The great campfire of 2018
I sit at my computer in the near dark as we finish the forth day of this adventure. No electrical service, so running on battery UPS that is chirping at me. I will need to start the generator again. Only a few gallons of gas left. Fuel smuggled to me by a local friend that knows the back ways. The Officials have us under blockade so we can’t go for food or fuel. The fire is several miles to the south of us.
In the middle top of the map below is a full 90 degree crossroad. I am at the lower end of the left or west branch of it, just above the forks of the stream there. About 2 mile below the Forest Ranch caption. Fire is now very subdued burning over grass and light brush. The red and orange spots are the active fires at this pictures date 11-11-2018 7:30am.
screen shot 11-11-2018 7:30am
I got up at daylight Thursday. About 6:30 and there was a light red smudge on the horizon to the south east, by 8:00 the power was cut off. After a couple of hours that smudge had grown into an angry towering black cloud the soon filled the south horizon all the way to Chico, and the booming of exploding of LP tanks soon followed. A North to South air flow kept the cloud at bay but it towered higher and higher as the fire progressed in our direction. The wind from the north strikes a tall ridge to our south and the resulting Up Draft creates a from the south surface draft as a back flow over Paradise/Megalia. Perfect air flow conditions to suck a fire from Pulga up the rolling hills into town through very dry grass, brush, and pine. The air spillage to the west from that ridge also funneled air to the west sucking smoke and fire into Chico. After a time of watching this unfolding disaster We dig out the generator that hasn’t been used in 16 years. Clean out the fuel tank and and add gasoline. Set the choke, third pull it Starts ! Wow! I didn’t expect it to be that easy to get the thing running. As we only have 5 gallons of fuel on hand for the generators, we must husband our use. It is nearing dark and we have No Idea how long this will last…pg
A personal note:
Something that has been rattling around in my brain.
In 1961 at this time of the year my family’s home burned to the ground and we were left with nothing but the cloths we were wearing. I was just 15, …………………………………………..It
was a long cold winter..pg
Friday morning, the southern horizon sky is a bit murky but the smoke billowing from the fires are much reduced, My guess is the worst is over but it will be at least a week before it is well suppressed. We can’t go for fuel or supplies because of government edict. Electric power was cut off yesterday morning. No big thing, just do without. This is a fairly safe place. It is too bad that the Ecoloons prevented good fuels management and turned the Paradise/Magalia area into a explosive fire area. Nature has fixed that problem for now…pg
Saturday, Because of the blockade we have to organize a smuggling operation to get fuel in. A friend uses a jeep trail to bring in fuel for my neighbor and I, while he picks up things to store in his root cellar or take down to Chico for safe keeping. We can leave the area but would be blocked from returning. This sucks, we are staying. My neighbor and I are well versed on fire dangers, have evaluated the situation and know that we and our properties are quite safe. The fire is over 105,000 acres in size with 5% containment. We now have 8 gallons of gas for the generators, maybe 2 days worth, to keep the refers cold, some lights and me on the internet, phone line has been dead since morning and no cell phone service…pg
This is Sunday, the fire has not grown appreciably today, 109,000 acres in size. 25% contained at least 29 dead, 6500 homes destroyed and nearly 60,000 people displaced. Poor management of biomass fuels has created this great disaster one of many in California. I still don’t see any signs of intelligence in the political class of “leaders”. Just a bunch of touche-feelies and the out going Governor calling for 100s of billions of dollars to fight “Global Warning” and the new one seems worse,
As the sun sets this evening, there is a light smudge of red in the air to the west from the small fires burning below…pg
Monday, connections are being made to deliver fuel and food to us. It is a smoky day as the North wind has subsided and there are still a few grass fires several miles down the canyon from us, mainly back fires to rid the area of fuel under controlled conditions. After the car arrives I set to using the car fuel pump in the tank to pump 20 gallons of gasoline into the empty containers. Wonderful! We now have fuel for the coming week. The refers can be kept cold and water pumped as needed…pg
A bit after 7pm Electrical service is restored to us. HURRAH ! I can shut down the generators. I have real lights to type under and may even get to take a warm shower before bed. Life is slowly beginning to return to normal….pg
Tuesday morning, it is a bit smokey, things are returning to normal conditions, for us. We are out of danger here. But for others this hell will continue. Fire is 30% contained at 125,000 acres. 43 fatalities confirmed – more to find I’m sure. 200 people are still missing. Homes destroyed nearing 7 thousand, as well as hundreds of business operations wiped out. 50 thousand people or more are are more or less homeless and the first rains are a week away….pg
Wednesday; the air is smokey and calm, very boring day here, that is good, just putting things away. The reports are 56 fatalities known, 146 still missing, nearly 9,000 homes destroyed, 52,000 people displaced by the fire and official actions. 138,000 acres involved and the fire 35% contained.
