarter-page profile of their Couch of the Year. Unfortunately Micky’s Brown Couch was not the winner, but some guy working in the athletics department.
Home now after some power shopping. Outlet malls can be dangerous places.
Good article in the Union-Tribine on San Diego’s Wild Animal Park and the efforts to evacuate the animals, including a number of endangered species under their protection. Six hundred acres were scorched at the park, but none of the public areas were reported damaged.
Among the endangered species threatened by the fire were five California and two Andean condors housed in the breeding facility.
They were also the hardest to capture, Mace said. The birds have 10-foot wingspans and a bad attitude.
Mace said the birds were anxious because of the fire and disliked being chased around their enclosure by pesky humans.
The article includes a good photo at the end showing how close the fire got to the public areas. This is a self-portrait taken overlooking that same valley last November.
After a day of decompression and complacency, the wind has shifted bringing the smoke back into our neighborhood, and the noise pollution is off the scale as the trees and brush separating Casa from the neighboring transformer station (no Nala, not Transformers) get removed. Also pissed at myself for breaking some glass while unpacking from Monday’s evacuation. Is drinking before noon really that wrong?
As The Smoke Clears
Both the destruction and close calls are becoming more photogenic as the smoke clears and travel restrictions are lifted. Driving around town it becomes clear that harsh lines had to be drawn when choosing where to fight and where to give ground. Five new photographs here were taken this afternoon and are all from within one mile of Casa.
Police presence in this part of Escondido is sharply reduced from this morning, but a lone National Guardsman was stationed at the site of one burned out house, and firetrucks lone and in convoys were on the move on every street.
Bits and Pieces
A few little bits from here and there, kinda like the ash all over my balcony:
- Nice article by NBC’s Martin Savidge refuting the reckless comparisons between the SoCal fires and Katrina.
- While out and about this morning, I saw at least a dozen motorcycle police officers blocking off streets and driveways in anticipation of The Great Tourist and his entourage. I wonder what else they could have been doing.
- One third to one half of the nation’s avocados are gone, possibly for years to come if the trees are destroyed as well as the fruit. Better enjoy that guacamole dip while you can afford it.
The Presidential Helicopter Overflight just passed to the east. Ironically there was too much haze to actually see anything.
What To Pack
Too Much Smoke Inhaled
Survived the night, and actually the smoke in the immediate neighborhood is down to the point of enhancing sunrises and sunsets without otherwise impacting visibility. I’ll try for some photographic proof of that if things remain calm.
Limited goals for today include locating enough of the law practice in the truck to bill some hours and meet some deadlines. Might even make it to a meeting downtown, but since at least one of the other two principals for this get-together are coming from areas that have been evac’d, not certain if this will work. Some phone tag needs to be played.
On a linguistic note, is the past participle of evac evaced? Or should it be evac’d? Evaced looks like the c should be soft. Damn rule exceptions going around proving everything. And don’t tell me evac is not a word; it’s been in common usage in the spoken language for decades, and the question holds for medevac as well.
The number being tossed around is 500,000. Half a million people have been evacuated from their homes in the San Diego area, or maybe Southern California. Statistics like these are being thrown around a lot today without much citing to sources.
This presumably includes people like us, who left and then returned. If we run again, do we get counted again? Hope so, but that’s beside the point.
So, is 500,000 good?
- In three days we’ve evacuated the equivalent of Wyoming or the District of Columbia.
- In three days we’ve evacuated only one-half the number of people that were evacuated from New Orleans in the two days before Hurricane Katrina struck.
Glad it’s not raining.
More From San Diegans
Spinner has more details on the fire and evacuation.
[Edited at 1:13 local to add:]