It started with an early morning fire in near Pepperdine University in Malibu on Sunday and soon fires were raging across Southern California.
The L.A. Times reports, “More than 250,000 people are evacuated in San Diego County, where blazes have torched 100,000 acres. Over a dozen fires burn in seven counties.”
The L.A. Times reports:
Qualcomm Stadium and the Del Mar Fairgrounds opened as evacuation centers, and officials made 120,000 “reverse 911” calls to tell people to evacuate. Schools throughout the county and at UC San Diego were closed. At least a dozen homes were lost. County Supervisor Ron Roberts gave the latest totals on evacuations and acreage. […]
The Witch Creek Fire in the northeast part of the county and the Harris Fire near the Mexican border were burning out of control, just two of the fires that scarred many tens of thousands of acres in California from the Mexican border to Santa Barbara County. At least one person was killed and about 20 injured Sunday.
Santa Ana winds that mellowed overnight were likely to exceed 60 mph by mid-morning, fire officials said, as they worried whether their resources were stretched too thin. Red-flag conditions, indicating high winds and low humidity, were expected throughout the region.
San Diego County was among the hardest hit, and Interstate 15 was closed south of Escondido. Fire moved south into the city of San Diego through the San Pasqual Valley, heading toward the Wild Animal Park. The animal park evacuated its staff to the San Diego Zoo, and some animals were moved to a fire-resistant hospital on the park property, including California condors, several bird species, some snakes and some smaller mammals. Larger animals were in their open areas.
In all areas effected by the wildfires, resources are tapped. John Langford, a spokesman for San Diego Fire and Rescue Department said “fewer than 100 firefighters are in reserve to protect the 400-square-mile city of San Diego.”
“We’re stripped down to that,” he said. “We have all our forces trying to fight this, everything available.”
It was a complaint common among officials throughout the region.
Battling fires on so many fronts was straining local supplies, said Inspector Sam Padilla, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Firefighters “have had little sleep. Individuals are doing what they can,” he said.
Governor Schwarzenegger has proclaimed a “state of emergency in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.” There are reports that at least 2 of the fires were caused by arson, and downed power lines may have caused two other fires.
The L.A. Times has reader photos here, Day 1 photos here and Day 2 photos here. And I Still Persist has coverage of the Witch Creek Fire here. The latest word from Malibu is that Pepperdine has canceled classes tomorrow and the fire still burns out of control there.
Media Matters reports today:
On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, “I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.” Beck continued: “There are a few people that hate America. But I don’t think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.” Beck’s comment came as forest fires ravaged parts of Southern California, leaving one person dead, four firefighters wounded, and forcing about 1,500 people from their homes, according to The New York Times.
WTF? Brian Leubitz notes on Calitics:
Besides the obvious lack of knowing what he’s talking about, this is so inappropriate that it’s practically laughable. First of all, has Beck even ever been to SoCal? First, they are called wildfires, next, the areas that are buring are some of the redder in the state. Funny, except, that people are losing their homes and becoming homeless. And this jerk has the gall to call other people anti-American? Perhaps the guy laughing at people’s loss shouldn’t be the one too judge others.
Finally, as many of our readers know, I live in the Los Angeles area. I’ve received a few emails in the past few hours asking if I am anywhere near the fires, thankfully, I am not. I checked in with Dem Daily writer Stuart O’Neill by phone a short time ago, Stuart is in Orange County and reports he’s near areas of concern, but so far so good.
Please keep a good thought for the winds to break and the firefighters to get some relief on this horrific disaster here in SoCal.
Related Post: SoCal Burning