A possible humanitarian disaster is approaching in the form of a cold wet northern storm that should strike in a week with many thousands of people living in their cars or in the streets and parking lots with little real shelter, because the Officials don’t want them to go back to their homes in and around the fire area, nearly 2/3 of those displaced have intact homes to go back to but at present are locked out of the area. …pg
Thursday, Now that my situation has stabilized I can point out the cause of this Camp Fire disaster. While poor fuels management caused by the Ecoloons of the area, specially those in the local government was a major factor. The fire storm that swept through Paradise/Magalia was caused by a rare fluke of geography and weather.
To the south of me and to the north of Paradise/Magalia is a tall ridge that looms over the rolling hills that the town sprawl covers in a mature Pine forest. This DoeMill Ridge was in direct line to block and lift the North Wind that blew against it. causing an up draft that sucked air from the South where the fire started toward the north over the city. between that city and the ridge is a deep canyon that funneled the return flow to the west towards Chico over the only hiway leading down out of the area. A Fire Storm swept south to north and then east to west over the people fleeing the area in their normal directions on the normal way of getting into and out of the area.
Now that the fire has traveled to the west and out of the shadow of the ridge the north wind is pushing the fire towards the south and Oroville…pg
Friday dawns smokey, visibility is nearly a mile, The blockade on us was lifted last evening, we can now come and go to town for supplies. Most of the area is still in lock down and the first winter storm approaches, late Tuesday night to begin at least a week of wet cold weather. 2 inches of near freezing rain on it’s way and the forecast has been getting wetter and colder as the storms get closer. Motel rents are now over $1,000 per week. People with intact houses are living in their cars or tents all over the area outside the fire zone. Lucky ones are staying with friends or family as this disaster continues…pg
Saturday is smoky, almost 1 mile visibility. some people being allowed to return to their homes. The President has made his appearance and left. 149,000 acres burned, 55% containment, over 9,000 dwellings burned, 76 fatalities known, over 1,200 still missing, 46,000 still evacuated ….pg
It is now Wednesday morning, the wet has arrived with a damp drizzle and fire fighting will begin to change from fire suppression to cleanup. As much as 6 inches of rain forecast for the burn area in the next 3 days. Air is clearing as wind and water does it’s magic in restoring the Atmosphere. 79 fatalities known and over 400 still missing. Over 40,000 still evacuated and over 9,000 homes destroyed. For some this disaster continues…pg
Wednesday evening the power goes down again, off all night long, well this sucks, we were expecting to cook the Thanksgiving Turkey in our electric stove. My sister recommends the big BBQ to roast the Turkey, why not! I set it up, start the thing heating and ready the bird, breast down Garlic Olive Oil slathered all over, put in the Turkey at 8 am, after an hour the power comes back on and We transfer the turkey to the 325F oven, at noon, the 17 pound bird is cooked to perfection, 4 hours total time. Sometimes you get lucky!
November 23, the day after Thanksgiving. After 2 days of heavy rain the fire is nearly out. 153,334 acres burned, 95% contained. 84 known fatalities and 475 still missing. over 10,000 homes and businesses burned out. and nearly 40,000 still homeless….pg
Saturday, November 24 , We went into FEMA’s temporary facility in Chico to register as being in the Camp Fire effected area. Considering the expected zoo they were well organized, most helpful and fast. They claimed to have processed over 5,000 people in 3 days, I can believe it. It was crowded, They were using a closed Sears super store for a facility and the shopping center parking lot was FULL. The registration was necessary for any long term, to be determined later, assistance. Agencies such as CalFire also made immediate funding and assistance available to those in real need. CalFire -$250 to those that registered. Not much, but still something to those with little more then their hands in their pockets. Nearly $2 million into the local economy. Many other agencies involved within the same place, for after registration help. All things considered, I would give them all high marks for their attempts to create some order out of the expected chaos. I would guess FEMA has learned a few things about dealing with the aftermath of disasters…pg
The great campfire of 2018 is 100% Contained Sunday 25 November
Camp Fire 100% contained