Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The situation is significantly improving. The wind is almost non-existent, definitely much slower than yesterday. Therefore, people from large areas previously required to evacuate are now allowed to return back. The evacuation center stopped accepting further donations, because they have enough of everything they need.
The small problem is of course looting.

Being stupid. Or smart.

Well, we did not evacuate, even though told to do so. Many people did not. Are we stupid? Yes?
Think again. What are the incentives for the mayor / fire department etc. to evacuate (or not) any given area? If you do not evacuate and a fire gets there, you are in a really big trouble! If you tell people to evacuate and nothing happens, you are safe (unless you exaggerate absolutely excessively) as a bureaucrat.Of course, we are "smart", we know that. So we evaluate the signal "evacuate" with this knowledge. And we do not move. We wait for either information that the fire is close (the map is almost real-time and the fire is still far away and there is no wind) or the "real evacuation", when somebody comes here and kicks us out.
Another incentive to evacuate is that it makes the situation seem worse than it is, motivating more people to bring additional resources(National Guard, firemen from other states and federal funds)
The conclusion? The "evacuation" lost its meaning. If I knew that they evacuate us when the real need is here, I would not hesitate any minute. But with fire far away, sky clear and air fresh (neither of those were true yesterday), we do not see the reason.

Evacuation? Not so fast

So we have not left yet. There are couple of reasons. First, the fire is far away (yes, this is quite stupid reason, given the speed of wind etc.). Second, my landlady PW has a lots of animals, including large number of small birds and some of them might die if moved. So we decided to wait and watch the news.
We have all things ready, everything is packed and we (mostly Jun - many thanks!) were keeping watch guard, watching news, radio, internet etc.
BTW: on the map two posts bellow, you can see the whole area, including many details. You can also see where the fire is (the red area). It is allegedly the biggest fire EVER here.

Monday, October 22, 2007


It looks like we have been put into mandatory evacuation status. Even though the two major fires threating our area (Del Mar) had been contained, the new one has been spotted much closer to us. I'm going to pack. Hope to be able to tell you more soon.

Fires and evacuation

Here is the map that can give you an idea what is going on.

View Larger Map

The number of evacuated people reached 250 000 and is likely to increase further as the fires will be spreading.
For quick news, see http://kpbs.digitaria.com/ if you are lucky and the website (basically text only) is not overloaded.
If you zoom in, I will on the west side of I5 (east side was evacuated), just next to it.

Fires 2

The fires did not stop during the night. In fact, everything got much worse. Area just to the other side of the highway I-5 was evacuated (according to the local radio station), the electricity was off for some time, the ash is falling down, cell phone networks are overloaded.The projections are that it will take at least 2 days before it will start getting better. And btw: fires are mostly not contained, which means that the firemen did not get them under control.
UCSD is at Red Alert, but we are not in any immediate danger. All classes have been suspended, though. All courts in SD are closed, most of the schools as well. Qualcomm stadium has been designated as one of the evacuation points. It is this huge
View Larger Map

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The fact of the day

NY TImes: As the investigative reporters Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele observed in the October Vanity Fair, America has to date “spent twice as much in inflation-adjusted dollars to rebuild Iraq as it did to rebuild Japan — an industrialized country three times Iraq’s size, two of whose cities had been incinerated by atomic bombs.” (And still Iraq lacks reliable electric power.)

The Drought

South-west of the US suffers from one of the worst drought in the history. Or maybe not - maybe it is just a climate change. Anyway, it's getting scary. Warning, that NY times article is long. Worth reading, though.


Well, so it is here. The winds called "Santa Ana", flowing from east to west (opposite to the usual direction), very hot and very dry, caused a couple of fires around SD. Nothing really close to us, but we can smell the fires, and the visibility is significantly lower. It gets worse - the conditions that caused these fires are likely to continue for next couple of days and further accelerate the spreading of fires. But don't worry - except some difficulty with breathing, everything is OK around here. Or at least it seems so.