Fire Season 2008

Well, it's that time of year again. The time of year we in Southern California dread the most. Fire season. This year the fire season arrived unusually late in the year and has unfortunately made up for lost time. We currently have two major fires burning in the area as of tonight. The Santa Ana winds have hit gusts of up to 75mph and relative humidity is hovering around 6%. Combined with the ridiculously dry brush, conditions were ripe.

The first is a large fire burning out of control in and around the Sylmar/Santa Clarita area. For those less familiar with the area, that's more or less Magic Mountain. So far at last estimate the fire has burned 6,500 acres, however unlike last year this fire has destroyed a number of homes. The hardest hit was the Oakridge Mobile Home Park where all 500 units have been destroyed. CHP has had I-5, I-210, and St. Hwy. 14 closed on and off all day long. At last check, the northbound lanes had just been reopened but traffic through the area has been backed up all day so it won't clear out anytime soon. Arson is suspected in this fire, which just goes to show you that there's always at least one sick twisted asshole who enjoys the suffering of others.

The second major fire, the "Freeway Complex Fire" is burning much closer to home. The Yorba Linda area on the south end of the Chino Hills State Park burst into flames sometime around 9am this morning and has since gone completely out of control. Dozens if not hundreds of homes have been burned to the ground in NE Yorba Linda, while the fire line is burning to the northwest into the park land. Much of the park hasn't seen fire in at least 30 years, while on the northern end it hasn't burned in at least 15 years. I first noticed this fire when I went out for lunch around 1pm and saw the huge plume of smoke rising over the ridge. As the day wore on, it became clear the fire had in fact crested the ridge and has burned down into Carbon Canyon. As of about 30 minutes ago, the flames are visible from the back yard of the house. The fire is many miles away and poses no danger here in the city, but it's definitely gotten bigger than the news is reporting.

The 91 freeway is closed at this time in the Santa Ana Canyon between the 55 freeway and the 71 freeway. The 57 freeway into Brea Canyon is closed at Lambert Road, and on the north end is closed at the 60 freeway. Pictures on TV earlier showed people going northbound had decided to take matters into their own hands and had begun driving up the wrong way on the onramps at Imperial Highway. CHP had parked a cruiser there to keep folks from driving up the asphalt burm, but the moment he had to leave for something people were back at it again. One guy said he'd been stuck in traffic for over 2 hours. Normally the trip up from Santa Ana takes 20 minutes to reach Lambert Road. It seems the CHP is content to let people drive backward up the onramps as long as it's being done in a semi-orderly fashion. In the case of either of these fires, it's unwise to bother trying to get through. I'm also reasonably sure that Carbon Canyon Road will have been closed down too, except to the residents living in there.

As I sit here writing this, the wind appears to have shifted again. I can now smell whiffs of smoke coming in through the open window. As is usual this time of year, the Santa Ana winds are unpredictable. The firefighters had been talking about the so-called sundowner winds making things worse. I have no doubt they'll be on the lines for several days to come as these things do not get put down easily.

There are also a number of smaller fires burning throughout the area and thus far the news media doesn't seem to have a very good handle on the story. I guess being the weekend a lot of it may have caught them off guard. Either that or there's just so much going on right now that they're not able to cover it all, and because of the geography around here they may not even be able to reach the fire zones.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Nov 15, 2008 8:34 pm by Samson in: | 13 comment(s) [Closed]
Wow Samson, hope it does not get to close to you and hope they get it put out soon.. And to think Conner wants to live in Cali... :( between the fires and the earthquakes and all the people... *sigh*

I'll second Dragona's wishes, Samson, I hope that you and yours remain safe, this one looks pretty bad from what I've seen in the media and from what you've said it sounds like they've held back. Somehow it figures that in a year in which you'd almost made it without a major fire there some moron would set one. But maybe that's just part of my cynicism spilling over from my annoyance at MB tonight.. and maybe it's not.

As for Dragona's comment that I want to live out there, that's true, but I've never had a desire to live in the area Samson is talking about. I want to live in the central valley, considerably north of there with a whole mountain range between the two places.. though I can't argue about the earthquakes except to say that they're really not as bad, generally, as folks who've never been in one seem to think they are. One should blame the media for that too, I suppose. But the part of California that I love is up by the Sequoia National Park, not by the beaches and crowds of LA nor in the freezing winds of San Francisco. Though I do love the beautiful fog that San Francisco gets... *shrug*

Nah, no real danger of getting torched this far from the hills. But it's certainly a sobering reminder that it's not all sunshine and happiness here in ol' Cali. This kind of thing happens every year, but I thought maybe we might get spared since we'd made it into November without a major incident. Hardly surprising though that when it did get touched off in my area that it spread so rapidly. The brush around here hasn't burned in so long it's been ripe for ages.

Earthquakes are mostly a joke. If you've lived here for any length of time you'll come to understand what the scene in Independence Day was all about when the stripper tells Will Smith's character to go back to sleep because it wasn't even a 4 pointer. We only start to really pay attention to it when they pass 6.0.

