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  #51  
Old 10-13-2017, 12:55 PM
HB of CJ HB of CJ is offline
 
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Location: 42N -123W OR USA Kinda
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Default Secure Internal Fire Communications? ...

We all got the special E-mail, Pager and Cell phone messages at the same time at about 12.25 pm, PDT, Wednesday, 11 October, 2017. I can go back and check the time stamp if needed.

But a good point was raised. I think we got the special-call Out-Of-State call out at the same time our local Fire Chief did. Same process? Same equipment? Again I have no specifics.

But ... what we got and what the Chief got may have been on different systems and perhaps he got what he got earlier. A possibility. I also do not know what Agency had to send what.

Two quick points. First ... why Australia? Why? How? Response Time? Why would the PIO, (public information officer) talk about asking for resources from clear across the Pacific Ocean?

From past personal experience, when a Fire Agency starts talking political when they should be focusing on public safety makes me wonder if Cal Fire screwed the pooch? Just wondering.

Second. Yep ... it appears Cal Fire greatly reduced air retardant drop capability. Why? Was this from C.A.R.B., (California Air Resources Board) or did it come from someplace else. Politics?

Last. (that is three!) Response times. Days, not hours. Hours, not minutes. Minutes not seconds. Entirely different from a quick large ISO Class One initial structure fire response. Different.

All we DO NOT NEED right now is a major regional Earthquake. Yikes!

Respectfully.
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  #52  
Old 10-13-2017, 01:03 PM
Ohio Don Ohio Don is offline
 
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Location: S Florida and SE Ohio
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by HB of CJ View Post
We all got the special E-mail, Pager and Cell phone messages at the same time at about 12.25 pm, PDT, Wednesday, 11 October, 2017. I can go back and check the time stamp if needed.

But a good point was raised. I think we got the special-call Out-Of-State call out at the same time our local Fire Chief did. Same process? Same equipment? Again I have no specifics.

But ... what we got and what the Chief got may have been on different systems and perhaps he got what he got earlier. A possibility. I also do not know what Agency had to send what.

Two quick points. First ... why Australia? Why? How? Response Time? Why would the PIO, (public information officer) talk about asking for resources from clear across the Pacific Ocean?

From past personal experience, when a Fire Agency starts talking political when they should be focusing on public safety makes me wonder if Cal Fire screwed the pooch? Just wondering.

Second. Yep ... it appears Cal Fire greatly reduced air retardant drop capability. Why? Was this from C.A.R.B., (California Air Resources Board) or did it come from someplace else. Politics?

Last. (that is three!) Response times. Days, not hours. Hours, not minutes. Minutes not seconds. Entirely different from a quick large ISO Class One initial structure fire response. Different.

All we DO NOT NEED right now is a major regional Earthquake. Yikes!

Respectfully.
Why on Australia? Because they actually do have a good bit of aerial equipment and know how to use it. The US in the past has sent equipment down there also when they had major fires. The Pacific is just a bigger pond. And yes, from what I've read, CA got rid of a lot of their aerial stuff as have many of the states and Canada.
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  #53  
Old 10-13-2017, 02:19 PM
DaveHH DaveHH is offline
 
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Default From "The Gazette" dated June 2012

"Washington-based Human Events magazine reported in September of 2011 that nearly half of the federal government’s air tankers sat idle at a California airport, as wildfires ripped through national forests throughout California, Texas, New Mexico, and other states.
It turns out the Obama administration ended a long-standing contract, leaving the Forest Service with only 11 tankers to battle 50 wildfires that were burning nationwide. A decade ago, the Forest Service had 40 firefighting tankers.
The Obama administration canceled the government’s contract with Aero Union — a company with 60 employees that had been under contract with the Forest Service for 50 years. Though it canceled that contract, the administration had no plan for an immediate replacement. Aero Union CEO Britt Gourley told Human Events the administration provided no details on why the contract was ended.
“They didn’t want to talk about it,” Gourley said of Obama administration officials.
A Forest Service official said the contract was cancelled over safety concerns, but the company had recently passed its annual inspection.
We can try connecting dots and presume the Obama administration is more enthused with environmental activism than effective fire suppression."

Apparently the problem was slurry killing fish and the use of fire retardant slurry.

