Monday, July 15, 2013

Rio Hondo Fire, July 8, 2013

The "cover photo" for this edition of The Montebello Hills Blog Magazine comes courtesy of two brave explorers who dared to tramp through the underbrush in search of the burn site.  They decided this was close enough after meeting two helpful cowboys who pointed out the presence of a coyote hiding in the brush just ahead of them!

Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

 Well folks, it's happened again.  On the eve of the one year anniversary of the "Montebello Hills Fire of 2012", another fire in the nearby Whittier Narrows Dam lit up the wee hours of the morning.

According to EGP News,  on July 8, 2013 at 12:37 a.m. a fire broke out along the banks of the Rio Hondo River near Lincoln Ave. and San Gabriel Blvd.  Firefighters from Montebello, Monterey Park, Downey and Los Angeles County along with a water dropping helicopter put out the 7 acre fire.

A photojournalist from OnSceneTV took some downright scary video of the blaze!  Just look at them flying embers!

Once again we owe our firefighters a HEAP of APPRECIATION for their hard work and willingness to put themselves in harm's way to keep the rest of us folks safe!!!!!

View from the Whittier Narrows Dam.  The Montebello Hills oil field is in the far distance.  Lincoln Ave, a small two lane street, is the only "firebreak" separating the hills from these dangerous, dry brush conditions.

Now folks, I urge y'all to read the comments that follow the EGP News story about this latest fire.  Then go back and take a second look at the video.

I reckon it's high time we started asking Cook Hill Properties LLC  to answer some tough questions about their notion of "acceptable risk" when it comes to the fire danger from the Whittier Narrows Dam!

Which brings us to what the LAW has to say about "Defensible Space."  CalFire says:

In January 2005 a new state law became effective that extended the defensible space clearance around homes and structures from 30 feet to 100 feet. Proper clearance to 100 feet dramatically increases the chance of your house surviving a wildfire. This defensible space also provides for firefighter safety when protecting homes during a wildland fire.

 Wait a gosh-darned minute!  This law took effect in 2005!!!

 The Fire Protection Program is dated "October, 2008!!!

So why does "Section D" of the proposed project only have 70 feet of defensible space and "Section E" only has 55 feet? 

Something smells bad here and it ain't the charred brush!

Close up of the dry brush near Lincoln Ave. and San Gabriel Blvd.

By the by, did y'all have trouble with your electricity this week?  Chances are y'all probably sat in the dark for at least a couple o' hours during the past few months.  This past May, NBC reported a whopper of an outage that affected more than 5,000 folks in Montebello.  A month later,  NBC reported another doozy that affected 3,337 folks in the cities of Montebello, Covina, Ontario, Chino, Corona and La Puente.

Folks living near the hills report the last outage happened this past Thursday, July 11. Power outages happen so often here in Montebello, we kinda take em in stride.

Unfortunately, this isn't a good omen for the proposed housing project.  In yet another "What were they thinking!" kinda facepalm realization, it turns out this proposal's water system will rely on just three electric powered pumping stations to force water uphill.  I guess somebody thought an old-fashioned water tank "a la Green Acres" was too low brow for this fancy-shmancy development.

The problem is, Cook Hill's "On-Site Domestic Water Supply System" says that only one of these three pumps will have a back up generator in case of a "power failure!"    Do you really think one pump station working on a back up generator will be strong enough to fight a major fire in the hills?

 Lord have mercy on us all.

Seriously folks, this is the stuff nightmares are made of and it's not just our skins we gotta be thinking about.

I'd like to end this post in memory of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who made the ultimate sacrifice.  May the good Lord welcome you home and grant comfort to your families.

Daisy Mae

Firefighter's Prayer / Creed 
When I'm called to duty god
wherever flames may rage
give me strength to save a life
whatever be its age

Help me to embrace a little child
before it is too late
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert
to hear the weakest shout
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out

I want to fill my calling and
to give the best in me
to guard my neighbour and
protect his property

And if according to your will
I have to lose my life
bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife

1 comment:

  1. I, too, would like to see this proposed 'suicide subdivision' not endanger anyone, from the current residents to firefighters to future residents.

    This description came to light in a July 3 LA Times article:

    " Along with an extended drought and wild weather extremes, fire profilers have to take into account a new, explosive fuel type on the Western landscape: houses. By the Forest Service's reckoning, nearly one-third of the homes now built in the United States are on the fringe of settled areas, where timber and chaparral meet stucco and cul-de-sacs.

    These houses in fire-prone zones are referred to by some fire professionals as suicide subdivisions, and their popularity drives up the cost and complication of firefighting.",0,1956997.story

    The proposed (mostly) condo development would be almost completely ringed in untended flammable chaparral.