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Southern Calif Wildfires?

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  • #16
    So I just heard on the news that another wildfire started today in CA, possibly the result of lightening. Any idea how close it is to the other large fire? They said this new fire had accessibility issues and was being fought from the air (only).
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    • #17
      This is the site for the National Interagency Coordination Center

      http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/

      If you use the link at the top left it will give you the daily situation report in a pdf, this is all the large fires currently burning. It tends to run 24-48 hours behind since it relys on reports coming in from the field.
      Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 07-17-2006, 12:49 AM.

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      • #18
        I thought that in Australia you guys (blokes) often had the able-bodied occupants remain to protect their own property?

        Anyway my point of the fire department not responsible was this. If a structure is not defensible we will not defend it. If it is cleared properly then it needs no protection. Some places fall in between. Those we have to stand and protect. Which is a real problem because if those people had gone all the way and we didn't have to protect them, then we could be working at controlling the fire.

        In general, the government should not have to be responsible for protecting private property from a natural, predictable event.

        Birken

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        • #19
          Originally posted by devildog4
          I meant the FD was responsible for fire protection EVEN IF the owner chose not to clear vegetation...
          My life for a house that the homeowner doesn't care enough about to make it safe for me to defend? HELL NO. Red rock it, next house.

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          • #20
            THis topic brings up an interesting point .... the general attitude of the public that "I'm not responsible for firesafety".

            This goes beyond the wildfire issue where the homeowner has the choice not to choose combustable landscaping or the homeowner has the choice not to put combustable roofing and siding materials on thier house. If the homeowner chooses not to maintain a defensible space around thier house, i agree that they should be allowed to burn and the FD should concentrate thier efforts on the properties that HAVE attempted to mimimize issue and give us a chance to protect the property.
            Train to fight the fires you fight.

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            • #21
              Additionally, the homeowner has the choice and responsibility not to locate their house at the top of a chute, chimney, south slope or other indefensible aspect in the first place. It is entirely possible to build and landscape in such a manner that a house needs no defense whatsoever. It may sound like pie in the sky but that should be the end goal and no, not through government regulation but by individual responsibility (which means individual loss). I will continue to protect the property of those who need it, but always with my own safety and the above in mind.

              Birken

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              • #22
                I have not been involved in an interface fire situation requiring "residence triage", but every time I go through the training I think... What if you drove around your district BEFORE a big wildfire happened and triaged the homes? Would a homeowner take note of the dreaded 'X' in front of their home and make the required changes, once it was explained to them that the X means your home is considered undefendable and will be passed over by fire crews? Or would they still decide that the asthetics of their shingles, overhanging trees, wood piles, and curved driveway are worth it?
                -------;- "Aaaaa!!"
                Remember - always wear your helmet around one-eyed women with pike poles

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                • #23
                  CDF does inspections for this sort of thing though they don't place an X there, but they do have the power to cite and fine I think. I don't agree with that practice but nevertheless I don't believe it is too effective anyway. Most people are either just plain lazy or are so busy working their second and third job to pay for that ski boat around here, to bother with their houses since they figure that's "our job."

                  From time to time we find ourselves in a situation where we are able to tell a homeowner, if there was a fire, your house would burn. We tell them what to do to get their house into some sort of shape but for the most part, I don't think they much care for one reason or another.

                  Birken

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                  • #24
                    I wish I could provide a citation. Maybe some of you know about this.

                    When I was back at the NFA, someone mentioned there had been lawsuits involving lost houses due to wildland fires.

                    Fire department went through the neighborhood, identified the houses they could defend and the ones they couldn't. Did the X thing on the undefensible houses. The homeowners with X's, who lost their homes, got together and sued. Their position was the fire department was responsible for the loss because they made no effor to save their home and pre-determined that it will burn down. They must have had a good lawyer and a sympathetic jury because they won.

                    A couple guys in my class said as a result that their departments no longer mark the homes in anyway to identify which ones they will try to save and which ones they can't. That way there is no evidence for the lawyers to photograph.

                    Can anyone point me towards a more definitive source, or a case where the fire department successfully beat this kind of suit?

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                    • #25
                      Sounds like a simple solution to the problem. Just make sure everybody knows not to create any incriminating evidence. No matter what lawsuits, nobody is going to try to defend a house that is indefensible. That is just suicide and a waste of resources.

                      Birken

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by kd7fds
                        I wish I could provide a citation. Maybe some of you know about this.

                        When I was back at the NFA, someone mentioned there had been lawsuits involving lost houses due to wildland fires.

                        Fire department went through the neighborhood, identified the houses they could defend and the ones they couldn't. Did the X thing on the undefensible houses. The homeowners with X's, who lost their homes, got together and sued. Their position was the fire department was responsible for the loss because they made no effor to save their home and pre-determined that it will burn down. They must have had a good lawyer and a sympathetic jury because they won.