Last edited by DaveHH; 10-13-2017 at 02:22 PM.
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  #54  
Old 10-13-2017, 02:38 PM
lapriester lapriester is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Cobb, N California
Posts: 16,070
Exclamation

You also have to realize that in Oregon fire season is winding down and temporary extra assets are and were in the process of being disbanded. I'm currently in Central Oregon and on October 3 they re-opened debris burning season in the district I'm in. That means it's OK to burn open piles of pine needles and other debris in your back yard. Add to that is the fact that Oregon has started their prescribed/control burn burning season and assets are committed to those. Just last week they had multiple burns in progress. At least Oregon has the common sense to ignor the tree huggers and thin and burn heavy growth to create reasonable buffer zones and fire breaks. It's time for Californians to get a life and realize that trees don't hug back in a fire.
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  #55  
Old 10-13-2017, 06:09 PM
HB of CJ HB of CJ is offline
 
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Default Less Than Five, (5) Minutes To Get Out Of The Fire House ...

Used to be all the wild fire special call stuff was pre staged in the fire house. The fire personal boggie bags, Crew stuff like tents, bags, sleeping pads, cots, food, lots of water, etc., etc., were already to go but not yet all piled on the responding apparatus. Then we just loaded and boggied.

Self contained for three days. A service utility usually traveled with us.

Even out of town special calls only took less than five, (5) minutes to go. Then off we went. Not days. Not hours. In our case just a few minutes. Sometimes less. My job was making sure the apparatus was ready NOW. Everything. If it was not then it was my neck on the block. Yikes!

Fire Engineer. Some time ago. I imagine the greatest delay was our Fire Chief getting legal permission from the City Manager to boogie with the strike force. Ordinary fire responses usually took just a tad over one, (1) minute. Slightly longer at night. The standards then were very high.

Back then we just had a big stash of city maps of where we might end up. Today I believe all the apparatus has computer screen assisted maps and GPS. Things have certainly gotten easier compared to the days when we rode the tail board and fire alarm boxes were still used. No cell phones.
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  #56  
Old 10-14-2017, 12:22 AM
CounterMeasure CounterMeasure is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Texas
Posts: 848
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When my dad was an Ag pilot, he and the planes he flew were all certified by the US Forestry service for fire duty. Certified for years, and *never* called into service once.

Even with central Texas was burning a few years back, and they called in the expensive 10-Tanker (one of the DC-10s) from out of state while he was ~200 miles away and could have stayed with us, still not called up.

The only time he did any fire control was when he flew near a burning field and the fire fighters were figuring out how to control it. He took it upon himself to come back, reload with water, and dump lines for them until it was out. They truly appreciated it.

It always felt like there was more to the system than just having personnel and equipment, but some type of preference or pecking order. Which is wrong. People whose houses are in danger of total loss don't care whom dumps water or retardant on the fire near it, as long as it happens to save possibly all they own.

I pray for those already in the paths as well as those still in line for it, and hope those in charge get their act together soon.

Last edited by CounterMeasure; 10-14-2017 at 12:25 AM.
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  #57  
Old 10-14-2017, 01:21 AM
Ohio Don Ohio Don is offline
 
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Location: S Florida and SE Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapriester View Post
You also have to realize that in Oregon fire season is winding down and temporary extra assets are and were in the process of being disbanded. I'm currently in Central Oregon and on October 3 they re-opened debris burning season in the district I'm in. That means it's OK to burn open piles of pine needles and other debris in your back yard. Add to that is the fact that Oregon has started their prescribed/control burn burning season and assets are committed to those. Just last week they had multiple burns in progress. At least Oregon has the common sense to ignor the tree huggers and thin and burn heavy growth to create reasonable buffer zones and fire breaks. It's time for Californians to get a life and realize that trees don't hug back in a fire.
Florida also does prescribed burns. We never call them controlled burns because 9 times out of 10, they get out of control. When one did, the first thing they did was call our agency and ask if we could raise the water level for them. Then they'd bring in a chopper with a Bambi bucket. And dump fish on the fire.
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  #58  
Old 10-14-2017, 12:10 PM
DJEinConcord DJEinConcord is offline
 
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Location: Concord, CA
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Since the fires started Sunday night the entire SF Bay Area has been shrouded in thick smoke. From Concord to Oakland every day I traveled this week has been the worst air quality on record. You seldom see people wearing masks. But this week I saw many commuters donning them.

