PHOTO CREDIT: Plumes of smoke rise from brush fires burning near Chatsworth. (Damon Winter / LA Times / September 29, 2005)
Back on June 23, I posted a California Wildfires Information entry mistaking the Morongo Valley fire for the start of the fire season in Southern California. While I did mention that the giant Cedar Fire among other mammoths that broke out in SoCal and my beloved San Diego County took place three days after the birth of my second child, Jackson, on October 25, 2003, I was fearfully thinking that the fire season was coming early this year.
Now with the additions of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slamming ashore in the Gulf Coast, the idea of natural disaster is all too vivid.
It's interesting that while we were getting all that rain earlier this year, with landslides and floods throughout the southland, nobody even once mentioned that rain, in a basically arid and desert region, could prove itself so harmful later in the year. With all the new and dense vegetation (read: weeds) that sprouted up everywhere, giving us a soft blanket of green on our normally dusty, sagey hillsides and canyons, there was not even a whisper of what it would mean for the fire season -- namely, that all this new growth would eventually dry up in the summer heat and become massive stands of fuel for the flames when Autumn's Santa Ana winds would come blowing across the desert and into our beautiful, sunny Southern California.
The Topanga Fire (pictured above) is still a raging, uncontrolled mess.
Once again, here are some important fire-related websites for us Californians:
- California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CDF) has a page detailing current major incidents going on in the state at CDF Major Incidents.
- National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
- USDA Forest Service's Active Fire Map; a really good place to get a visual idea for major fire incidents nationwide.