There were a total of 9 fires at one point. Four are out. One is 85% contained. There are 2 in Camp Pendleton largely burning out of control but no structures involved. Of the two left, containment on one is more than 50% but the other is only 5% contained. That fire is the one keeping me indoors out of the smoke.
I am not in danger. Jim likely is also not in harm's way either as far as I can tell from watching the maps on TV. I feel in the middle of it however. The fire command center is a couple miles SE of me. Fire aircraft fly overhead constantly. I can hear sirens of emergency vehicles sporadically. I see lots of smoke. Last night I didn't see as much orange glow from the flames as the night before.
Only one of the fires has a proven 'natural' ignition source at this time. The other 8 are being investigated thoroughly as there are some suspicious signs at the fire sites. That will take a while to come to any real determination. Just watched an interview with a retired arson investigator. Tips, video, and information are coming in to the investigators so I will not be surprised to find some arson involved.
Temperatures are dropping. Humidity is rising. The wind has dropped dramatically. And fresh fire crews are coming in to relieve the local guys. They have been at it non-stop for 36+ hours.
I learned a new word - firenado. There have been at least two of them. It looks exactly like a tornado but actually is flame rising hundreds of feet into the sky.
As you can imagine, for those folks who lost everything it is tragic. And of course, there are those who are critical of the fire fighting efforts. But I can tell you from first hand experience how much better this situation is over the fire of 2003. What we will learn is how important it is to establish and maintain a defensible fire break around the house. Most of the homes that burned had vegetation right up to the building. They had no chance to be saved.
So far, only one body found. No one reported hurt. Thousands evacuated safely. Potential looters are warned that expanded patrols are looking for them and the laws have gotten much harsher in that area as well.
Now recovery operations have begun. Many fees are being waived for victims of the fires. Volunteer services have sprung up. You may hear of a special appeal from the Red Cross for funds to help here. If you choose to do that, then make sure it is an established agency and the funds are specially designated. There will be hucksters in that area as well.
There will also be hucksters in the building trades coming in. Everyone here is encouraged to hire only licensed people. There may some job opportunities with local companies for skilled people.
That's it for now. More later if its appropriate.