LA fires serve as a reminder of 2007 fires and of communities helping each other
The Los Angeles fires are slowly, but surely, coming under control but not before becoming the largest fire, 150,000 acres, in county history. The fire was located in the San Gabriela Mountain area southeast to the mountains high above Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Monrovia, including campgrounds, trails, recreation areas and the Stony Ridge Observatory. The western leg pushed toward Pacoima Canyon. The fire had claimed 64 homes, three commercial buildings and 49 outbuildings and cost more than $27 million to fight by Wednesday night.
In comparison to the San Diego wildfires of 2007 where fires scorched 368,316 acres—more than 575 square miles and 13.5% of the county’s total land area, the destruction of 1,775 residential and commercial structures and damaged another 109, the Los Angeles firestorm is relatively small, but this doesn’t make it any less important or damaging to the individuals, the property lost, nor to the brave firefighters who are fighting these fires.
For San Diego residents this serves as a reminder of the importance of being prepared during this hot fall season with the Santa Ana winds still blowing, by maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around their homes and clearing away vegetation or debris that might burn. The City of San Diego has also prepared the city by clearing brush last year and this year and by increasing the engine reserved fleet from 16 in 2007 to 22. And the ongoing conversation/debate about San Diego Gas & Electric, shutting down service in the county to avoid a repeat of the 2007 fires where downed power lines played a pivotal role in the fire.
Despite a detailed report after the 2007 fires about what went wrong and what can be done to improve the city and counties preparedness, little has been done. We can blame much of the lack of action on the financial disaster that all cities have had to face. Expensive recommendations such as helicopters may be off the table at the moment, but there are still other recommendations that could and should be followed up on such as greater cooperation between the city and the Navy, necessities like walkie talkies, Thomas Bros maps, universal fire hoses, etcetera.
Are we ready for another big fire? The simple answer is No, but then in reality you are never 100% percent ready, you do the best with what you have.
The Los Angeles fires serve as reminder of the horrific impacts of a devastating fire and at the same time it reminds us all of a community and a nation that came together to help San Diego get through the 2007 disaster with donations, food, supplies, and money. Now it is our turn to return the generosity.
The Los Angeles fires are not as devastating in property loss but they are still devastating and donations are needed. Charitable organizations providing aid to people evacuated from Southern California wildfires say that their greatest need is for cash gifts to sustain supply lines of food and to maintain counseling and relocation services. Donations of pet food also are being requested.
Here is a short list of places to contact in regards to donations:
Red Cross: Financial donations can be made at (310) 445-2685 or online at: The Salvation Army, call (800) 725-2769 or go online to www.salvationarmy-socal.org.
Clothing and household goods can be delivered to Goodwill stores. Goodwill Southern California has 100 stores and donation centers, which can be found by calling (888) 446-6394 or going online to www.goodwillsocal.org.
Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA has provided temporary home to about 300 pets and now asks for donations of cat food and cat litter. For more information or to make monetary donations, call (626) 792-7151 or go online to www.phsspca.org.
Los Angeles’ Department of Animal Services said that it too is seeking pet food donations to aid animals evacuated in the Sunland-Tujunga area. For more information, call (888) 452-7381.