California, Up In FLAMES!


San Diego Burning May 15th 2014

San Diego Burning May 15th 2014

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 Welcome back My Dear Readers to The Other Shoe. Today is Thursday, and as such I should be preparing and publishing yet another episode of ‘The Horror in Smithville’. Instead, I am turning my attention to the half-dozen wildfires currently blazing, mostly unchecked, throughout San Diego County. The combination of unseasonably high temperatures, and the Exceptional Drought conditions here, have formed the environment for a Perfect Storm of wildfires. I was going to complain about the 80 degree temperatures in my apartment, the failed air conditioning and how this has caused my pain to demonstrably increase. How I am unable to sleep at night, how even in high temperatures my fever returns… I just couldn’t sit and write about that… ask for help while tens of thousands of my fellow Southern California residents… do not even have a roof over their heads.

Since I arrived in Southern California, more than thirty years ago, I have shared a prophecy. My prophecy was that if California failed to curb residential expansion into high erosion areas, failed to spend the needed funds (State, County and City) to keep brush cleared from homes, failed in adequately invest in proper training for volunteer firefighters, and either curbed the tremendous thirst of this region or discovered new sources of fresh clean water (desalination being the single most viable with a 2,000 + mile coastline) that; One day Los Angles and/or San Diego will become encircled by forest/wild fires.[1]

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Right now, here in Southern California, it is 100 degrees! This is about fifteen to twenty degrees above average for this time of year. Living along the coastline, for much of my first fifteen years here in So Cal., I am very used to this time of year being known for ‘June Gloom’. From anywhere as far south as San Diego and as far north as San Francisco, the later part of May and all of June are characterized by low hanging cloud cover all along the coast. Late afternoon rain, brief showers, cool temperatures and a socked-in coastline are the characteristics of ‘June Gloom’.

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Today, it will hit 102 degrees in many places all through Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties. Combine these unseasonably high temperatures with the Exceptional Drought conditions across Southern California have birthed the single worst spat of May wildfires in the history of California. Right now there are no less than seven different wild fires burning in San Diego County. These seven different wildfires have, to date, burned over 10,000 acres and displaced more than 23,000 Southern Californian residents.[2]

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It was just five or six years ago, when I was still able, that I went about volunteering to help out at wildfire evacuation centers. I still had my truck, then, and I lived in a building where my air conditioning worked very well. I really wish I could go out and help, with this terrible spat of wildfires. However, my spine is in much worse condition, my pain is greatly exacerbated by the high temperatures in my apartment and I do not have my own transportation. The last, is really the least of the problems. I know, for a fact, that I could get transportation to and from one of the local evacuation centers.

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It is just the fact of being out in 100 degree temperatures to come home to an apartment that is not getting above 80 degrees, day or night. California has been set on this path, for the better part of the past two decades. Financial cut backs by; state, County and City governments in; brush removal on public lands, brush removal on private lands (homes & trailers) close to flood plains and/or remote areas with free growing ground vegetation.

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The single greatest contributing factor to the loss of homes and private residences is spread of a wildfire by strong winds, and the embers finding dried brush right next to homes and residences. This is how a wildfire can seem to skip over large areas, and pop-up miles away. Quickly find dry brush, and even quicker spread via brush into neighborhoods where homes are (literally) only two or so feet apart. Just today a brand new subdivision, right here in Northern San Diego County, went up in flames due to dry brush spread. The homes were not sold, nor occupied, but the whole subdivision was burnt to the ground in just a matter of an hour.

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With austeritythe new cure-all/fix-all of the ‘Radical Right’ Southern California’s brush and wild vegetation growth rate has gone exponential. When we do get a little rain fall, it is usually just enough to loosen top soil and cause homes to shift or fall. This sporadic and limited rainfall is not enough for trees, and our signature Palm Trees, to feed foliage. It is just enough to feed our brush and wild vegetation. This leads to tinderbox conditions with the combination of more dead tress and palm trees, plus extreme growth in brush and wild vegetation, combined with extremely high temperatures and very low humidity. All a wildfire needs is one carelessly discarded cigarette butt, or one firebug with too much spare time on their hands.

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LA Fire Crews working CoCo fire in San Marcus

LA Fire Crews working CoCo fire in San Marcus

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Already, more than one of the currently burning wildfires, in San Diego County, is thought to have been started by firebugs. It is really unfortunate that Southern California has grown to be one of the single largest concentration of firebugsin our nation. Just as a side note and to shed a little light on a subject dear to my heart, firebugs are nearly ten times as likely to start a brush fire or wildfire when they experience financial problems. With a great many jobs, for untrained workers and non-professionals (which makes up nearly 90% of ALL firebugs), cutting back hours to less than 30 per week and a minimum wage that is not a ‘living wage’.