And I'm almost afraid to ask what the problem at MB is now. :/

I can answer that one.. David, Kayle, and the thread called newbie... That should be enough to get the gist of it... *sigh*

Living in Albuquerque was the same way (the fires). *shrug*

I lived out there for a little bit ...many years ago... it's just hard to convince folks who've never been there that earthquakes aren't what the SciFi pundits want you to believe, well, most of them anyway, and that California isn't really in any more danger of falling into the ocean than any of the states on the Eastern Seaboard are.

MB.. I tried to welcome a newbie and Kayle jumped on the chance to very poorly turn my omission of a character in a word into some semblance of a joke. When I responded with a second attempt to remind would-be posters that the thread was started by a newbie wanting to say hi and be made welcome, I was told that I was going off without founding which did set me off, especially since I'm entirely otherwise fed up with antics of several people there over the last few months or so (ever since your first resignation). David is certainly on top of the list, but he's not the only one by any means. What's really sad is that it seems that on top of the nonsense that Dragona tells me has continued there (haven't been back since myself yet), apparently even Davion has joined in on the discussion of it in ichat while I was AFK "sleeping" (or at least not returned from having gone to bed yet) where, from what I can see in my scroll back, it appears he said "It was wrong for Conner to go off like that over something so simple. Then to continue with it, when he's obviously not hearing it was just tossing fuel on the fire." even though I'd clearly not continued with it, I hadn't even been back. So, given that he seems to feel that I was to get upset and quit over what I felt was the last straw, I feel clearly justified in my decision to completely abandon MB's forums. It's quite clear that I simply don't fit in with whatever standards are being maintained there these days. I will continue to use the repository and will leave my existing contributions for the admins to do with as they please (since they would without my consent if it weren't given anyway) and will continue to "advertise" there. But don't expect future posts from me there, they're not worth my time. As it is, it's been quite awhile since there was any content in the forums that appeared remotely interesting anyway, especially once David has the chance to chime up and play the condescending know-it-all who won't respond directly to anything asked directly of him about himself. It gets pretty droll after a bit. What you might interesting is that after my initial response to Kayle, Cratylus pointed out to folks there that some things aren't funny and then had a chat with me via imctells trying to find out what was bothering me and asking me to reconsider leaving MB and to instead air my issues there for discussion and resolution rather than just leaving angry. One thing that really infuriated me after Crat tried to help me calm back down was that Kayle then posted something about not knowing what my problem with David might be, even though he has known for quite some time specifically what sorts of things I have against David and exactly why I have David on my imcignore list and have had him there ever since we got the imcignore function working. ...okay, end of rant, sorry about venting this here, it's your blog, you should be the one to rant/vent here, I'm just not willing to bother with expressing anything further on MB and you implied that you were asking. Sorry if I justified your fear of having asked.

Suffice it to say that my previously expressed complaints about MB, both posted there and expressed on ichat, have all been met with derision and cries of "welcome to the internet" and such, and I don't feel that I have any reason to put up with the crap over there. There are far too many other places online where I can spend my time with people who behave maturely instead.

Well, the fire near us has now split into 3 distinct fronts. One of which continues to burn through Yorba Linda, the second front burning out through Chino Hills/Carbon Canyon down toward Highway 71, and the 3rd front burned its way into Tonner Canyon overnight and the fire department is making a stand on the 57 freeway. I realize a lot of observers to this site won't have any idea what I'm describing, but it's a fairly wide ranging area the fire is in now that hasn't burned in 20 years or so. They still have 0% containment on it, though fortunately the winds have died down quite a bit and that's given them the opportunity to set some backfires. The wind also shifted heavily over the course of today and the Chino Valley is now blanketed in a layer of nasty smoke.

As for the situation on MudBytes. All I can say is wow. Kayle made a joke. You didn't like it. I think someone somewhere should have taken the hint and dropped it then, but apparently nobody did and it's gone on or another 30 replies in the split thread. It's just stupid. I mean, damn, I know my reduced activity is leaving some people looking for targets since I'm not posting but this is ridiculous. All that crap about "it's the internet, grow up" is the kind of shit I except to see on TMC, not on MudBytes. Incidents like this remind me why the MUD community has such an awful reputation elsewhere.

For those who don't understand the geographic references you're making there, perhaps the site at would help put it into perspective. It's a big one, the media is reporting that over 8000 acres have already burnt, folks, 8000 acres is roughly 12.5 square miles. Picture a square twelve and a half miles to a side.. that's 348,480,000 square feet. Help any? We're talking about a really big area that's currently blazing away out there.

Samson, stay safe, man, that the smoke can kill as easily as the fires themselves.


Indeed, Samson, you'd think the entire situation should've ended after my last post, or at worst a couple of posts later, especially since I was no longer responding at all. By the time Fury posted his greetings to the newbie in question that should've been one post past the problem. Failing that, when Kiasyn split the thread and said it needed to be done now, you'd expect that to have ended it. But I'm the one who's not being mature and dealing with the situation properly, right? I stopped following it myself after Fury's post, but Dragona tried to intervene this morning/afternoon and I gather even she gave up on it.

