NoCal Fires

Post Reply
not4u13
Posts: 5481
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:00 pm

NoCal Fires

Post by not4u13 »

Devastation. Complete destruction. Fire so hot it burned through fireproof safes, melted the aluminum wheels of vehicles left behind and leveled entire neighborhoods.
35 (maybe 38) are dead and rising. Average age at one point was 75 as the elderly were unable to flee the fast moving flames.
5700 structures destroyed
Hotels, wineries, commercial space. Destroyed.
The smoke was so thick and traveled so far they had to cancel flights at SFO.
The number of people still under some type of evacuation order is staggering.
Sonoma State University cancelled classes for more than a week, resuming mid-week next week. The University was also evacuated.

This one is going to hurt for awhile. A big appeal of the area for tourism is the beautiful environment, now laid bare by the flames. Much like the devastation caused by hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, people are left with nothing. Unlike those natural disasters, many had little to no warning.

Sonoma county was quick to make a statement that property tax bills would be immediately adjusted for those affected by the fires. They would also give an extension for payment. That also means when they do rebuild, they will be assessed the current market value. Even if the insurance company rebuilds their home, their tax bill make make it unaffordable.

I have family in the area, my youngest attends Sonoma State and is currently evacuated.

The rain was a welcome site given the heavy drought conditions. Now we're witnessing a consequence as all that green dries up and turns to kindling for any spark, whipped up by diablo winds. I'm not sure when it will be over. Nobody is.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; John Muir
http://www.quotesdaddy.com
Bick
Posts: 5003
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:06 pm

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by Bick »

Driving eastbound on the 91 to Corona, the scorched hills to the right look like a black version of Mars.

Getting past the death and destruction, it's interesting how necessary these fires are to a healthy ecosystem.
not4u13
Posts: 5481
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:00 pm

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by not4u13 »

I'm not so sure about the necessary part, especially when you consider where these fires started and the path they took. They didn't start in some remote area and over a period of days overtook a few homes nestled in those remote areas. These recent fires were in heavily populated areas and then spread. That's what's made them so horrible. I'm actually quite surprised at how the coverage of them has unfolded. I'm not sure what the news in Southern California is presenting, but I remember with Harvey, Irma and Maria, there was almost non-stop coverage. I'm not seeing much at all. It's barely a story. Sure, the death toll for Harvey and Irma was around 70 and Maria was about 50, but this thing is getting close to 40.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; John Muir
http://www.quotesdaddy.com
Bick
Posts: 5003
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:06 pm

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by Bick »

I believe media coverage is being driven by the notion that hurricanes are man-caused. Wildfires aren't...yet.

I'm familiar with the terrain of and housing structure of wine country, and given the make-up of the roofing materials of many of the homes, the home destruction isn't all that surprising. Reminds somewhat of the Laguna fires about 25 years ago. Homes with shake roofs burnt down, while the terra cotta tiled roofs and boxed in eaves survived for the most part.

As for the loss of life, I haven't seen much as to why they were unable to leave. The roads in the area wind quite a bit in most of that area given the hilly terrain.
User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 20850
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by John Q. Public »

Fires aren't as sexy as hurricanes? I haven't watched the TV news, so I don't know about our local coverage. The internet has been full of stories about the ones in Wine Country but they do slow down a little as the fires burn. Americans' short attention spans again?

The US Forest Service posted this map on Twitter yesterday morning. Even the smaller ones up north dwarf our "little" fire. Which doesn't seem to be getting the coverage it did when large numbers of people were being evacuated and the freeways were closed. Incredible to me that the commute times were over three hours. But you probably couldn't even get to Santa Rosa.

Image
Don't look at me, I just work here.
not4u13
Posts: 5481
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:00 pm

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by not4u13 »

You couldn't get to Santa Rosa during the height of the fires. The 101 was closed. The fire jumped across the 101 and burned a Hilton Hotel ... to the ground. The death toll climbed to 42 and it seems likely it won't grow much further. I read one report where the structures lost was at 8400 and insured losses are going to exceed $1B.

Many of those who were killed never left their homes. In some cases as firefighters were banging on doors, the elderly either didn't wake up or couldn't get to the door. By the time they realized there was a fire, it was too late. Decreased mobility and ill health were contributing factors.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; John Muir
http://www.quotesdaddy.com
User avatar
John Q. Public
Site Admin
Posts: 20850
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:56 am
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 14 times

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by John Q. Public »

I saw the Super Scoopers fly over a couple days ago so I took that as a sign the fires were winding down. Hopefully they can start the rebuilding soon - if they choose to. What do you do when your whole neighborhood burns down? A lot of beautiful country and beautiful homes burned. Hoping the survivors can get back on their feet soon.
Don't look at me, I just work here.
not4u13
Posts: 5481
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:00 pm

Re: NoCal Fires

Post by not4u13 »

I was looking to get into that housing market a year or so ago. Inventories were low and prices high. Enrollment at Sonoma State University is up, contributing to a shortage of rental property (which is why I was looking to buy). Seemed like a good investment. Santa Rosa is close enough that many students live there either in apartments or with their parents.

Housing inventory was at about 3% in Santa Rosa before the fires. They lost about 5% of the total inventory. Rental property that is still available is being snapped up quickly, at prices far exceeding the previous market value. My kid just got into a one year lease a few months ago and will graduate in May. It was tough to find a place. Shelters are still open but many are closing. Those without homes are going to need to find a place until they rebuild and that's not going to be easy.

Fortunately I've already booked rooms for May graduation because even Hotels are so full, many will not take multi-night reservations right now. Hopefully things will start to settle out by then, and not because I'm worried about me, but because i hate the thought of people who lost their homes not having a decent place to live in the meantime. Being close to the college will mean many apartments will open up during the summer, but it could make it even more difficult for students to find a place when they return. The campus has dorms, but they are taken mostly by Freshmen and the few lucky Sophomores who may get picked to live in one of the few remaining units. Juniors and Seniors need to find a place off campus.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; John Muir
http://www.quotesdaddy.com
Post Reply