Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fire's progression

I want to start first by expressing my appreciation to those who have asked for updates and expressed their caring thoughts. I recognize that we live in a time of short attention spans (me included) and that it's hard to give much extended attention to something that doesn't personally affect you. So thank you thank you thank you for sticking with this so far.

Here's something that I personally find enormously ineresting (did someone sound the geek alarm?):

On this map, you can see the beginning of the fire perimeter and the point of origin on Sunday, Oct. 21. Move the slider to Monday, Oct. 22 and you can see how very quickly this fire spread - like wildfire! - due to the high, hot, dry winds that rapidly scattered flames in all directions. Keep moving the slider through each day and you can see the enormous effect that lighter winds, cooler temperatures and the enormous efforts by firefighting personnel have had in slowing the progression each day.

Current status (as of this morning, Wed. Oct. 31):

  • Fire continues to move east and north
  • About 200 homes still threatened; 15 homes destroyed
  • Mandatory evacuations continue for several canyon areas
  • Acres burned: Approximately 28,445
  • Containment: 90 percent
  • Full containment expected: Sunday
  • Full control: unknown
  • Firefighters on scene: 1,948 firefighters, 167 engines/trucks, 32 handcrews, 18 bulldozers. 634 officers from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. 100-plus officers from California Highway Patrol
  • Aircraft: 12 helicopters, 8 air tankers, 13 water tenders

This gives an idea of the enormous number of resources currently deployed to the fire that's been burning for 11 days now. (There are still 5-6 other fires - out of the original 20 - that are still burning.) Ash in the burned areas is as much as a foot deep. They want to light backfires in the unburned brush in the rugged, steep hillsides near the northeast corner of the perimeter in an effort to destroy any fuel that could reignite the wildfire. This is necessary in anticipation of high winds that are expected on Friday. We're having a lot of humidity, though, and the brush is too wet to burn, so we're hoping for lower humidity to light the backfires and burn the brush in a controlled manner before Friday.

If all goes well, the fire may be contained by Friday. In addition to the fully burning areas, there continue to be dozens of small and large fires - random hot spots - throughout the rugged and nearly inaccessible terrain that they are fighting. In the topo map above, I've circled the area of my daughter's home in Lake Elsinore, with the wildnerness of the Cleveland National Forest between her and the fire. The fire is still 8 miles away and isn't advancing as before. We're so grateful.

Today's simple pleasure: No more smoke smell in the office - woo-hoo!


Cécile said...

This sounds like good news, Rose. I hope the fires are under control soon and out before long. I'm glad to hear your daughter's home hasn't been hit, but what an awful mess. The picturs and maps are amazing.

Praying you'll all be safe.


Cécile said...

Rose, you should check Britt-Arnhild's blog today.

Amber said...

Well, if you're a geek, then I'm one, too...I find this stuff fascinating. Felt the same way during tsunami relief...watching the seismic updates in our command post meetings. The earth is absolutely fascinating...but even more so, the human resilience and compassion that arises from the ashes. Still keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers!

Rose said...

Ceci - thanks for the top to visit Britt-Arnhild. I commented with some info. Namaste!

Amber - Instead of freaks of nature, I guess we're Geeks of Nature. *smile* Thank you dearly for your prayers. Only 10% remains to be contained, but the winds could spread it again this weekend. Praying for all good for those who are fighting this.