From my office in Oakland I could usually see the entire Bay Area, but this week visibility was a mile or two. SFO reportedly cancelled flights. Nasty.

This morning was the first time we have seen blue skies in almost a week
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  #59  
Old 10-14-2017, 11:59 PM
fred peterson fred peterson is offline
 
Join Date: May 2011
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Though registered on the forum since 2011 have only posted a couple of times, but felt I had to chime in on this subject. I've lived in Dry Creek Valley/Northern Sonoma County for the past 34 years and for 30 years have been a volunteer fire fighter with the Geyserville FPD and when in college spent 2 summers on a US Forest Service firefighting crew. Been to a few fires and went out on a couple of out of county strike teams. During the Oakland Hills fire storm of 1991, I spent that first night on a water tender up on the Geysers east of Geyserville, witnessing crazy fire and fire winds and listening on the radio to what was happening in Oakland. We had the same conditions, but without the thousands of homes. We lost some transformers and geothermal infrastructure and killed a few rattlesnakes and jack rabbits, but no humans were hurt or killed. In the hills east of town we have one of the 10 fires that started last Sunday night, when the close to hurricane force winds came down from the northeast. We also had another fire start at the same time off of Chalk Hill Rd in Alexander Valley that we were able to knock down that night. I agree with Larry P that most, if not all, of these fires were caused by the electrical grid. Either downed power lines, arcing power lines or power poles blown down. The winds were that strong (especially in the west facing hills above 1,000'). Once the fires were ignited the winds fanned the flames to create the firestorm. I calculated that it took the Tubbs Fire , the fire that has caused the most death and destruction,(started at corner of Tubbs Ln/highway 128/Calistoga) less than 3 hours to travel over 12 miles from the point of origin to where it ended up in Santa Rosa after jumping the 6 lane Highway 101. Just that fire would have overwhelmed the local fire resources, but when you add another 9 fires in the same region at the same time, it becomes impossible to manage. You cannot effectively fight "firestorms". You can get as many people out of the way as you can and make sure that you don't get burned over. The Pocket Fire in Geyserville (now over 13,000 acres) didn't receive any air attack or additional resources until 40 hours after the fire began. We had 2 Cloverdale engines, 1 Geyserville, two private dozers, two private water tenders and a Cal Fire utility pick-up with two firefighters until Tuesday evening when the cavalry starting arriving (first two strike teams were USFS and BLM, both from Eastern Oregon). The immediate need (adjoining counties) strike teams were going to Santa Rosa, Sonoma Valley and Napa, because thats where the people were and are a higher priority. We are pretty good in California (and rest of the western U.S.) dealing with big fires and have a whole organization in place to dispatch resources once requests are made (mutual aid system). But it isn't just the fire engines/bulldozers/air tankers/hand crews, it is also overhead (management teams) and logistics (food, fuel, etc). Then you throw in the law enforcement portion for traffic control, road blocks, dealing with looters. It really is like a large military operation and like those, often doesn't go smoothly. The IAP (Incident Action Plan) for todays operation in northern Sonoma (Pocket and Tubbs Fires) ran 50 pages, with objectives, resources, assignments, air ops, logistics, LE, radio frequencies etc. Geyserville had 1 engine and our water tender in Santa Rosa for the first 36 hours and seeing video and hearing the stories, it was crazy. There was no command/control happening (and really, how good could it be with what was going on that first night). They did a lot of good, both getting people evacuated, as well as keeping the Luther Burbank Center (music venue) and the Kaiser Hospital from burning up. As of today on the Pocket Fire near Geyserville the forecast winds never developed and it looks like the fire lines will hold, keeping fire out of the Geysers geothermal complex and River Rock Casino (both big money sources for Sonoma County) and only having lost two homes.
South of us in Rincoln and Sonoma Valleys and Napa the fire still rage and continue to burn homes, businesses (including wineries). I hope I don't live long enough to see another one like this.
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  #60  
Old 10-20-2017, 09:08 AM
microwaveguy microwaveguy is online now
 
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With the rain that was forecast for last night it looks like the last of the fires have been knocked down. I can't recall another urban fire like this in a longtime anywhere in the US.

The missing person list is still fairly long. My family made it unscathed but many people that we know haven't been so fortunate.

If there is any bright side to any of this there are going to be a lot of construction jobs starting in the spring.
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