One Response to “Fire Chief Explains Fire Maps to CdM Audience”
March 30th, 2012
I was at the presentation to the council a couple of weeks ago. I was also in the Laguna fire in 93 and numerous others as a journalist. The Chief is right in his assessment. His pictures are amazing and tell the real story of what it's like right in front of a wildfire. The blowing embers have to be experienced to understand how incredibly dangerous they are. It's not just houses on the perimeter of the canyons that are at risk during a wind driven fire event. The embers can blow into inner neighborhoods and create spot fires in vegetation and under shingles. This happened in Tustin around 1995 where something like 25 or 30 houses burned near in the middle of town during a Santana. There was a lot of dry trees and landscaping and sparks jumped from house to house and block to block. It was very strange, we were in a normal residential area like CDM, not like a fringe brush area and whole blocks were on fire. What I've witnessed is two phenomena most people don't consider. Houses in Santana driven fires often burn from the top down and from the inside out. Embers blow under dry shingles and catch the roof, or they catch a tree or landscaping bushes next to the house or the house next door - then your curtains catch fire behind the closed windows, and that's it, the house is gone. So while certainly homes lining canyons are at high risk, serious fires can potentially occur anywhere. Personally if I lived in high fire danger areas and had a swimming pool, I'd have my own fire pump and some of that "green slime" fire retardant that can be foamed onto a house and help protect it. But the main thing is keeping a clear space. Remember, in '93, the ONLY house that survived the fire at "Top of the Hill" was stucco, tile roof, with no eves and cleared of vegetation.