not award winning photography

[click images]


Bumped up from earlier today because of clarifications added later.


I have noticed a distinct lack of action photography on the current fires. It's all hang-around-the-fort indians. It is way cool that the Camp Fire is so well staffed now, allowing for many agencies to be working full shifts with their picks and shovels and back fire equipment before clocking out for some rest... the orderly manner of combing the ruins for evidence of bodies... entertaining the surviving livestock... photo ops with the celebrity chefs who are cooking for the crews... press conferences....

While over in the coastal counties we're leaping on every fire with "full Wildland Response" as every county in CalFire North is cleared to do. Butte didn't... that I can tell. I have not found any indication anywhere that full Wildland Response, aka air support, was called in immediately. It was hours later that we first see they called for air response at all.

Water bombing fires immediately either puts them out entirely or slows them so much they are unable to turn into raging infernos with insane body counts. This has been established in recent years by the numerous times Californian and Australian firefighters have come to each other's aid, and noted and cleared for action in all CalFire North counties. The Tubbs Fire last year made the need clear to EVERYONE.

They don't even have to rely solely on telephoned reports of smoke and fire anymore. Satellites are watching and alarms go off whenever a new heat source pops up.

There was an hour between when the first responders reached the fire in the Feather River Canyon and when it jumped up onto the ridge above Paradise, and at least another hour before the flames reached the more populated area... two crucial hours with no water bombing from the air and six hours until they even mention air attack over Paradise being thwarted by smoke. This tells me they were too busy with evacuation orders to call Wildland Response if it even crossed their minds it was missing.

Places within striking distance likely or certainly with tankers and choppers for immediate response are marked with blue blots.

There are lakes all around for dipping the buckets, no lack of ready dips to excuse this. There does not appear to have been ANY plan in place for the likelihood of this fire on well-in-advance notice of Red Flag weather. As you can see from the examples linked hereinabove, we're not even waiting for response crews to call it in. It's supposed to be immediate. ANY response is automatically an air response as well as good old fashioned firemen and their trucks. Tankers and choppers are SUPPOSED TO BE in the air and on their way, ESPECIALLY when anywhere near human habitation, as soon as the bells go off.

I'm about 95% positive this did not happen... and I have checked and double-checked all my assumptions after the reporting that this was official policy after the horrendous losses in the Tubbs Fire in October 2017.

I happen to know, because of Billy, that Marin County has had helicopters parked at strategic locations for all the Red Flag days so far this season... also all access to Mt Tam and parklands closed to prevent campsite ignition. I happen to know that the reason the Carr Fire, let burn for a couple days when it was further out 299, and a lake right there, got to its status as second worst California wildfire is because they were dithering about which agency should send in choppers to water bomb it. It was right on the border between Shasta and Trinity, and also on the border between state and federal agency responsibility lands.

We ended up with a "unified command" after two or three days of a small fire from a burning automobile on 299 turned into a conflagration... because whose duty is it to send the choppers with buckets?

Where was the Wildland Response air attack in the first few hours of the Camp Fire conflagration, to halt or slow it, BEFORE it overtook everyone on the ground? Even if it had only been slowed, we might have had no deaths or only very few, because there would have been time for everyone willing to evacuate to get to safety.

Bureaucrats can't be in charge of wildfire response.

Bureaucrats in watch-it-burn mode and waving their fire-is-natural certifications from their little battery of owned foresters CAN'T be in charge of wildfire response.

You haven't met these people.

I know what I'm talking about.

I know you're watching your tv news and marveling at the armies of heroes, selflessly battling the blazes, and rescuing kitties and horses and Aunt Marla's guppy bowl, but the TRUTH is:


Is that clear yet?

pipe up any time....