Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Basin Complex Fire

I have been following one particular fire that is still burning in CA, the fire known as the basin complex fire currently burning in the Los Padres Forest (near Big Sur).

Why am I writing this? Perhaps it is to make a statement that this blogger who lives in the northeastern United States cares deeply about what is happening. Mention of your fires may be relegated to a small corner of my newspapers (if mentioned at all). I think about all affected by the basin complex fire and the other fires still burning in California every day. Perhaps what I am writing is an act of prayer, of letting you know that you are not forgotten.

One thing that has touched me in my readings of a couple of blogs as well as some e–mail updates I am getting from a friend who is living very near the basin complex fire is their strength of character, and the love they hold for their forest. I suspect that most know of the danger of living where they live, in an area known for fires. I am moved beyond words, so I won’t even try.

But to set a very brief context, please allow me to speak very briefly about living in fire–prone areas and evacuations.

Just as there are things that residents in areas such as Florida and the Gulf of Mexico do to hurricane–proof their homes there are things that people living in fire–prone areas can do that may reduce the chance that the home will be burned down:
clearing up debris from around the house, using flame retardant roofing shingles, not planting trees close to the home and the like. I suppose for many, these measures are a part of life. See this July 2008 graphic from The National Geographic Magazine about ways to make a house less forest-fire prone.

The house where my friend lives is, I think, still in a voluntary evacuation zone. But at last word, she was only one mile from a mandatory evacuation zone. So, since she is still voluntary, she can come and go as she pleases. But once a voluntary goes to a mandatory evacuation, residents are not permitted to go back to their houses after they leave. So, residents in a mandatory zone are living like rats in cages as some blogger’s have put it. They cannot go to the store. And if someone in his or her family was out of the house when the mandatory evacuation went into effect, well tough luck. Of course, hurricanes and floods can lead to evacuation orders. Not that I have been through either I have not. For more information about the meaning of various types of evacuations, see this webpage (courtesy of kusp radio) with definitions of the various types of evacuations.

If anyone in or near the region affected by the basin complex fire in CA or who has been affected by other forest fires in the west has any comments that you would care to make, I'd love to hear from you! :-)

For more information on the basin complex fire see:

1. Life in the fire lane

2. Cachagua CA Fire Department. Cachagua is one of the communities affected by the basin complex fire.

3. Inca web: basin complex wildland fire information (this site has current information about the fire. It gets a lot of traffic and you may have trouble accessing the site.)

4. kusp radio (near Big Sur CA, I think). This site has current fire maps, evacuation orders, updates, good links.

5. Monterey CA (I think) TV station (ksbw): videos, links

6. SurFire08 (community website)

Map of fire as of July 14 obtained from on 16 July, 2008

copyright 2008 K. Tyler Miller

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