California Firefighters Make Gains on Fires - @ JEMS.com


California Firefighters Make Gains on Fires


 
 

Justin Pritchard | | Monday, November 17, 2008


DIAMOND BAR, Calif. -- With the ferocious Santa Ana winds dying down, firefighters on Monday made gains on three raging wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to flee.

Wind gusts had peaked to more than 70 mph at the height of the fires over the weekend, but by Monday morning they weakened to about 20 mph, the National Weather Service said.

"It's wonderful news," Angela Garbiso, a spokeswoman with Orange County Fire Authority, said Monday. "When it calms down, it obviously makes it easier for us to handle this massive undertaking."

The fires, which have burned since Thursday night from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and counties to the east, blackened more than 35,000 acres or 55 square miles.

In Orange and Riverside counties, the fires chewed through nearly 24,000 acres and were pushing toward Diamond Bar in Los Angeles county. A major aerial attack on Sunday raised containment to 19 percent.

Meanwhile, a 10,000-acre fire that hit hard in the Sylmar area of northern Los Angeles on Saturday moved into the Placerita Canyon area of the rugged San Gabriel Mountains and was burning vigorously, but well outside the city. It was 40 percent contained.

The Santa Barbara-area fire that swept through tony Montecito has burned 1,940 acres and was 80 percent contained.

The cause of all the fires were under investigation, although officials said the Santa Barbara-area was "human caused," said Doug Lannon, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Lannon said the fire started in a Montecito landmark known to be a popular hangout for teenagers. He said it was possible someone was smoking in the brush or started a campfire there. Investigators have set up an anonymous tip line in hopes of getting the public's help in finding out who started the fire.

Far away from the flames, the smell of smoke pervaded metropolitan Los Angeles. Downtown skyscrapers were silhouettes in an opaque sky and concerns about air quality kept many people indoors. Organizers on Sunday canceled a marathon in suburban Pasadena where 8,000 runners had planned to participate.

Officials warned of another bad air day on Monday, and classes were canceled at dozens of schools near the fire zones in Orange County.

Many evacuees began the agonizing process of making their way back to their destroyed homes.

Starting Monday morning, anxious residents of the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar, where 484 homes were destroyed by fire early Saturday, will be allowed to return to inspect their property. Firefighters were able to save about 120 other homes in the community, but many were badly damaged.

Cadaver dogs had been searching the burned units to determine whether anybody perished during the fast-moving fire, but so far no bodies have been found, police said.

Tracy Burns knew her Sylmar home was gone but still wanted to get into the gated community to see what remained.

"Even those of us who know there's nothing left, we want to go in and kick over the rubble and see if we can find something, anything," Burns said.

Tears welled in her partner Wendy Dannenberg's eyes as she echoed: "If I can find one broken piece of one dish - anything, anything at all."


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Natural Disasters

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Injured in Philadelphia Collapse

Parapet wall falls through roof of store.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

California Firefighters save Man on Flight

Patient was conscious and talking when United flight landed.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >