SoCal Firestorm Aftermath-Death toll and property damage mounts

The damage caused by the latest rash of fires that have ripped through Southern California seem to have no end in sight. The massive disaster continues, as the wildfires are now in their sixth day.

From San Diego to Malibu, the Santa Ana fueled and arson instigated blazes burned their way across our state, covering miles and leaving clouds of smoke across the horizon. Early estimates put property damage well over a billion dollars in San Diego alone, as thousands of home burned to the ground this week.

Orange Country has been devastated by arson fires, as law officials are offering rewards in their search for the suspects. Some residents watched in horror as fires consumed their homes, with firetruck nearby, unable to advance on the monstrously strong heat and winds. Federal assistance is coming in, as Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush have converged in California, taking aerial looks of the damage and mobilizing emergency relief responses from all federal agencies. Bush has signed a disaster declaration for the state, as San Diego Country fires still spark and burn. San Diego now has more refuges than New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

taken from BradBlog.com
“Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and local officials have made media appearances claiming credit for swiftly responding to the disaster…What the Governor failed to mention is that he vetoed four bills that would have increased staffing and fire resources after the Cedar Fire, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. A fifth bill, signed by Schwarzenegger, requires local governments to first submit safety plans to the California Department of Forestry and will not take effect until 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported in a May 20, 2007 article titled “Fire danger acute as 2003 lessons fade.” That article has since disappeared off the newspaper’s website, but a copy is here.”

The situation is ripe for political blame shifting and finger pointing, as the “whose at fault” shuffle game has already begun. Both sides of the environmental debates have weighted in, claiming their sides of the issue on why the fires are raging. To add to that, some are asking serious questions in regard to the fires blamed on arson.
The sleepy town of Potrero, California is slowly coming to the nations attentions, as they resist the infamous mercenary group Blackwater’s attempts to move in. Blackwater had plans to move into Potrero and set up a training camp. Problem is that some of the locals were strongly against the anti-terrorism, private military camp taking 800 acres of their town, and turning it into a shooting range. Town members were preparing to hold a recall election and planned on removing the planning group members who voted in the Blackwater move. The town is now one of the many in California, scorched by fires.

Arsons on the loose
While the first initial wildfire in the Malibu region was blamed to strong winds knocking down power lines, arson is being declared as the cause of many of the others.

One of the more bizarre stories surrounding arsons in California, is the case of Russell Lane Daves. Daves was shot dead by California State University police in San Bernardino after they approached him, suspicious of his actions. Daves fled and attempted to ram police when he was cornered. Police opened fire but have yet to deliver any proof that Daves was indeed attempting to start a fire on the campus.

What is known is that arson is the cause of many of the wildfires this week. Arrest were made in San Diego where deputies caught two individuals starting a brush fire. Another man was arrested in Hesperia after being spotted by witnesses. John Alfred Rund, 48, of Hesperia is being held on $750,000 bond, and due in court Friday, October 26.


Families try to go home

San Diego families have begun to make the trek back to their homes, or whats left of it. Fires have a nasty habit of playing a sick game of hopscotch, skipping around sub-divisions and landing randomly. Residents whose “lucky” enough to have their houses spare still will be hit with the feeling of major loss, as they must all come together and rebuild their lives. The financial, emotional and physical loss caused by this fire still continues, as fires are still raging in at least 4 Southern California areas.

2007 SoCal Wildfire Smoke As Seen from Van Nuys

NASA Satellite Images of California Wildfires: 10/25 Update

Blackwater divides California town

Blackwater in Potrero Trailer

San Diego Wildfires October 21, 2007

The images and videos of the fires are breathtaking and frighting to say the least.
Helicopter dumps water of huge flames.
THE CAL FIRE MISSION SITE-City website with current status on wildfires in CA.
California Fire News-Website with news on CA Wildfires.

article originally posted at Blogcritics.org

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