                        A couple guys in my class said as a result that their departments no longer mark the homes in anyway to identify which ones they will try to save and which ones they can't. That way there is no evidence for the lawyers to photograph.

                        Can anyone point me towards a more definitive source, or a case where the fire department successfully beat this kind of suit?
                        www.findlaw.com has a pretty massive and recent library of case law from all Federal and most State Courts (county Superior Courts would prob be a diff story, but doesn't hurt to try).

                        As far as "triage" goes...I guess we should stop "black-tagging" people at MCI incidents for that same reason. *rolling eyes*
                        If there was some flaw in their (the FD's) "triage" system, I could see a suit going to court...otherwise, the presiding judge should've thrown the case out. When it comes to "Joe Schmoe" off the street vs a big (read: deep pockets) private or local government entity, most civil juries will find for Joe Schmoe, since hey, a couple mil is just a small chip in that "big, evil corporation's" (or government's) pocketbook.

                        There was a court case here in the US in which it was established that the police do not have any legal obligation to protect one's property (the case was regarding excessive response time to a burglary or auto theft call)... so if the cops are off the hook on that, why aren't FFs, as well?
                        I'm guessing we're just supposed to be "charcoal fodder"--keep throwing water and bodies at it until there aren't any bodies or any more water left, right? ;-)
                        My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                        IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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                        • #27
                          Maybe the fire service needs to coordinate with/lobby the insurance industry and let them stand up to the plate. Make ridiculously expensive premiums for those w/o the proper clearances and combustible materials. Or, they only have X% of the defendable space and therefore will only get X% of the replacement cost. Let the insurance industry take the hit as the bad guy and make the homeowner accountable. Generally, if the homeowners are hit in the pockets they tend to react rather quickly. Saving money on the premium would also be an immediate cause and effect for the homeowner versus complacency until it is too late. Seems like a win-win situation for all. What do you think?

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                          • #28
                            Would make sense if you could get the insurance industry on board. People do tend to act when they know that a claim will be denied if reasonable steps are not taken to prevent it. Actually, that's how the system works in many other countries, and coincidenatlly, most of those countries experiences fewer fires and and generally has fewer fire deaths than we do. If that is what it takes to make Americans accountable, I'm all for it.
                            Train to fight the fires you fight.

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                            • #29
                              I dont know if you guys remember, but back in 2003 when SoCal had the Fire Seige? What a heck of a time that was. I couldn't do anything at school because it was "dangerous" to go outside. I wanted to run home, grab my hand-me-down explorer brush gear and do something! I guess those kinds of fires are definately not the place for explorers, only for USFS Hotshots and CDF Crews, etc... I also remember the rain of ashes, it was almost snowing outside.
                              All Gave Some. Some Gave All.
                              FDNY - 343 - 9/11/2001

                              God Bless the Charleston 9. Godspeed Brothers.sigpic

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                              • #30
                                After some of the large fires in the early 90's (Oakland Hills, Laguna, Vision)some insurance companies were refusing to insure many homes in wildland prone areas. Lasted a short time (maybe a year), there was a big fuss then it seems to have quietly gone away as I'm not aware of insurance companies doing this anywhere currently.

                                Makes sense to me, if I wreck my car too many times I wouldn't be able to get insurance, I don't see to much difference between that and an area that has devestating urban interface fires on a fairly regular basis. My guess is the insurance companies still make a profit despite the occasional bad year or they wouldn't be accepting policies in these areas.

                                As far as the red rock / green rock I think that is a great idea, too many agencies coddle these people, CDF is particularly soft making sure crews don't say anything to imply a full effort won't be / wasn't made to save homes that had little chance.

                                If I had my way regular patrols would be made through housing areas and honest apprasals of the homes defendability would be made and submitted to the home owners. It would also be available to the other nearby home owners so they would understand the additional risk those poorly prepared homes cause to their own homes.

                                Reality is in WUI fires there are rarely enough resouces to protect all the homes. Poorly prepared homes take alot more to protect, and they often take away resouces that should be defending the defendable, not being thrown at lost causes for PR purposes.

                                Lying to home owners by suggesting we will put crews in a highly dangerous situation for a lost cause does no one any good, it lures firefighters into a bad situation (no FF wants to let a home burn) and gives the home owner a false sense of security. If they really understood the unneccessary risk these homes cause and the high probability that their home will have to be abandoned in a serious fire they just might be persuaded to do what needs to be done. If their neighbors really understood the additional risk thse homes posed to their property there might be enough peer pressure to get more people to comply.
                                Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 08-14-2006, 11:44 PM.

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