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One can quickly understand just how a potential firebug can be thoroughly tempted to light a fire, when one considers the factors. Increased stress in one’s personal life due to low hour/low wage jobs leaving an individual with growing financial insecurity combined with more free time. Can quickly equal increased pressure from known stressors for firebugs combined with more opportunity due to more free time thanks to the all new low hour schedules.

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Now, add in the worst drought since California’s statehood began, and the highest temperatures (in Southern California) since the late 1800’s mixed in with the financial pressures and more free time to express one’s self = Potential for the Single Greatest Firestorm in California’s history. I saw this coming years and years ago… I have written about this ‘Perfect Fire Storm’ previously. I think I have penned one article (at least) here at The Other Shoe. As well, I wrote more than one article about these four factors (unseasonably high temps, drought conditions, below living wages, low hour schedules) combing, right here in Southern California, to create the greatest firestorm America has ever witnessed.

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There is one solution that could easily address several of these powder keg conditions and greatly decrease the potential of a whole metropolitan city going up in flames. DESALINATION PLANTS! California needs to invest tens of millions… even billions of dollars in Desalination Plants all along the California coastline. California has the single longest continuous coastline of the lower 48 states. California, right now, imports more water, from other states, than any state in the nation. Right now, more of California is gripped in ‘Exceptional Drought’ and ‘Severe Drought’ conditions than at any point in its entire history. Well, except for a 400 year drought, here in California, just after the end of the last Ice Age.

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That’s right, about 10,000 years ago, California suffered 400 years (out of 480 years) in severe to exceptional drought conditions. We know this from the geologic records of this area. California is no ‘stranger’ to severe and exceptional drought conditions. Actually, since statehood, California has enjoyed some of the best non-drought conditions in the past thousand years. It appears that record has been broken, and California is returning to a drought-ridden state. The map, below, shows the extent of the drought and the level of drought currently here in Southern California.

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I have made no qualms about expressing my grave and growing concern for California’s wildfire conditions. I have, previously, written that one could reasonably expect between 30% and 50% of Southern California residents flee the state simply because of the continual threat of wildfires, and the growing drought. I have expressed my opinion that putting financial pressure, growing financial pressure, on the lower middle classes and poor you greatly increase the number of and frequency of firebug attacks. The past two years have completely proven out the validity of my statements, and my prophetic articles.

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However, that does not help at this point in time. The single action our state could take, that would result in the relief of pressure and triggers for our state’s firebugs would be to fund dozens of desalination projects from Southern Sand Diego County all the way up the coast to San Francisco. The largest number of these plants should be located in; Sand Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. These areas have the; greatest number of unemployed, the greatest number of people needing full time (above minimum wage) jobs. As well, that area is also the location of the single greatest concentration of California’s thirsty population. Build the desalination plants as close as possible to the people and areas currently gripped in exceptional drought conditions.

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California Drought Map 2014

California Drought Map 2014

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You see, by putting the; water, jobs and awareness directly in these critical areas you focus your resources. More full time, higher paying, jobs in these geographic areas of exceptional drought you release some of the financial pressure, while occupying free time and bring abundant water all at the same time. Now, My Dear Readers, you might be unaware that desalination has been greatly improved over the past two decades. Plants can generate far more clean drinkable water with a smaller footprint and using far fewer resources like electricity. They generate substantially less waste water and waste, while producing far more drinkable water in a substantially reduced time frame.

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Earlier this year I wrote an article about a high barometric pressure system that parked itself right over the Southern California coastline. It pulled up and sat there for TEN MONTHS STRAIGHT! It is, was, the single longest stationary high barometric pressure system in American history. Never before has a high pressure system parked itself, in one place, without moving without relenting in history. Now, since I wrote that article the high pressure system… relented, for a few weeks. It actually let through some rainfall. Some hard rainfall that resulted in flooding and flash floods all along the Southern California coastline, from Malibu to San Diego.

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Unfortunately, the high-pressure system has returned and all we got out of the brief but heavy rainfall was? Loss of top soil, and a huge increase in brush and wild vegetation. Exactly, the water was just enough to add to the problem of kindling for our wildfires without adding to our much needed water reserves. If this high-pressure system prevails, over the next six to eight weeks, California will be sitting in the middle of a ‘Perfect Storm’ of bad conditions for the creation, and rapid spread, of wildfires. Secondary to the wildfires is the fact that every gallon used to fight wildfires is a gallon lost for use my humans for day-to-day life.

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If conditions do not change, improve, then California looks to be set to witness the single greatest storm of wildfires in our state’s history exactly at the same time as not enough water to fight these wildfires! I am not kidding and, to the best of my knowledge, I am not exaggerating the potential of this situation. I do, however, hope and pray that I am wrong. I really hope that these (record number) of firebugs do not understand the prefect storm of environmental and man-made conditions. However, if these firebugs do begin to understand the “extreme to exceptional drought” conditions? If they begin to understand that they can create huge wildfires with ease. If these firebugs see their brethren light up thousands of acres with just one well placed fire?

