First of all, I need to correct myself. Last years firestorm destroyed 240,000 acres, not 110,000.
Now, first off, those Santa Ana winds return this week and of of course, our imcompetent weather people have no idea how strong or how many days they will last.
Here’s the thing. Two committees came up with 26 suggestions to improve Orange County’s firefighting abilities totalling $200,000 million. Instead the State legislature rejected everyting but $14.1 million. Of course since none of the politicians live in fire areas..
Bottom line ( and all of these go into effect NEXT year):
1. Develop a program to offer more assistance to homeowner’s in wildfire areas.
2. Order two new Bell 412 helicopters. Delivery in February 2009.
3. Establish a full-time, year-round hand crew. In place by January 2009.
4. Establish staffing to FOUR persons at 12 stations, phased in over four years! What???
What they REJECTED was adding 1,100 firefighters and 131 new fire engines!
Here are some quotes from Orange County Fire Chief Chip Prather:
"I didn’t expect it would take so long to get the help we got".
"We’re going to have to be able to stand on our own for a longer period of time".
"Can I say that everything is in place to prevent another firestorm? That’s like saying, can you prevent another Katrina!"
Here a few photos from last years firestorm, and a storm it was!!!
"The other bottom line is there is at least one arsonist is still running around out there, the brush is so dry it’s ready to start a fire just from cars driving by, there are hundreds of houses built against the wildland interface and the Santa Ana winds are coming," said Orange County’s Prather. "The risk is extreme."
"We are going to do our best when the bad things happen," Prather said. "But we’re only humans."