A relative or a friend from Back East will inevitably ask, "Aren't you afraid of the earthquakes out in California?" As locals know, the earthquakes remain low on the list of things to worry about. The biggest risk remains fire.
The two firefighters were killed when they drove off the side of a treacherous road in the Mt. Gleason area, south of Acton, around 2:30 p.m., said Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief Mike Bryant. They were later identified as Arnaldo Quinones, 35, of Palmdale and Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County.
As many people here know, a wildfire lives up to its name by being capricious. You do not have to live near a dry foothill to be at risk. Thankfully, right now the Santa Ana winds are not blowing but when they are, they can carry a glowing ember miles away from a fire and start a "flare up" well within a residential neighborhood.
More than 12,500 homes were threatened and 6,600 were under mandatory evacuation orders Sunday night. Eighteen residences have been destroyed, fire officials said, mostly in the Big Tujunga Canyon area.
I get nervous during fire season. But I also start thinking about preparation. What would I grab if I had 15 minutes at best to get the hell outta Dodge? I can understand why some people stay - last year's fires in Orange County showed that even a fully-staffed squadron can be outdone by the sheer volume of a fire storm, so some people realized that it was up to them to save their homes.
Pray for the two fallen firefighters, pray for their comrades still battling this blaze, pray for the residents affected."We started thinking smart and came up with a plan," said Greg Lievense, 54, an engineer at the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One neighbor began stockpiling ladders and flashlights. The group organized into three-member teams and agreed no one would be alone through the emergency. "We broke up into 'ember shifts' " Lievense said, with each group taking turns peering into the eaves and backyards of their neighbors, searching for glowing embers or flames and responding if possible. They developed an emergency signal -- three long honks of a car horn -- which would mean that a home was on fire or that they would all have to leave, he said.
Look here at this time lapse video of the fire. The buildings in the background are downtown Los Angeles.