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Then Southern California could be on the line for witnessing the single greatest loss of; homes, buildings, structures, forests, and human life in our recorded history. They need not even communicate with each other, just watch where a fire (in their area) is set… then set out to start another wildfire in a diametrically positioned area. In just a matter of a few days, semi-coordinated efforts, by a handful of firebugs could stretch our firefighters beyond their ability to manage the wildfires, and stretch out our need for water way beyond our ability to meet.

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My Dear Readers I genuinely hope and pray that I am dead wrong. In the coming days, and weeks, I genuinely hope and pray that the number of intentionally set fires and wildfires decreases, rather than increases. I hope that our State government, the Governor, and all state fire fighting authorities send out an urgent request for; fire fighters, and fire fighting equipment… NOW! Let’s not wait until San Diego IS encircled by wildfires, let’s set needed communication and requests for assistance NOW!

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Arial Image of San Diego Wild fires

Arial Image of San Diego Wild fires

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My Dear Readers, I have a ‘Bad Feeling’ about this year’s wildfires. I have a bad feeling about the high pressures system still parked right off our Southern California coastline. I have a horrible feeling about what little water California does have, being spent so early in the wildfire season. Leaving the people with less and less drinking water, once summer does arrive! IMHO All ‘water-parks’ should be shutdown, and/or prevented from starting up this year. That owners of home pools should be asked (or discouraged) from filling and keeping filled their home swimming pools. That all state owned or run business or institutions should be placed on strict drought condition measures. Prisoners, in our prison system, should be put on severe water restrictions. Cutting back the number of showers to an absolute minimum!

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Further, that the owners of car washes (both manned and self-serve) should be placed on severe water restrictions. Any and all self-service car washes should be monitored so that individuals can only wash their cars ONCE A MONTH! Same for the manned car washes, that owners should mark cars and monitor so that car owners can ONLY wash their cars ONCE A MONTH! These restrictions should already be in place!

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Barring a complete turn-around of our weather conditions. The immediate return of ‘June Gloom’ conditions to Southern California. We, here in So Cali, have a very bleak, hot, dry and smoky summer. Not to complain, My Dear Readers, but… my air conditioner… in my new apartment has broken! Right now, as I am writing this and preparing it for publication, I am sitting in a room that is 83 degrees INSIDE! This is making my pain substantially WORSE! I cannot sleep at night… and my health is suffering greatly.

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I have asked, once, to have the A/C repaired or replaced. After days of begging, they finally sent of the maintenance person. After checking out the A/C… he brought over another used A/C… that was filthy inside and barely cools at all! Allen helped me, a lot, by cleaning out the inside of the A/C. However, even with Allen’s work… the A/C STILL does not cool much at night… and During the heat of the day it spends more time OFF than ON (cooling). I am going to ask, tomorrow, if they can (once again) replace or repair. I am very doubtful they will bring me a; clean, well operating A/C that works during the daytime and really cools at night.

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Usually… when Allen was working at Disneyland? We would go to the Home Depot (that was right across the street) and spend $200-$300 on a “Portable Air Conditioner’. I would set it up in the front room… and within a day my room would be back at a comfortable temperature. However, with my current financial situation… I cannot afford even another fan to help circulate the little cool air coming out of this filthy A/C.

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My Dear Readers, I apologize in advance. IF I am unable to get my apartment back to a comfortable temperature (68 – 73 degrees)… I will be writing less. It is unavoidable because I cannot keep running this ten year old notebook computer in a room that gets up to nearly 90 degrees every day! As well, these higher temperatures are causing; increased stiffness in my neck, grater pain in my cervical and thorasic spine, greater shooting pains in my neck hands and arms, and terrible nausea in the day time and a complete lack of sleep at night. So far… I am doing my best to keep my mouth shut… I do not want to start acting angry at Allen… just because I cannot get out of pain… or sleep at all. This is the worst my pain and suffering has been in years and years…. And all I need is for my apartment to be cooler! Heck I do not even pay the electricity… it is included in the rent! I just need a working A/C!

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Well, writing about it has made me aware and now I am in terrible pain… all along my beck and neck. My Dear Readers… I apologize for this shortcoming. I apologize for my, upcoming, absence… I am so sorry! I do not know what I can sell… of how I might be able to get together the money to purchase an A/C. However, until I CAN? I fear I will not be writing… I will TRY. I promise. Until I cen write, again…

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Adieu!

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Thank YOU!

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The Other Shoe eBay Store

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http://www.ebay.com/usr/enzomatrixlt

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Danny Hanning of The Other Shoe - May 6th, 2014

Danny Hanning of The Other Shoe – May 6th, 2014

 

 

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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