Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malibu is Burning!

The one thing they never tell you is how bad it smells and the ash goes everywhere. A blogger friend and I discussed it once, she had the best description, its BBQ'd air that lingers and makes a person sick.

Malibu possesses a raw natural beauty populated by many breathtaking estates built when imagination is the guiding principle, not a lack of funds. From the shore on Pacific Coast Highway or Highway 1, what we locals call PCH, to the hills and bluffs overlooking the ocean, it is called God's Country for its stunning vistas. One of Malibu's largest churches, Malibu Presbyterian has caught on fire (UPDATE: It burned to the ground) and students wearing masks from Pepperdine University are under evacuation. There are at least seven communities under fire threats including Castaic, the greater Santa Clarita valley and homes in Agua Dulce. California's outstanding Firefighters are deciding if they can fly helicopters at night. That is very dangerous in these winds. Usually they cannot fly the fixed wing craft like the leased Super Scoopers that unload unbelievable amounts of water with pinpoint drops of water and the goopy pink fire retardant, FosCheck. An Agua Dulce home just burnt to its foundations so there is a redeployment of air resources. One death and firefighters suffered injuries further south in San Diego.

Santa Ana winds are superheated and blow off the deserts with gusts reaching hurricane strength. Its hard to stay on your feet when its blowing like that hard. Usually there is not a cloud in the sky because they have been blown away. These winds called devil winds hamper fire fighting efforts and are part of southern California's weatherscape, especially prevalent in October. California has had some of its worst fires in the last fifteen years in October. Malibu is no stranger to fire as the brush and chaparral burn and the embers are blown willy nilly and can catch fire miles away. That's what happened with some of the beach front homes nowhere near the original outbreaks. The fires are so hot because the Santa Ana's dry out any moisture in the air which feeds fires. Its 90 degrees here and slated to be hotter tomorrow. Over ten thousands are suffering through power outages.

The fire started in Malibu Canyon, which is also horse country, with a suspected downing from the winds of an electric line sparking the fire. Next to Malibu is posh Pacific Palisades which has even more expensive homes as it abuts Los Angeles and Santa Monica to the northwest.

Update: Injuries and terrible conditions for firefighters in San Diego. Irvine now has intense fire conditions. It's hard to breathe here in southern California and the windows need to stay shut. Bless those in harms way everyway.

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