The really sad part is that those who use the "this is the internet..." argument clearly don't realize that it's not the internet, it's just the mud community that's like this. Yes, there are other segments of the internet that share those bad habits and horrible manners, but the vast majority of the internet is populated by folks who actually have and use manners and manage to maintain civility toward one another. If we were really dealing with grown-ups there, they would be adult enough to be civil and polite to one another, but we're not. I was told that someone even told Dragona something to the effect of "we're all adults here", I'd have to argue that they're trying pretty hard to prove that they are not adults.

As for Kayle's joke itself, obviously I wouldn't have cared about that at all if it'd been somewhere else or if he'd at least stayed on-topic by also greeting the newbie, but to hijack a thread for a newbie to introduce himself just to make some stupid remark about a typo and then continue to argue that my greeting a newbie and trying to impart that the preceding post was not what they should really expect was somehow an overreaction was just uncalled for in my opinion. And then for others to chime up as they did too.. poor newbie, I certainly wouldn't blame them for making every effort to find a new home instead in all haste.

I also heard that someone tried to claim in that split thread that MB is in no danger of becoming like TMC and is not hostile place at all. Guess someone there needs a bit of perspective, eh? I can't imagine that that poor newbie would believe that at this point. I know neither Dragona nor I do.

It's too bad that Davion (et al) doesn't seem to realize it, but the new crowd there is driving people away, and not just Dragona, myself, and some random newbie, but other established members as well. Ah, hell, what do I know, maybe Davion and Kiasyn and Asylumus (sp?) and you already do see it and just don't know what to do about it. I really wish I could tell you but I understand that your choices are somewhat limited.

As for our reputation among more respectable folk, I guess that all I can really say is that it was earned. So much the sadder for the few of us who have tried to prove that it was undeserved.

I'm certainly not abandoning my mud or even the mud community at this point, and I may never abandon my own mud even if I give up entirely on the rest of the community some day, but I tell you it sure does make it hard to feel charitable toward the community when every resource for the community is gradually converted to another cesspool. Try to recall that while I felt very badly about your departure from the active role you had in the community and advised you that you'd be missed, I never tried to dissuade you from your decision because I understood it completely, I trust that today you can relate well enough to understand where I'm coming from too.


Damn-it, I'm sorry Samson, I really don't mean to keep ranting here.. maybe I should just pull out for a day or two. I just hate to fall behind and I know how active this site can be from time to time, but I really am still pretty fired up about all this mostly because I did care so much about seeing MudBytes grow and prosper. *sigh* now I'm just not so certain that I care about anything mud related other than my own mud - and it's really a bit heart breaking. ...Anyway, again, my apologies for using your blog to vent, I have my own blog that I really should be using for this I suppose, or maybe I should just forget it all and move on sans any place that caters to people who don't understand basic netiquette. *shrug*

Hey Samson did they finally get them under control?

Yes, all of the fires are listed as 100% contained now. Apparently they don't mark them as "out" when they're done, so I don't know for sure if anything is still burning behind the fire lines but I doubt it.

For an idea of how big the one closest to me was:

If you look closely, you can see Ramona Ave. and the 60 freeway, that's roughly where I live which was plenty far enough away from the front lines.

Wow so you were not that far away.. Glad they got them put out though, or at least mostly...

I agree that it's good to hear that they've got most of them "contained" now, but I think you and I have slightly different ideas of the meaning of "plenty" when it comes to being far enough away from the fire line. ;)

I think that's because you're both underestimatng the value of a 6 lane freeway as a fire break. Plus the fact that everything north of the 71 is urban development. It's highly unlikely for fires to rage out of control and burn up 30% of the city before getting this far north. It may not look like much, but 5 miles between here and the fire front may as well be a gulf. Some friends of mine I used to work with at Behr were much closer to the front lines on the Yorba Linda side. Some of whom were able to see flames very close to their houses, and one of whom was affected by one of the evacuation orders. When your home is nestled into the hillside, 5 miles or less becomes a huge threat.

I don't know man, haven't you seen what happens to the cars when you shoot them in Fallout 3? I've seen what the traffic on those six lane highways of yours looks like... ;)

On the other hand, I was living MUCH closer to the fires than you are when someone set the bosque on fire in Albuquerque a few years back, so I can very easily relate to what you're saying about the difference those few miles can make, especially when you're home is built on a hillside above the fires... Fortunately, nothing came of those fires for me, and then I met Dragona a few months later and moved away from there a short time after that.

(In case you're wondering, this was back in 2003, there's a map of the fire area at and my house was just off Montano Ave. (which is depicted with an arrow on the map as the Montano bridge) about where the map shows a redish clay color to the right of the parted shaded red to indicate the Montano fire. We could see the flames from the bosque from our windows... it made for quite the evening..)

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