California Wildfires Burn
Oct 24 2007

My thoughts are with the people living through the worst wildfires in the history of California.   I have family in the area and they have been fortunate enough to at least temporarily escape the smoke and debris.  I can’t imagine what the other families are going through.  Many have lost their homes.  Hundreds of thousands of acres of land have been burned.  Remarkably, only a few people have been injured.

The LA Times has created a map of the fires here.   Someone on YouTube posted a NASA video of the view of the smoke from space here.  You can see a YouTube video of the fires from the San Diego coast line here and here.

As an outsider looking in what I find interesting is how often the News compares this disaster to Hurricane Katrina.  Last night on 20/20 the reference came up numerous times.  They mentioned how much smoother the FEMA response to this wildfire disaster has been compared to the hurricane Katrina disaster.  How much more organized temporary shelters in places like Qualcomm stadium has been.  They also kept mentioning all the celebrities who have lost homes in the area (who I’m assuming all have property insurance).

As I understand it, the wildfires were caused by a power line that sparked as it fell and that spark was fanned by the extreme Santa Ana winds.  What devastation a spark can bring!  In Louisiana (where they just elected a new governor) the devastation and chaos was brought on by water.

There are so many mixed thoughts and emotions that come up when comparing these two disasters one hardly knows where to begin.  Two different elements (fire and water) in two different US cultures (West and South) having two dramatically different results.  Since I can’t begin to analyze with sophistication the two happenings in time, here is a little poem (simple I know) I just came up with that I thought I’d share:

Wildfires rage through the night
Filling people, animals, and trees with fright
The ocean water is nearby
But useless in the current fight

When water spurns up in a rage
All we are left with is a wet history page
Of life searching for the light
But the bright red fire is useless in our watery cage

— (c) Aruni Gunasegaram, October 24, 2007 4:30 p.m. CST

Author: | Filed under: environment, random stuff | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “California Wildfires Burn”

  1. 1 Kevin said at 4:36 PM on October 24th, 2007:

    You know…I am wondering, we have the Alaskan pipeline right? Why can’t California….being so close to the ocean, put in basically an outdoor sprinkler system? I mean would it really be that difficult with the technology we have today, to run a pipeline into like a huge storage facility, like on top (or at least higher than most terrain) of a mountain, and then have basically “firehydrants” located in various places, that are attached to the main storage tank, and when you need it, voila….gravity will bring you all the water you need!!!

  2. 2 Angela said at 7:19 PM on October 24th, 2007:

    please donate

    And if you’re interested in what people are saying about the fires:

  3. 3 Aruni said at 7:30 PM on October 24th, 2007:

    Hi Kevin – That sounds like a great solutinon! A sprinkler system for CA. I’m sure it can be done but my guess is the politics surrounding it make it quit challenging to implement…but maybe they will figure that out!

    Hi Angela – Thanks for the information on the Red Cross site. I’m sure many people sure need the help.

    Thank you both for stopping by! I hope to see you both around here again sometime.